Demonlover

“Oliver Assayas’ ‘thriller’ is a sleek, angry cinematic weapon, aimed right at the venal heart of corporate culture.”
— Walter Reade Theatre, New York
Director: Olivier Assayas
Year: 2002
Country: France
Running time: 129 mins
France

Production co: Elizabeth Films/M6 Films/Citizen Films
Producers: Edouard Weil, Xavier Giannoli
Screenplay: Olivier Assayas
Photography: Denis Lenoir
Editor: Luc Barnier
Production designer: François Renaud Labarthe
Costume designer: Anaïs Romand
Sound: Philippe Richard
Music: Sonic Youth
In French, English and Japanese with English subtitles

Cast
Diane de Monx: Connie Nielsen
Hervé Le Millinec: Charles Berling
Elise Lipsky: Chloe Sevigny
Elaine Si Gibril: Gina Gershon
Henri-Pierre Volf: Jean-Baptiste Malartre
Karen: Dominique Reymond
Gina: Julie Brochen

Festivals: Cannes (In Competition), Vancouver 2002
“Ostensibly Demonlover is a thriller about a corporate mole, Diane (Connie Nielsen), who, in the course of trying to scuttle a deal between the multinational conglomerate she works for and the titular US Internet company, uncovers links between the latter and ‘The Hellfire Club’, a pornographic interactive torture website. Assayas makes the machinations and counter-machinations in this corporate world deliberately convoluted. Every last one of Diane’s colleagues, including a crass, amoral exec (memorably played by Charles Berling) and a manipulative personal assistant (Chloe Sevigny), seems to have a hidden agenda. Nothing is what it seems, motivations remain teasingly ambiguous, and the film’s air of tense hyperreality becomes increasingly skewed… Increasingly ‘improbable’ plot twists and puzzling non-sequiturs begin to pile up. What’s going on here? From its opening shots of banal action-movie mayhem playing on the video screens of a private jet, through its extended interludes of anime and Internet image-overload, Demonlover offers a bleak vision of modern, 100-percent spectacle-driven reality, in which CNN and porn are interchangeable… The reality Demonlover posits is a kind of video game, in which Diane is the protagonist – Nielsen’s cold blue eyes and composed, blank features perfectly mimic the look of a 3-D anime heroine, and each escalation of the action or narrative twist moves things to a new ‘level’. One of the most compelling and original films in competition [at Cannes], Demonlover represents a genuinely radical vision.” — Gavin Smith, Film Comment. Also starring Gina Gershon in a performance as eye-popping as Denis Lenoir’s digitally altered cinematography.