Program 18 – Demimonde
Hungary / 2015 / 88 min. | Directed by: Attila Szász
In Hungarian with English subtitles
Lush period mystery, Demimonde opens with the dead body of a beautiful woman floating along the rivers of 1910 Budapest, and only ratchets up the tension from there. When young, cat-eyed Kató (Laura Döbrösi) is offered a position by the seemingly well-intentioned Rózsi (Dorka Gryllus) to be the maid of the famous Ms. Elza Mágnás (Patricia Kovács), she is thrown into a world unlike any she’s experienced before. Elza, a bewitching socialite whose sexual escapades enrapture the gossips of high society, immediately takes Kato under her wing, gifting her fine clothes and taking her along for exhilarating nights on the town. But when Kato learns that Elza’s ostensibly perfect world was created through what Kato deems to be sinful acts, she is torn between the piety of Rozsi and the decadence of the Lady she serves.
This sensual costume drama is sure to subvert audience expectations. Rarely do you see such strong female characters so in control of their sexuality in traditionally buttoned-up period pieces. With elaborate costumes, fierce performances from its three female leads, and a velvety air of mystery, Demimonde will – much like the alluring Ms. Elza –enrapt audience members from its mystifying opening to its startling finale.
— Josh Prete
Audience Award: BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE Nashville Film Festival Special Jury Prize: BEST ACTRESS Dorka Gryllus, Nashville Film Festival Golden Reel Award: BEST FILM Tiburon International Film Festival Golden Reel Award: BEST DIRECTOR Tiburon International Film Festival Official Selection: Montreal Film Festival Official Selection: Cleveland International Film Festival