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Filmmaker Letter

Filmmaker Letter

Demon

by producer Olga Szymanska

I believe that Demon is the strangest wedding movie ever made. It joins horror, drama and comedy into one piece and gently balances between genres. One moment it scares you only to make you laugh at the absurdity of the situation that the guests are involved in right after, and then again you’re touched by the restless Dybbuk, who cannot find peace.

The script is based on the theatre play The Clinging adapted by director and scriptwriter Marcin Wrona. I remember the day when we first saw the drama in the summer of 2011. It was the first modern play that talks about the Dybbuk (previously only known before from Ansky’s Dybbuk, the Chasidic response to Romeo and Juliet).

Unlike The Clinging, Demon focuses on the idea of the groom possessed by the Jewish spirit, beginning the day before the wedding and the wedding day itself. The film begins when Python arrives in the hometown of his future wife, Janet. As a wedding gift from the bride's grandfather, Python receives a piece of land where the two can build a house and raise a happy family. While preparing the land for the construction, Python finds human bones hidden in the ground beneath his new property. The next day the wedding begins, but he cannot keep his discovery to himself as someone inside of him is very determined to reveal the secret of the land. This is when all the very strange things begin to happen….

Terrifying atmosphere is strengthened by the scenery of the forgotten land and a decrepit house drowned in fog. You may think that the house was built for the film, but it was actually exactly what we found after months of driving through Poland—an abandoned house from the late nineteenth century situated by the Vistula river with natural fog in the evenings. From the first look, we knew this was the perfect location for our film.

Both the location and the night of shooting was a huge challenge for actors. The most difficult it must have been for Itay Tiran, an Israeli actor playing Python. Not only did he not speak any Polish, but also he had to go very deep in his role, both physically and psychologically. There are no special effects in any possession scenes, but only Itay’s interpretation of Dybbuk’s character.

It would be no wedding without music and in Demon you can find traditional folk music especially adapted for the movie. In scenes where the Dybbuk appears, you hear the music of Krzysztof Penderecki (among others known for music for Kubrick’s The Shining) which gives you shivers each time it appears.

I am proud of this film and I hope that audiences respond to it—enjoy the most bizarre, creepy wedding of all time!