Episode 95. Faith and Chance: Possession (1981)

In this episode, we delve into the murky waters of intimate relationships, nuclear families, and revolutionary theatre practices with Andrej Zulawski’s Possession. From the film’s almost instant cult-status to its rocky release, we look at what has made Possession one of the great filmic break-ups and breakthroughs of the late 20th century.


Possession. Dir Andrej Zulawski, 1981.


House of Psychotic Women. Kier-La Janisse’s examination from horror from her perspective. A ground-breaking and personal look at the genre.
Once Upon a Text: Hysteria from Hippocrates. Helen King’s chapter on the patriarchal uses of the term “hysteria.”
Five of the best… Sarah Kane Plays. The National Theatre’s overview of Kane’s writing with links, if you’d like to learn more about her.
Possession: A Marriage of the Natural and Supernatural. David West’s look at the film and Anna’s cryptic monologue.
The Coronavirus Crisis Shows It’s Time to Abolish the Family – an article on why emancipation from capitalism might mean the abolition of one of our most sacred institutions.


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3 thoughts on “Episode 95. Faith and Chance: Possession (1981)

  1. Elliott Ingersoll says:

    I shall have to return to the discussion after viewing the film – I goofed and watched the wrong “POSSESSION.” Just as well, the one I saw was about a creepy kid harboring a demon 🙂

  2. FictionIsntReal says:

    This is the film that really got me into horror as a genre with more to it than just monsters. Too bad you didn’t similarly enjoy it.

    On the topic of hysteria, I recommend Elaine Showalter’s “Hystories” for an historical examination of it as a social phenomenon.

    If you’re going to discuss the Marxist take on the evolution of the nuclear family, you have to remember what preceded it. The norm had been large extended families, which are arguably even MORE patriarchal. They, of course, predate capitalism.

  3. Phil Medoc says:

    Wow, really ungenerous reading of the film, not what I expected from this podcast — but I also had expected you to have seen it before! This seemed like an uncharacteristically low effort/wikipedia reading episode for you.

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