“We must forget what we didn’t see here!” Forty-two-year-old Marcin Wrona’s final, boisterous, bruisingly sad Polish-Israeli ghost story, “Demon” exhilarates with its mad mix of tones which range from terror to crazy comedy and from celebration to collective guilt.
It saddens, too, in that Wrona died before presenting this breakthrough. Set in a drab backwater in rural Poland, “Demon” brings a dybbuk to a wedding reception at a rundown house that needs a few additions and a few subtractions, notably a pile of human bits. Wrona’s storytelling rocks with implications, and his gloriously strange visual style builds haunting image upon haunting image, sometimes in fearsome fashion, others in a more abstract manner. This world and the otherworldly embrace in riotous fashion as the wedding party grows more degenerate and destructive through the night. Something dark seethes into the greater dark. The ordinary will get you, because the extraordinary is directly beneath it. That Wrona hanged himself just before the movie’s Polish debut deepens and darkens his fevered legacy. The rich score is by Krzysztof Penderecki and Marcin Macuk. 94m. Widescreen. (Ray Pride)
“Demon” opens Friday, September 16 at the Music Box.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.