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Demonlover

Director Olivier Assayas follows his sombre literary adaptation Les Destinees sentimentales with a bizarre but fascinating thriller set in the world of corporate intrigue, where two rival companies vie for control of the sinister yet lucrative cyber-porn market. Filmed in a mixture of English and French, and set for the most part in Paris and Tokyo, Demonloverstarts out as a sleekly upholstered corporate spy yarn but then proceeds way beyond the narrative confines of the thriller genre to embrace the murkier realms of cyberspace.
Connie Nielsen and Charles Berling star as two Paris-based company executives who travel on a mission to Tokyo to gain a controlling interest in a leading Japanese manga production house that’s blazing a trail into 3-D porn. Back in Paris, Berling discovers that Nielsen is secretly plotting on behalf of Demonlover, a major American sex-and-violence web-site. When negotiations come to a head, the American company is represented by a tough-as-nails sex-bomb (Gina Gershon) who’s determined to get the better of all rivals, male or female.
Immaculately shot in wide-screen by Denis Lenoir, Demonlover provides a stunning portrait of an ultra-modern and heartless corporate world. Assayas’ jet-setting executives are doomed to replay their petty power gambits, changing allegiances like underwear. There are some provocative insights into the global traffic in extreme images, and the film also continues the director’s interest in Japanese culture (the displays of traditional anime and its far more vivid and realistic successors are mesmerising). At times Demonlover plays like a demented variation on Assayas’ earlier Irma Vep, with Nielsen even donning the famous black latex suit at one point.
France, 2002. English subtitles. Colour. Anamorphic. Dolby digital stereo. 130 mins.

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