A French corporation goes head-to-head with an American web media company for the rights to a 3-D manga pornography studio, resulting in a power struggle that culminates in violence and espionage.

Director:

Olivier Assayas

Writer:

Olivier Assayas
4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Connie Nielsen ... Diane de Monx
Charles Berling ... Hervé Le Millinec
Chloë Sevigny ... Elise Lipsky
Dominique Reymond Dominique Reymond ... Karen
Jean-Baptiste Malartre ... Henri-Pierre Volf
Gina Gershon ... Elaine Si Gibril
Edwin Gerard Edwin Gerard ... Edward Gomez
Thomas M. Pollard ... Avocat américain
Abi Sakamoto Abi Sakamoto ... Kaori - la traductrice
Naoko Yamazaki ... Eiko
Nao Ohmori ... Shoji (as Nao Ômori)
Jean-Pierre Gos ... Verkamp - Contact Diane
Julie Brochen Julie Brochen ... Gina - Amie de Diane
Randall Holden Randall Holden ... Ray
Alexandre Lachaux Alexandre Lachaux ... Erwan - Broker #1
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Storyline

Diane works for a French firm bidding to purchase a Japanese animation outfit. Diane maliciously hatches a plot to take the job of her supervisor Karen. The plan succeeds, but then Diane faces problems when a competing American firm, represented by Elaine, becomes involved. Diane's assistant Elise remains loyal to Karen, and she frustrates Diane's every move. When it comes to light that the one of the concerned parties controls an Internet site which broadcasts actual torture, the plot thickens. Written by Ken Miller {wkmiller704@yahoo.com}

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, sexual content and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The prêt-a-porter featured is from a Fred Sathal collection and is credited along the movie and video game extracts featured. See more »

Goofs

The film confuses the word Manga (which is Japanese comic books). The word the film should have used was Anime (which is Japanese animation). See more »

Quotes

Hervé Le Millinec: I saw you move. I saw you with Volf.
Diane de Monx: What did you see?
Hervé Le Millinec: How you operated. I admire you.
Diane de Monx: You didn't see anything. No one sees anything. Ever. They watch... But they don't understand.
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Alternate Versions

There are at least three versions of the film:
  • the R-rated version
  • the unrated director's cut (which has less pixalation and a longer Hellfire club scene)
  • the version originally shown at Cannes (assumed to be ca. 10 minutes longer)
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Connections

References Videodrome (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

Move Away
Performed by Sonic Youth
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User Reviews

 
Criminally Underrated
24 April 2004 | by arturobandiniSee all my reviews

Admittedly, DEMONLOVER makes a sharp left narrative turn at the halfway point that's going to confound viewers who are intrigued by the straightforward (and extremely absorbing) high-stakes opening. But that's no reason to dismiss the many, many things that writer/director Olivier Assayas gets absolutely right. In the end, DEMONLOVER is a fascinating mirror-world reflection (as William Gibson would call it) of where our global society might be just five minutes from now: the fittest who survive will be multilingual, career-consumed and ridiculously chic, but also soulless, as if missing the gene that supplies a sense of loyalty and ethics. The movie is a cautionary, though entirely plausible, tale of humans debased by their own lust for ungoverned capitalism. Every line of dialogue is about the business merger at hand; in the rare instances where feelings are discussed, they're usually about how *work* affects those emotions. The big wink here is that the characters don't even discuss business honestly, because each has duplicitous motives.

Technically, DEMONLOVER is a feast. Denis Lenoir's widescreen photography constantly dazzles -- many of the tracking shots are sustained in close-up (creating paranoia), and the color spectrum appears as if filtered through corporate fluorescence. (The neon-drenched Tokyo sequence is particularly hypnotic.) Jump cuts keep the narrative one step ahead of the audience. Sonic Youth's atonal guitar score creates the same mutant environment that Howard Shore pulled off in CRASH. Most significantly, Connie Nielsen's face (and hair and wardrobe) mesmerizes more than any CGI I've ever seen. Considering the labyrinthine motives of her character, Nielsen's exquisite subtlety may be lost on first-time viewers; on second look, her emotionless gaze speaks volumes.

Audiences (and critics) have unanimously attacked the `problematic' second half as an example of directorial self-indulgence. While I agree that it's not as satisfying as the first half, I don't think it's a total crash-and-burn (pardon the pun). Clearly, the ending is open to thematic interpretation, but I think Assayas is just saying that if our species isn't more careful, we'll end up like one-dimensional characters in a video game of our own devising - sure, winner takes all, but the rest of us suffer enormously.

Narrative ambiguity aside, DEMONLOVER is the great Hitchcockian/Cronenbergian espionage fantasia I've been waiting for. It makes sense that it would come from Europe, since Hollywood forgot long ago how to make their assembly-line genre exercises intellectually stimulating. (Like the animé porn within the story, Hollywood movies today represent no more than a calculated corporate commodity.) More than any other film from the last 2½ years, DEMONLOVER seems a product of the post-9/11 world - a not-so-distant future where overwhelming paranoia goads us to preemptively eliminate any form of potential competition before it can do the same to us. And how in doing so, we devour our own tail.

I expect this movie's reputation will grow by leaps and bounds in the coming years.


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Details

Country:

France | Mexico | Japan

Language:

French | English | Japanese

Release Date:

6 November 2002 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Demonlover See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

EUR7,032,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$39,284, 21 September 2003

Gross USA:

$232,044

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$462,976
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (unrated) | (R-rated) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

DTS-ES | Dolby Digital EX

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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