David Cronenberg

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DarkImbecile
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David Cronenberg

#1 Post by DarkImbecile » Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:05 pm

David Cronenberg (1943 - )

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"For me, the first fact of human existence is the human body. But if you embrace the reality of the human body, you embrace mortality, and that is a very difficult thing for anything to do because the self-conscious mind cannot imagine non-existence."

Filmography (*=screenwriter)

Features
Stereo* (1969)
Crimes of the Future* (1970)
Shivers* (1975)
Rabid* (1977)
Fast Company* (1979)
The Brood* (1979)
Scanners* (1981)
Videodrome* (1983)
The Dead Zone (1983)
The Fly* (1986)
Dead Ringers* (1988)
Naked Lunch* (1991)
M. Butterfly (1993)
Crash* (1996)
eXistenZ* (1999)
Spider (2002)
A History of Violence (2005)
Eastern Promises (2007)
A Dangerous Method (2011)
Cosmopolis* (2012)
Maps to the Stars (2014)

Shorts
"Transfer" (1966)
"From the Drain" (1967)
"Camera" (2000)
"At the Suicide of the Last Jew in the World in the Last Cinema in the World" [segment, To Each His Own Cinema] (2007)
"The Nest" (2013)
"Consumed" (2014)

Television
"Jim Ritchie Sculptor" [documentary short] (1971)
"Letter from Michelangelo" [documentary short] (1971)
"Tourettes" [documentary short] (1971)
Program X - S02E? - "Secret Weapons"
"Don Valley" [documentary short] (1972)
"Fort York" [documentary short] (1972)
"Lakeshore" [documentary short] (1972)
"Winter Garden" [documentary short] (1972)
"Scarborough Bluffs" [documentary short] (1972)
"In the Dirt" [documentary short] (1972)
Peep Show - S01E? - "The Victim" (1976)
Peep Show - S01E? - "The Lie Chair" (1976)
Teleplay - S?E? - "The Italian Machine" (1976)
Friday the 13th - S01E12 - "The Faith Healer" (1988)
Scales of Justice - S?E? - "Regina vs. Horvath" (1990)
Scales of Justice - S?E? - "Regina vs. Logan" (1990)

Books
The Shape of Rage: The FIlms of David Cronenberg by Piers Handling, ed. (1983)
Cronenberg on Cronenberg by Chris Rodley, ed. (1997)
The Modern Fantastic: The Films of David Cronenberg by Michael Grant (2000)
The Artist as Monster: The Cinema of David Cronenberg by William Beard (2001)
David Cronenberg: Interviews with Serge Grunberg by Serge Grunberg (2005)
David Cronenberg: Author or Filmmaker? by Mark Browning (2007)
The Cinema of David Cronenberg: From Baron of Blood to Cultural Hero by Ernest Mathijs (2008)
David Cronenberg's A History of Violence by bart Beaty (2008)
The Philosophy of David Cronenberg by Simon Riches (2012)
Dead Flesh: The Presence of Norman O. Brown in the Work of David Cronenberg by Paul O' Sullivan (2013)
Celluloid Flesh: The Films of David Cronenberg by Scott Colbert (2014)
Long Live the New Flesh: David Cronenberg's Somatic Dialectic From Shivers to eXistenZ by Douglas Mann (2014)
Consumed by David Cronenberg (2015)
Videodrome Scene-by-Scene by John David Ebert (2016)

Web Resources
Cinephilia & Beyond’s collection of resources on The Fly, including the film’s script, book and magazine excerpts, and interviews
1989 interview with Bette Gordon, BOMB Magazine
1992 video interview with David Letterman, Late Night with David Letterman
1992 interview with David Breskin, Rolling Stone
1997 audio interview with Elvis Mitchell, The Treatment
1997 audio interview with Beth Accomando, NPR
1999 interview with Allen White, Film Threat
2003 interview with Keith Phipps, [url]The AV Club[/url]
2007 interview with Lewis Wallace, Wired
2011 interview with Jack Giroux, Film School Rejects
2011 interview with Jenni Miller, GQ
2011 interview with Andrew O'Hehir, Salon
2012 interview with Amy Taubin, Film Comment
"Is David Cronenberg Our Most Original Director?" by J. Hoberman, Los Angeles Times (2012)
2012 interview with Jonathan Penner, LA Review of Books
2014 interview with Chris Wallace, Interview Magazine
2014 interview with Tim Lewis, The Guardian
2015 video interview at the Reykjavik International Film Festival
2015 interview with Graham Fuller, Film Comment
2015 interview with Simon Abrams, Esquire
2015 interview with David Barr Kirtley, The Geek's Guide to the Galaxy
Cinephilia & Beyond's collection of links, interviews, and videos on A History of Violence

Forum Resources
Shivers
Rabid
777 The Brood
712 Scanners
248 Videodrome
21 Dead Ringers
220 Naked Lunch
A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, 2005)
Eastern Promises (David Cronenberg, 2007)
A Dangerous Method (David Cronenberg, 2011)
Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg, 2012)
Maps to the Stars (David Cronenberg, 2014)
Last edited by knives on Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:04 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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hearthesilence
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Re: David Cronenberg

#2 Post by hearthesilence » Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:18 pm

knives wrote:Shocked to see no thread for him. Anyway my reason for posting is that I'm curious if there is any release for his pre-Shivers work? I know Stereo and Crimes of the Future are on the Fast Company release, but is there anything else?
Would this actually go under the "Filmmakers" forum? (It's still a little unclear to me where threads like this should go.) But anyway, I'm also curious about the same thing regarding pre-Shivers work.

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knives
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Re: David Cronenberg

#3 Post by knives » Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:21 pm

I was too lazy to do a complete "Filmmakers" forum thing, but if that's preferable to people I can edit it later.

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Adam X
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Re: David Cronenberg

#4 Post by Adam X » Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:40 am

Having been very aware of what had been released of Cronenberg's work up to 2005, due to my love of his films (pre-Spider, anyway), and that I was considering using a film or two in a thesis I never ended up writing while at Uni, I can say with reasonable (subjective) certainty that neither of his two earlier shorts or TV work were available legally up to 2005. Of course, they may well have snuck out on some sort of compilation prior to or since then.
I'd also love to know if any of these shorts have been released...

The Blue Underground release was nicely timed for my aborted thesis, and at that time it was a dream come true to finally have a release of Stereo & Crimes of the Future (being the two films I was intending of using). Til then, all there was, were the texts published by Faber & Faber in their book collecting the screenplays for Shivers & Rabid.

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colinr0380
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Re: David Cronenberg

#5 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:12 am

Stereo and Crimes of the Future were also released on a Reel 23 edition in Europe, though I cannot say much else about this release as I already had the Fast Company edition with the shorts and did not re-buy them! But this does give me the chance to do my yearly plug of The Atrocity Exhibition (released by the same distributor) as perhaps the best J.G. Ballard adaptation, just beating out Cronenberg's version of Crash.

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Peacock
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Re: David Cronenberg

#6 Post by Peacock » Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:55 am

1. The UK Blu-ray of A History of Violence is far superior to the US one as it hasn't been DNR'd to hell.

2. There is no Criterion Blu-ray of Naked Lunch.

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Adam X
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Re: David Cronenberg

#7 Post by Adam X » Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:33 am

As much as I wanted to, I never could find a way to enjoy the Atrocity Exhibition as a whole. Maybe I'll have to give it one more go after I finally get around to reading my RE/Search edition of the book.
Peacock wrote:2. There is no Criterion Blu-ray of Naked Lunch.
And that's a very sad thing indeed. Almost as sad as Criterion not regaining the rights to, and releasing a BD, of both Dead Ringers and Crash.
Jeez, Criterion, get your act together (or "why won't they release only what I want?")

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The Fanciful Norwegian
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Re: David Cronenberg

#8 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Mon Apr 30, 2012 11:28 am

Adam Grikepelis wrote:The Blue Underground release was nicely timed for my aborted thesis, and at that time it was a dream come true to finally have a release of Stereo & Crimes of the Future (being the two films I was intending of using). Til then, all there was, were the texts published by Faber & Faber in their book collecting the screenplays for Shivers & Rabid.
Crimes of the Future was actually on the Criterion CAV laserdisc release of Dead Ringers, back in 1996. It was dropped from the CLV and DVD versions; I sought out the original LD specifically for this bonus, even though I'd already bought the DVD by that point. Not a bad investment, given how long it took to finally come out on DVD.

Die-hard completists may wish to note that Cronenberg's episode of the Friday the 13th TV series ("The Faith Healer") is available in the first season set. AFAIK this is Cronenberg's only TV work (as a director) on DVD. Go figure.

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knives
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Re: David Cronenberg

#9 Post by knives » Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:50 pm

Peacock wrote:1. The UK Blu-ray of A History of Violence is far superior to the US one as it hasn't been DNR'd to hell.

2. There is no Criterion Blu-ray of Naked Lunch.
That was a severe brain fart on my part. Horrible misfortune on the early films though. You'd think some Canadian company at least would be invested in releasing them.

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Re: David Cronenberg

#10 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sat May 05, 2012 2:34 pm

Based on what's been said in the Criterion And Warner Brothers thread, I wouldn't count a CC release of Crash out. It would look stunning on Blu-ray.

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hearthesilence
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Re: David Cronenberg

#11 Post by hearthesilence » Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:26 pm

"Is David Cronenberg our most original director?" - a "Perspective" article by J. Hoberman for The Los Angeles Times.

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Re: David Cronenberg

#12 Post by albucat » Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:34 pm

A phenomenal new 90-minute interview with Cronenberg

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Re: David Cronenberg

#13 Post by LavaLamp » Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:49 am

I've seen most of Cronenberg's films, and feel he's a very underrated director. His films are thought of as just horror movies for the most part, when they're actually so much more:

Rabid (1977): Horrific film that really plays into the fears some of us have.

The Brood (1979): Great film about our unconsious fears/issues taking physical shape(s) - the little creatures were quite convincing, for a low-budget late '70's film that is.

Scanners (1981): Hard film for me to watch. The head imagery was something I knew about re: this film years before I actually saw this.

Videodrome (1983): Bizzare movie; the organic arm/weapon was disturbing & grotesque.

The Dead Zone (1983): Wow, what an incredible movie - Christopher Walken was excellent in this, and the script was very true to the novel; like De Palma's Carrie, this is another example of a film that truly does the original Stephen King book justice.

The Fly (1986): Stomach-turning & amazing, this is quite possibly Jeff Goldblum's best film. IMHO this version is a great example of a re-make out-shining the original. That being said, the fly transformation is probably one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen in a movie.

Dead Ringers (1988): One of the most disturbing of Cronenberg's film. Jeremy Irons is to be commended for making the audience believe he was two different people - superb.

Naked Lunch (1991): Very messed-up (in a good way) film. I can't imagine any filmmaker other than DC even attempting to make this.

M. Butterfly (1993): Interesting, and I didn't see the ending coming at all.

eXistenz (1999): One of my favorite of DC's films. The first time I saw this, I hadn't seen many of Cronenberg's films at that point and I was dissapointed; because of the video-game/virtual reality angle, I was expecting a CGI-heavy effects-laden film, and this wasn't like that at all. The second time I saw this, I had by then seen more of Cronenberg's earlier films, and really appreciated eXistenz - it was clever & well-done, and had some obvious?! homages to Videodrome.
SpoilerShow
The big question for me was, were they back in "the real world" at the very end, or was it just a continuation of the video game? I have a feeling they were still in the game...
Spider (2002): Excellent film that really created an uneasy/unnerving atmosphere. The isolation of the main character (R. Fiennes) was very pronounced.

A History of Violence (2005): Viggo M. was great in this, but I felt that Bill Hurt was mis-cast as the vicious gangster. The graphic novel went a lot more into the past of the main character and why he had to leave the city and start over again in a small town.

Eastern Promises (2007): Extremely violent gangster drama with a different twist; I liked the England setting & the Russian mafia angle, which set this apart from most other gangster films. IMHO possibly Viggo M.'s best role.

A Dangerous Method (2011): Simply amazing. Both brilliant & extremely disturbing at the same time, this was classic Cronenberg.
SpoilerShow
I especially liked the last 5 minutes when Jung & Sabina had that brief conversation by the river, and then the film closed with the last shot of Jung just sitting there staring off into space.....very well-done. The final text/blurbs explaining what happened to everyone were also disturbing, especially the final fates of Otto Gross & Sabina.
Cosmopolis (2012): Not sure what to make of this. I thought it was interesting, but will probably need to see it again to fully appreciate this. Definitely a different film than what we've come to expect from Cronenberg.

And,

After re-watching several of the above films back to back earlier this year, I noted that The Brood, Rabid, and The Dead Zone were all filmed & set during the dead of winter - whether or not this was coincidental or intentional, IMHO this aspect (snow, ice, cold, etc.) added to the starkness of the films.

Also enjoyed DC's role in Clive Barker's Nightbreed (1990), which was another well-done & underrated horror movie.

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Re: David Cronenberg

#14 Post by rockysds » Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:18 pm

New 10-minute short: The Nest [NSFW]
His short The Nest was commissioned for the exhibition and is now available online for the first time. Through the point of view of a doctor (voiced by Cronenberg himself), a woman (Evelyne Brochu) who has made the request for a very unorthodox breast operation is interviewed. Could the rough-looking operating room actually be Cronenberg's garage?

Please note that The Nest will only be available on the IFFR YouTube channel for the duration of the exhibition until September 14.

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ArchCarrier
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Re: David Cronenberg

#15 Post by ArchCarrier » Fri Jun 27, 2014 1:37 pm

Thanks! A short version of this was used as a book trailer for Cronenberg's upcoming novel, Consumed.

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Red Screamer
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Re: David Cronenberg

#16 Post by Red Screamer » Fri Jul 18, 2014 12:30 pm

A wonderful piece on The Fly by Matt Zoller Seitz


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Re: David Cronenberg

#18 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Sep 14, 2014 11:35 am

And an eye-opening question from Rosanna Arquette! :shock:

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Re: David Cronenberg

#19 Post by nolanoe » Tue Sep 16, 2014 8:35 am

I had heard of that before, I think?

Either way: great interview.

AND - I saw Maps to the Stars the other day. Twice, actually. Shocker: it might be my favorite Cronenberg! Considering he's - by my account - the greatest director alive. This smilie thus feels relevant: \:D/

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ArchCarrier
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Re: David Cronenberg

#20 Post by ArchCarrier » Tue Nov 11, 2014 8:03 am

Has anyone read Consumed yet? I'm almost exactly half way and it is really quite something. It combines well-known Cronenberg themes/obsessions (the human body, disease, technology, photography...) with a suspenseful plot and an intriguing structure. I do fear that the many detailed descriptions of cameras, online services and other kinds of current technology will date the book much faster than his films, but I suspect that may be part of the theme of the book.
Side note: it's fun to imagine Cronenberg being driven around in foreign taxis or limousines between airports and film festivals or press junkets, noting down descriptions of locations for his novel.

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Re: David Cronenberg

#21 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Nov 11, 2014 11:21 am

I read it earlier last month and was disappointed. It's very much of a piece with Videodrome and eXistenZ, but with blandly sketched characters and a dramatic thrust that peters out half way through. The book is also over-organized. That said, the thing does finally come alive in the last third, racing along so many mad avenues that it's hard not to enjoy it, even if the novel does cease to be credible. A minor work.

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colinr0380
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Re: David Cronenberg

#22 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Nov 14, 2014 4:51 pm

colinr0380 briefly turned his jaded attention from the latest DVD unboxing video on YouTube to glance at ArchCarrier and MrSausage's comment. The disappearance of members from the forum in presumed death pacts had been occupying him for a number of months. The only clues were that every victim appeared to have been bludgeoned with a copy of the beautifully ornate, yet heavy Zatoichi boxset. The constant search through videos showing proud forum members sitting in front of their shelves full of DVDs was especially poignant. Yet especially annoying was the member who disappeared with the zoom lens for his beloved waterproof plastic digital camera, a state of the art piece of equipment which featured over 250 megapixels, which was his camera of choice for taking pictures of his cat before posting them to Instagram with funny captions. How would the whiskers stay in focus now?

And if he was eventually able to track down the phantom Zatoichi boxset bludgeoner, how would he be able to take crisp and clear photographs to the standard expected for the feature he was writing for the next Criterion newsletter, let alone be able to continue his work for the LOLcatz website?

Pausing to stare blankly into space for five or ten minutes, he turned to the comment box and his fingers typed away in a frantic, almost possessed blur. Then he deleted the string of nonsensical characters and began typing a real comment:

I'm about half of the way through the book now and am enjoying it a lot, though it is often eye-openingly explicit! It often feels like Ballardian perversity (especially in its Crash-style cold central relationship mediated through technology, in this case the sleek surfaces of the latest iPhones rather than cars) combined with American Psycho-style detailed object fetishism (although in this case the focus is shifted less from specific material goods to the endless, never fully satisfying process of comparison and upgrading of technology. I think that I have learnt more than I ever wanted to know about cameras, photography and coffee makers though!), and unfortunately that comparison so far is leaving Consumed feeling a little like more of an imitator than a ground breaker.

However I have really liked the characterisation of Dunja, who ties the initial half of the book together, and the sense of a multiplicity of flawed dangerous mentor figures in the various doctor/psychiatrist/philosopher figures that our dual leads are chasing. I'm intrigued about getting into the post-STD discovery next section of the book since usually these older male figures, at least in the early Cronenberg films, have wrought havoc but then have completely disappeared from the scene before the main narrative starts. Usually because they've been the first to die or fall victim to a disease. Instead here I've just gotten to the point at which both the lead characters have met up with the subject of their investigations face-to-face, and are settling down to begin studying them directly, which feels like an interesting new development!
Last edited by colinr0380 on Sat Dec 20, 2014 7:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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ArchCarrier
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Re: David Cronenberg

#23 Post by ArchCarrier » Fri Nov 14, 2014 5:48 pm

I literally finished the book three minutes ago. When I walked to my PC to shut it off I saw the notification email for this topic.
I actually LOLed at your 'phantom Zatoichi boxset bludgeoner', Colin, but am too sleepy to write a coherent reply. You should prepare yourself for a much different second half though.

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colinr0380
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Re: David Cronenberg

#24 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Dec 02, 2014 6:06 am

I'm a little bit further on now (not quite at the end, still in the middle of the massive flashback scene), and see what you mean about a quite different second half ArchCarrier! While it is a little contrived, I did think that the cutting back and forth between the two storylines and the development of the interlinking between them was done extremely well, with just the right amount of information revealed in each scene to intrigue and unnerve the reader.

Two comments on the next section with one positive and one negative. The nitpickily negative: does the jury at Cannes ever include non-filmmakers or non-critics? I assume it is just a way of shoehorning our philosopher couple into the millieu, but that issue ends up pulling me away too much from enjoying the barbs on the backroom fighting between jury members as, albeit obviously heightened and fictional(!), insights into the subject, a frisson that really should have been there given Cronenberg having led a Cannes jury in his time!

The positive: I really like the structure of the novel so far, with the different sections seeming to lend themselves to different filming styles, if it was ever filmed. Particularly the explanatory flashback section about Arosteguy and Celestine in which one party trying to share a hallucinatory breakdown with and enable the other feels like it calls back to Dead Ringers, and also it seems to be doing for hearing aids what Videodrome did for glasses!

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Re: David Cronenberg

#25 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Tue Dec 02, 2014 4:32 pm

colinr0380 wrote:The nitpickily negative: does the jury at Cannes ever include non-filmmakers or non-critics?
Their jury picks seem more conservative these days, in that they rarely choose people outside the film industry or film criticism, but Jean Paul Gaultier served in 2012. He's done costume designs for a few movies, but it's safe to say his claim to fame is not in the film realm. A lot of authors have served as well: Orhan Pamuk, Toni Morrison, Arundhati Roy, Kazuo Ishiguro, Patrick Modiano, etc. MC Solaar was even on the jury once. If you go back further they had William Styron, Tennessee Williams, Giorgio Strehler, and Georges Simenon serving as jury presidents.

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