Demain?

Demain?

***

Reviewed by: Robert Munro

A curious, yet rather cold film, Demain? charts the brief and tortured existence of Uruguayan poet Delmira Agustini (Laure de Clermont), as she battles her inner demons and her confused feelings of love for Enrique Reyes (Marc Ruchmann).

Possibly due to the subject nature involved, the film has a rather elusive and dream-like tone. Delmira lives with her mother Maria (Teresa Madruga), a snobbish aristocrat always concerned with what ‘society’ will think, and her father (Adriano Luz) a scene-stealing dancer who glides around their cavernous mansion effortlessly and self-amused.

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Delmira is always on the search for something she can’t quite articulate. Whether that’s the love of Enrique, a personal sense of fulfilment or appreciation from leading literary heavyweights Manuel Ugarte and Rubé Darió. Her soul is undoubtedly tormented, and we are subjected to her fits of passion and rage early on, foreshadowing her untimely demise.

Writer/director Christine Laurent does a good job of setting the scenes and situations which provoke Delmira’s torment. Her draughty mansion often resembles a prison, yet it is only when she escapes the family home to move in with Enrique does she feel truly trapped. There are several well handled scenes which have more than an air of theatricality about them, but are delightful none-the-less.

In one such scene a group of furniture movers almost subconsciously dance around the room rearranging chairs and tables; in another Delmira’s father Santiago more literally dances around a room to a tango beat. Unseen from a doorway Delmira begins to imitate her father’s moves, before her mother enters the room and the music is switched off. It is, she declares, only fit for prostitutes.

It is at these times the film is strongest, with a visual beauty underpinned by thematic concerns. However the film, and Delmira herself, seem to mostly drift by us, weightless and unapproachable. We never fully empathise or understand her plight, or feel completely drawn into her world. However, that may just be the point.

Reviewed on: 27 Jun 2012
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The short, passionate life of Uruguyan poet Delmira Agustini is stylishly evoked in this film by Christine Laurent, longtime script collaborator of Jacques Rivette.

Festivals:

EIFF 2012

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