Hello cinema friends,
This week at your local nonprofit independent cinema we welcome two very different portraits of relationships — one thoroughly charming, and another thoroughly horrifying. Such is the duality of life and love, so let’s get into it.
French director Mia Hansen-Løve’s first English-language film, Bergman Island, is a nod to the imminitable auteur Ingmar Bergman. Rather than attempt an out-and-out tribute to the Swedish master’s style, Hansen-Løve situates her romantic-drama on the island of Fårö, Bergman’s isolated home and primary working location, tapping the late director’s well of inspiration to tell a story in her own unique voice. Bergman Island’s characters, a filmmaking couple portrayed by Vickie Krieps and Tim Roth, head to Fårö in search of the same creative spark that Mia Hansen-Løve clearly sought, and the result is a self-reflexive, dreamlike rumination on love and artistic expression.
Forty years before Bergman Island, a very different film about couple-dom also premiered at Cannes. Polish art-house director Andrzej ?u?awski unleashed a smoldering vision of marital breakdown with Possession. With it, the film’s female lead, Isabelle Adjani took the Best Actress prize for her otherworldly performance. Following Cannes, the film arrived on screens in the UK and was swifty banned as one of the notorious “Video Nasties” charged with corrupting Thatcher’s polite society (astute cinema friends will recall Censor’s homage to these forbidden flicks).
Riding its infamous reputation, Possession arrived in the American late-night circuit of the 1980s in a heavily edited cut, losing nearly a third of its runtime and stripped of its headier psychological elements, and presented as nothing more than an eccentric body-horror. Finally, the good people at Metrograph Pictures commissioned a stunning restoration of Possession in all of its original, unnerving glory, yielding true cinematic delirium at its most intoxicating.