“No one sees anything. Ever. They watch, but they don’t understand.” So observes Connie Nielsen in Olivier Assayas’s hallucinatory, globe-spanning Demonlover, a postmodern neonoir thriller and media critique in which nothing—not even the film itself—is what it appears to be. Nielsen plays Diane de Monx, a Volf Corporation executive turned spy for rival Mangatronics in the companies’ battle over the lucrative market of Internet adult animation. But Diane may not be the only player at Volf with a hidden agenda: both romantic interest Hervé (Charles Berling) and office enemy Elise (Chloë Sevigny) seem to know her secret and can easily use it against her for their own purposes. As the stakes grow higher and Diane ventures into deadlier territory, Assayas explores the connections between multinational businesses and extreme underground media as well as the many ways 21st-century reality increasingly resembles violent, disorienting fiction.
With his lush and sensual visuals, pitch-perfect soundtracks, and soulful romanticism, Wong Kar Wai has established himself as one of the defining auteurs of contemporary cinema.
Four charming comedies from Eric Rohmer.
Melvin Van Peebles’s edgy, angsty, romantic first feature could never have been made in America. Unable to break into a segregated Hollywood, Van Peebles decamped to France, taught himself the language, and wrote a number of books in French, one of which, La permission, would become his stylistically innovative feature debut.
Melvin Van Peebles
DCP, Blu-ray, DVD
A triumph at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival, the revelatory debut feature from codirectors (and twin brothers) Arie and Chuko Esiri is a heartrending and hopeful portrait of everyday human endurance in Lagos, Nigeria.