David Cronenberg presents this year in official competition Crimes of the Futurewhich takes the title of his second experimental feature film from 1970. This is the director’s sixth time in competition, after Crash which won the Jury Prize in 1996, and spider, A History of Violence, Cosmopolisand Maps to the Stars, for which Julian Moore won the Best Actress Award in 2014. Why such consistency? Undoubtedly for the singularity of this director of great talent.
Chills on the Croisette
With two short films (1966-67) and two experimental features (1969-70), David Cronenberg made his first commercial film in Toronto in 1974 under the title The Parasite Murder who will become Shiversthen Chills in France. Its realization results from the call for project of the Canadian government which sought to subsidize the local cinema, on the French model. Cronenberg’s proposal is accepted: a science fiction horror film, which will earn him the wrath of Canadian critics, revolted by the use of taxpayers’ money in a genre film that mixes gore and sex with the screen.
Presented on the film market in Cannes in 1975, Chillssold all over the planet, was screened with a bang at the Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival in 1976 (today in Gérardmer), and was a resounding success all over the world.
Crash in the middle of the Festival
Crash caused, in 1996, a scandal as Cannes likes them. We wonder why today. The film, very audacious, marks the imprint of an artist filmmaker. The first screen adaptation of the British science fiction writer JG Ballard, it disturbs by its subject: the sexual influence of the car on Western civilization. All wrapped up in a sadomasochistic aesthetic that will extend to advertising, as at Dior, Gucci or Versache.
For some, the film would have aged. They forgot that he was behind the phenomenon, and a scandal at the time (perhaps not as resounding as that of La Grande Bouffe in 1971, but not far).
A spider on the ceiling
six years later CrashCronenberg returned in 2002 with spider (spider in English) with actor Ralph Finnes, who has since starred Schindler’s list (Steven Spielberg, 1993). The director is renowned for his direction of actors, which will earn Julian Moore his Cannes interpretation award in 2014. Spider is perhaps the darkest film of its author. Adapted from the novel by Patrick McGrath, it deals with disturbed psychology through a schizophrenic who investigates his obsessional neurosis linked to his mother.
Filmmaker of the “new flesh”, whose manifesto he directed in Videodrome (1983), “Crony” (for friends) is also interested in the psyche. He proves it by linking his gory vision to the dramas of his characters. This is the case in Fly, False pretense, The naked feast, Mr Butterfly, A Dangerous Methodand… spider.
Viggo Mortensen fetish actor
Less and less horrifying, but still sulphurous, David Cronenberg leaves horror science fiction for thrillers. It adapts John Wagner’s graphic novel with drawings by Vince Locke (Ed. Vertigo) A History of Violence. Edited with a cutter, practically without psychology, everything is reactive in this nervous film, whose psyche, precisely, provokes the action, as if by reflex. The filmmaker and the actor find themselves in Shadow promiseswhere we expected the director even less, a film about the Russian mafias in the United States.
The Crimes of the Future is the fourth film he has made with Viggo Mortensen. True to his obsessions and his art, Cronenberg announced that he had created an NFT on photos of his kidney stones requested by his doctor, and that he was considering putting them up for sale. This is the whole subject of his new film.
The crisis in the limo
In 2012, Cosmopolisthe new Cronenberg in competition at Cannes is part of a series of films that could be described as economic thrillers, made in the wake of the masterful Margin Call by JC Chandor (2011), on the subprime crisis.
Far from the director’s usual themes, the film nevertheless always flirts with Cronenberg’s formal research and the psychological subject. It takes place almost entirely in the limousine of a golden boy of high finance (Robert Pattinson), caught in a huge traffic jam in New York. Seeing his empire collapsing, paranoia overtakes him, convinced that someone is trying to assassinate him.
Hollywood comes to Cannes
Last film by David Cronenberg screened in Cannes before The Crimes of the Future This year, Maps to the Stars won its lead actress Julianne Moore the Best Actress Award in 2014.
Very attached to his city of Toronto where he shot all his films, with Maps to the Stars Cronenberg directs his first film in Hollywood. Acid pamphlet on the quest for success and how to keep it in the mecca of cinema, Maps to the Stars sees in Julianne Moore a star torn between her career and her private life. In a city of dreams, inhabited by vices, neuroses, incests and jealousies, blood will soon flow.