EIFF 2012: Demain? review

2 minutes




Laure de Clermont stars in Christine Laurent’s Demain? (2012), a passionate biopic of the tragically short life of Uruguayan poet, Delmira Agustini. Delmira (Clermont) is described by her own mother as having a “body made of electricity”, constantly tortured by her own artistic talents. Her relationship with her parents is varied to say the least.

Delmira’s father is easygoing and supportive, embracing the changing fabric of cultural Uruguay, whilst her mother clings on to archaic principles of etiquette and class. This controlling maternal approach has forced Delmira into the arms of her lover, Andre, fuelled by her subdued carnal desires and somewhat to rebel against her domineering mother. However her artistic temperament is ill suited to the stifling partnership of marriage and her mental anguish begins to consume her life.

Laurent has created a film that’s as poetic and colourful as the work of its hot-blooded protagonist. With the visual aesthetics and flamboyance of a carefully choreographed ballet, Laurent allows the camera to become caught up in the film’s melodic pace, creating a lively and vivacious period peace that defies the genre’s customary stunted and formal approach.

Laurent’s script has the rhythm and lyrical dexterity of an erotically charged sonnet, perfectly conveying Delmira’s fluctuating emotional states. However, Clermont’s depiction of this troubled literary protégé is what ultimately ignites this curious biopic. Switching effortlessly from the demeanour of an empowered lady of culture, to a tormented artist weighed down by her own talent, Clermont is a fiercely watchable leading lady.

Successfully capturing a country caught between the winds of change, Demain? depicts its character’s delight basking in playful nostalgia for the past whilst simultaneously embracing the cultural and technological advances of a constantly evolving Latin America. However, despite this playful approach there’s a prevailing sense of doom that overshadows proceedings. With a war looming on the horizon and the conscious notion of Delmira’s tragic fate there’s a dark undercurrent to this good-natured and high spirited drama.

Surprisingly spritely and energetic, Demain? is an unconventional period drama riddled with mischievous symbolism, a delightful narrative stride and a stunning central performance that’s both charming and heartbreaking – a remarkable assured film that deserves to come away from the festival circuit with a well-deserved theatrical run.

The 66th Edinburgh International Film Festival takes place from 20 June-1 July, 2012. For more of our EIFF 2012 coverage, simply follow this link.

Patrick Gamble


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