Vanguard

Demon

Marcin Wrona

A bridegroom is possessed by an unquiet spirit in the midst of his own wedding celebration, in this clever take on the Jewish legend of the dybbuk.

Polish director Marcin Wrona, who premiered his crime thriller The Christening at the Festival in 2010, returns to the Vanguard programme with Demon. A clever take on one of the most famous figures of Jewish folklore — the dybbuk, a spirit of a person not properly laid to rest that seeks to inhabit the body of a living person — Wrona's latest sets a creepy tale of possession squarely in the middle of a night of wild revelry.

Peter (Israeli actor Itay Tiran, previously seen at the Festival in Lebanon) has just arrived from England to marry his beautiful fiancée, Zaneta (Agnieszka Zulewska), at her family's country house in rural Poland. The old homestead is a gift from his future father-in-law, and Peter is excited to renovate it into a home for his new family. While inspecting the grounds on the eve of his nuptials, Peter finds skeletal human remains buried on the property. Haunted by his discovery, Peter slowly starts to unravel while the joyous and drunken traditional Polish wedding goes on around him; and soon, he is overcome by what seem to be epileptic fits, panicking his bride and scandalizing his father-in-law.

As the night wears on, it becomes apparent that there is an uninvited guest at the wedding, that she is lonely — and that she is very, very dead.

Though Wrona based his script on Piotr Rowicki's play Adherence, the result is anything but stagey. As the wedding celebration whirls around our possessed hero, and Wrona adroitly tosses in moments of unexpected humour and sharply observed realism, Demon becomes a thrillingly kinetic cinematic experience.

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