Screened as part of NZIFF 2003

Demonlover 2002

Directed by Olivier Assayas

France In English, French and Japanese with English subtitles
129 minutes 35mm

Director, Screenplay


Edouard Weil
Xavier Giannoli


Denis Lenoir


Luc Barnier


Sonic Youth


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


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.