The name of this film helps me understand better what the theme of it was. It’s a slow-moving observational film, centred around Felix who is at the cusp of puberty and trying to make sense of the motives and expectations of the people around him. The ‘demons’ come in many forms, none literal, and they seem to be the fears and compulsions that we can’t resist.
The most important thing for Felix is his crush on a teacher, Rebecca. He hugs her just a little too long during games, writes her a letter declaring his love and plays ‘girlfriends and boyfriends’ with another boy, all in his quest to get closer to the desire that is stirring. The camera lingers and pans and we see scenes that subtly show Felix’s confusion and disappointment.
As viewers, we are allowed to see things that Felix can’t; a couple of boys have been kidnapped and killed, something that fascinates and frightens Felix, and we are shown who the perpetrator is. In a lengthy scene, we see the person coax a young boy into his car and the long drawn out process of coercion as he battles with his own demons.
There are some exquisitely handled scenes in this film. The one I just mentioned shows little violence but is harrowing nonetheless. And toward the end, at the town swimming pool, the camera slowly pans up and down the pool following a swimmer. With each slow pass, we see an element of the scene behind change. It reminded me of In the Crosswind from MIFF 2015 in its elegant fluidity.
I’m not sure that the ultimate purpose of this film was clear enough for me, or perhaps it was not profound enough for me to be really absorbed. It could be because it is largely about male adolescence, something I know very little about, and so I felt I skimmed over the surface of this story.
Bechdel test – fail