Blu-Ray Review: The Possessed

Alleghe is a popular tourist destination which attracts visitors all year round to enjoy its narrow lanes, beautiful mountains and tranquil lake. Between 1933 and 1946 a chain of four murders shattered the tranquillity of the village in north-eastern Italy. It struck a chord, resonating across the country. Luigi Bazzoni, along with co-director Franco Rossellini, chose to adapt Giovanni Comisso’s account of the incident which for his debut feature The Possessed.

Bernard (Peter Baldwin) is a novelist at a low ebb. Lonely and depressed, he returns to a lakeside village in search of Tilde (Virna Lisi), an old flame. Whilst he’s welcomed with open arms by the owner (Salvo Randone) of the hotel and his daughter (Valentina Cortese), there’s no sign of the former maid. He sets about trying to uncover the truth and track her down but soon realises that there’s something terribly wrong with the family.

The Possessed is an atmospheric crime drama clouded in mystery and uncertainty. Bernard is an unreliable narrator. It becomes increasingly difficult to sift between the truth, dreams and fantasies. That’s part of the joy of Bazzoni’s film. Whilst he tries to uncover the truth the viewer is repeatedly thrown off track. The Possessed is a drama which is shrouded in secrets. A curious enigma.

Special edition contents:

  • Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original Italian and English soundtracks, titles and credits
  • Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM audio
  • Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • New audio commentary by writer and critic Tim Lucas
  • Richard Dyer on The Possessed, a newly filmed video appreciation by the cultural critic and academic
  • Cat’s Eyes, an interview with the film’s makeup artist Giannetto De Rossi
  • Two Days a Week, an interview with the film’s award-winning assistant art director Dante Ferretti
  • The Legacy of the Bazzoni Brothers, an interview with actor/director Francesco Barilli, a close friend of Luigi and Camillo Bazzoni
  • Original trailers
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips

FIRST PRESSING ONLY : Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Andreas Ehrenreich, Roberto Curti and original reviews

The Possessed is released on Blu-ray by Arrow Video on 4 February.

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