Demonlover

Co-presented by the French Film and TV Office

Critically maligned after it was unleashed upon the 2002 Cannes Film Festival, Assayas’ underseen, ice-cold cyber thriller hurtles 100 MPH down the transgressive path toward New French Extremity. The ruthless relations of international business and a grab-bag of post-9/11, globalized industry set the stage upon which Demonlover’s 3-D animated porn-slinging players – including the frigid Connie Nielsen, alluring Gina Gershon, and a French-speaking Chloe Sevigny – connive, drug, threaten, and seduce their way toward ultimate financial control over one salacious, interactive product. The characters’ attempts to navigate this confused conflation of power-hungry nations is mirrored in the film’s spectacularly schizophrenic soundtrack of heavy and black metal (Soulfly, Darkthrone), English electro-rock (Goldfrapp, Death in Vegas), and millennial post-punk (Sonic Youth contributes eight songs) for a time capsule of a sonic ride through this uncertain, newly paved, intangible terrain. We’re not entirely sure what Jean Baudrillard would think about Assayas’ neo-noir for a burgeoning digital age and its ever-present reminder of our slow, blind march into the simulacra – but he would certainly have choice phrases about the despicable culture Assayas so brutally predicts.

Dir. Olivier Assayas, 2002, 35mm, 129 min.