The First North American retrospective EVER of the wildly unique Polish master, including a one -week run "possession", one of most devastating film experiences of the 1980s!
Brand new 35mm print...
Mark (Sam Neill) returns home from an espionage mission (the nature of this mission is vague, but it involves long trips abroad, cash stuffed into briefcases, and vials of secret liquids) to find that his wife, Anna (Isabelle Adjani), wants a divorce. She won't say why, but insists it's not because she's found someone else.
Though Mark would rather stay with Anna and work things out, he turns the apartment and custody of their young son, Bob, over to her. Living alone, he begins to obsess over her, making dozens of calls, and seemingly going mad. He pays a visit to their flat only to find Bob alone, unkempt, and neglected. When Anna returns, he refuses to leave her alone with the child but attempts to make amends. He stays at the apartment to care for Bob but Anna leaves in the middle of the night.
Mark receives a phone call from Anna’s lover, Heinrich (Heinz Bennent), telling him that Anna is with him. He then gets Heinrich’s phone number from Anna’s friend, Margie. The next day, Mark meets Bob’s teacher, Helen, also played by Ms. Adjani. She looks exactly like Anna but with brilliant green eyes and is calm and kind where Anna is hysterical.
Mark pays a visit to Heinrich who swears he didn’t call telling Mark that Anna needed space; he has not seen her, having been away on a business trip himself. Mark attacks Heinrich but is beaten bloody by Heinrich.
Mark returns home to find Anna who is vague on her whereabouts when confronted. He beats her and she storms out but he follows, apologizing, attempting for reconciliation. She leaves him alone on the street. On his way back to the flat, he encounters Margie, whose left leg is inexplicably in a cast, and he tells her, “I loathe you” when she offers to look after Bob. Mark has a meeting with a private investigator, then returns to the flat where he and Margie embrace in the bedroom.
The next day, Mark and Anna have another extreme argument during which she cuts her own neck with an electric knife. Mark tends the wound and then sits, forlornly in the kitchen, cutting his own arm with the knife. She leaves again – going off to her mysterious place, her neck bandaged.
Following Anna around the city, the private investigator soon discovers Anna in a squalid apartment, devoid of furniture. The investigator pretends to be a building manager. Inspecting the apartment, he finds in the bathroom, a creature of such bizarre proportions that he is stunned into silence. Anna kills him with the end of a broken bottle.
Meanwhile, Mark begins a relationship with Helen. When she stays the night, Bob is awakened by nightmares, crying out for his mother. Helen apologizes and leaves saying she should not have attempted to replace Anna.
Zimmerman, the lover of the missing private detective, approaches Mark to inquire about his whereabouts. Mark give him the address of Anna’s mysterious apartment, which he had presumably gotten from the detective. When Zimmerman goes at Anna’s apartment, he discovers the freakish creature as well as his dead lover’s body. Anna proclaims that the creature, “Is very tired. He made love to me all night,” and “He’s still unfinished, you know.” And then violently beats Zimmerman when he attempts to shoot her.
Anna, returning to the flat she shares with Mark, continues her erratic behavior, putting clothes in the refrigerator and food in the bedroom. She then tells Mark about her miscarriage. In a flashback, Anna, on her way home from market, has what appears to be a seizure of epic violence as she walks through the subway, which ends with her on the floor of the passageway, oozing blood and fluids from every orifice. She tells Mark, “What I miscarried there was sister faith and what was left was sister chance.”
She leaves him again and Mark calls Heinrich, giving him Anna’s address. He attempts to make love to her but finds the creature, now more developed but still monstrous, in her bedroom. Anna then reveals the grim fruits of her endeavors: a collection of body parts in her refrigerator, presumably those of the dead detective and Zimmerman. She attacks Heinrich with a knife and he flees, bleeding, to Mark’s flat. Anna, meanwhile, prepares to make love to the creature.
Heinrich tells Mark what he has seen and when Mark discovers the remains, destroys the apartment by igniting the gas stove and blowing the place up. He also lures Heinrich into a bar and murders him in the bathroom, making it look as if Heinrich drowned in his own vomit.
Upon returning to the flat, Mark finds Marta outside with her throat cut, possibly at Anna’s hand. He brings the body back into the flat where Anna waits. She greets him tenderly, cleans him up and makes love to him in the kitchen. He lays out a plan for them to cover up the problem and, as Bob awakens to find them together, she flees.
Heinrich’s mother phones Mark looking for her son. She tells Mark that Heinrich’s body was discovered but that she did not identify it because it was only his body, “his soul was not there.”
Mark, who has continued to cover for Anna, finds her at the apartment where the creature, considerably more evolved, copulates with her on the bed. As the creature penetrates her she repeats over and over, “Almost.”
Mark meets Heinrich’s mother in person and she claims that she “must be with him.” She then seemingly poisons herself and dies. Mark, later wandering the street, meets up with his former business associates who insist that he do business with them again. Mark appears to refuse and later, while being followed by police, murders an officer then flees on a motorcycle. He has a horrific accident and races into a building where he is pursued by Anna, the police and his business associates. Ann tells him, “I wanted to find you. It is finished now,” and reveals the creature, now fully formed as Mark’s doppelganger. Mark raises his gun to shoot it but he and Anna are gunned down by a hail of bullets from below as the doppelganger remains impervious.
Bloodied and dying, Anna uses Mark’s gun to shoot herself. She dies in his arms and he jumps to his death through the stairwell. The doppelganger, meanwhile, enlists the help of a woman who resembles Margie, standing at the top of the stairs. The doppleganger flees through the roof.
Later, Helen is at the flat with Bob when the doorbell rings. Bob repeats over and over, “Don’t open,” but Helen ignores his plea. She goes to the door as the sounds of sirens, planes and explosions fill the air. Bob races through the flat, ending in the bathroom where he jumps face down into a bathtub full of water and floats as if dead. Meanwhile, Helen, listening to the sirens & planes as if in fear, seems unaware of the doppelganger which can be seen through the glass door. Her expression changes to something indeterminate as light from the explosions illuminate her brilliant, green eyes.
Other Zulawski features to be screened as part of the season below: