Director: Marcin Wrona
Writer: Marcin Wrona, Pawel Maslona
Cast: Itay Tiran, Agnieszka Zulewska, Andrzej Grabowski, Tomasz Schuchardt, Katarzyna Herman, Adam Woronowicz, Wlodzimierz Press, Tomasz Zietek, Cezary Kosinski
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 28.4.2016
Piotr (Itay Tiran) moved from London to Poland to marry Zaneta (Agnieszka Zulewska) and settle down with her. For that purpose, Zaneta’s father gave them an old farmhouse that has been in the family for a long time. It’s there that the wedding is supposed to take place as well. Piotr arrives a little earlier than everybody else, hoping to polish the old place up a bit. After he discovers bones buried in the backyard, things start to become weirder and weirder though.
Demon is very different in a very awesome way from what one usually gets when served up demon/possession movies. It’s atmospheric, engaging and makes you wish that more films would take the road less travelled when telling their stories.
Demon has several advantages when it comes to telling the story in a fresh way: there’s the fact that it’s a Polish film set in Poland, and also in a Jewish setting (in itself interesting in Catholic Poland). But it doesn’t rely on the necessary cultural adjustments alone to guarantee a fresh story. That most of it takes place at a wedding is equally unusual as the fact that it’s the groom who is being possessed and not a woman.
Coupled with the fact that Piotr comes to Poland without any family and has nobody attending the wedding from his side (his best man is also the bride’s brother) and this becomes a tale of integration into a new family, giving up your old self and putting down roots somewhere new. [SPOILER] In Piotr’s case this even seems to extend back in time, giving him history in a place and a family where he hasn’t been before. Or has he? [/SPOILER]
It’s a film that’s heavily symbolic and I’m not sure I deciphered all the symbols in the first go or if my reading of it would hold up with all those symbols. I definitely wouldn’t mind watching it again to see how it goes though. That being said, the last third or so of the film becomes a little overfraught with all those symbols and the ending is a little messy (admittedly I nodded off for a couple of minutes, unfortunately, which has nothing to do with the film, I was just tilt).
But I didn’t mind that messy bit at all. It might even make a re-watch that much more engaging. And if not, at least it is an atmospheric film shot in beautiful images that is interesting to look at more closely. And that’s high praise in my book.