Olivier AssayasFrance121 minutes2002ColourFrench English Japanese
Following the period-piece epic Les Destinées, Assayas made a radical right turn with this dizzying, cutting-edge dispatch on a 21st-century culture of corporate espionage, rampant consumerism, media overload and sexual violence. A steely Connie Nielsen stars as Diane de Monx, a ruthless business exec trying to acquire the distribution rights to the work of a Japanese animation studio specializing in hentai (anime porn). Outmanoeuvring both her colleagues (Dominique Reymond and Charles Berling) and an American rival (Gina Gershon), Diane is sucked into a vortex of robbery, rape and murder as the film's narrative itself begins to fragment. One of Assayas' most overtly stylized films, with the glacial sheen of Denis Lenoir's cinematography complemented by a hypnotically unsettling score by Sonic Youth, demonlover was much maligned upon its initial release but has since become something of a cult classic. "This elegant cyberthriller captures a certain state of the contemporary world with the acuity, sensitivity, and precision of a seismograph registering the planet's tectonic shifts" (Serge Kaganski, Film Comment).