David Cronenberg

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colinr0380
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Re: David Cronenberg

#26 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Dec 03, 2014 5:24 am

Thanks Fanciful Norwegian, I can overlook it a bit now. Although North Korean films in the competition might still be a bit of a stretch! But I'll allow the dramatic licence!

Perhaps this is all suggesting that even philosophers cannot handle the full force of an art house film, a style of filmmaking that often requires that the audience bring something of themselves to the imagery that they are watching, without being driven solipsistically insane by it!

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colinr0380
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Re: David Cronenberg

#27 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:20 pm

I really liked the final section of Consumed, and it ended up being a very satisfying read that left events on a perfectly inconclusive note, yet a note of maximum enticement to imagine all of the future possibilities for the characters. All of the techno-fetishism suddenly came into focus in that section as the digital cameras, hearing aids, instructional videos, testimonial videos, 3D printers, USB drives and unboxing videos all combined to create a milieu in which the object of desire is less important than the technology used to document it in all of its forms. Or rather it is the raw meat in the process whose reality gets transformed and somehow lost during the processing.

The material is extreme: sexualised cannibalism, amputation and self-mutilation fetish, shadowy North Korean conspiracies, nutty French intellectuals, twisted French ex-pro-cyclists, perverted experimental doctors. All of which are fluidly moving from individual drives to societal and international ones and back again until it is not entirely clear which is driving the other. But it all somehow comes together in a beautifully lunatic way, even the fascination with North Korea as a mysterious society not yet fully 'penetrated' by invasive social media seems well used (if there was any justice this would be the thing causing an international crisis rather than The Interview!). I also liked the final section of the book as the characters that we have been following fade out and we get left with the supporting characters tying up loose ends, the circle of paranoia and fascination expanding wider, but also there is a feeling that we are with the characters who have been left in limbo as the main characters have been called away to a new existence. (While the section of Naomi's reporter friend Yukie warily searching Aristide's flat for her contains a number of references to exploring the Bates house in Psycho, if Cronenberg ever makes this into a film it would perhaps be more perversely brilliant if he referenced the cursed house from Ju-On: The Grudge for that sequence!)

It also feels as it there are a lot of Cronenberg pre-occupations swirling around in there: the Videodrome and Dead Ringers ones, but also the early STD transmission section feeling a little like Rabid, the insanity of Spider, the Crash-style transgressive explicitness, the charismatic cultish defecting director Romme Vertegaal seeming similar to the shadowy and perhaps mythical Yevgeny Nourish in eXistenZ, the insistence on having a breast full of insects amputated feels a little like the "I can't have it inside of me"..."It might start off normal but then..." abortion subplot in The Fly (also the early focus on the journalist's recording equipment/the scientist's coffee maker section of The Fly seems similar in mediating a meet-cute through technology!), and the sexual obsession that crosses international boundaries having a bit of an M Butterfly sense about it.

And eventually the overriding notion in the final section of North Korea as another kind of Interzone.
Last edited by colinr0380 on Thu Aug 06, 2015 12:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: David Cronenberg

#28 Post by Hans M. » Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:51 am

I spoke to David Cronenberg a few days ago about 'Maps to the Stars' and produced three articles. This is the main one with links to the others, one in the Miami New Times, the other in the Miami Herald. It was a dream come true to talk with the man that traumatized me as a kid with Scanners. We get deep: http://bit.ly/185JpCL

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Re: David Cronenberg

#29 Post by nolanoe » Tue Mar 03, 2015 9:43 am

My jealousy is unparalleled, and I must know more, Hans!

How did he come across as a person? Also, any news on upcoming projects?

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Re: David Cronenberg

#30 Post by Hans M. » Tue Mar 03, 2015 12:47 pm

nolanoe wrote:My jealousy is unparalleled, and I must know more, Hans!

How did he come across as a person? Also, any news on upcoming projects?
Oh, he is super nice, called our conversation "lovely." I opened it by telling him how traumatized I was to see Scanners on cable when I was about 11. "Well, I hope I didn't traumatize you too much," was his response.

I was more interested in talking about the theme of the flesh than anything else. Anyone who knows about his track record, knows it's a fool's errand to figure out what he does next. Maps took 10 years to happen and there have been so many projects we have heard of that never happened. So I didn't think to ask about what could be next. I only know that whatever it is, it will be worth waiting for.

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Re: David Cronenberg

#31 Post by nolanoe » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:36 pm

Indeed - and Maps is actually my favorite of his work (him being my favorite living filmmaker, I consider this quite a feat).

I just find it curious that, with all the interviews, there isn't one asking him about the influence of Rivette (which seems all over MAPS) and what's up next. Granted, he's just released a novel and movie. But he's always been very open about what he's doing next. During the Cosmopolis press tour, he was open to speak about Mortensen and Pattinson probably lifting Maps off the ground (which thankfully happened - if only partially).

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Re: David Cronenberg

#32 Post by Hans M. » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:56 pm

nolanoe wrote:I just find it curious that, with all the interviews, there isn't one asking him about the influence of Rivette (which seems all over MAPS) and what's up next. Granted, he's just released a novel and movie. But he's always been very open about what he's doing next. During the Cosmopolis press tour, he was open to speak about Mortensen and Pattinson probably lifting Maps off the ground (which thankfully happened - if only partially).
I can't speak for the rest of the media. Maybe if I would have had time to I would have asked about his upcoming projects, but I was so fascinated with the film that the USA has so patiently waited for, that that was all we talked about. It's a rich movie, as you note.

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rockysds
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Re: David Cronenberg

#33 Post by rockysds » Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:48 am

From a recent nerdist.com interview:
At the moment, I’m working on a second novel. I really enjoy the experience. I thought I’d be a novelist fifty years ago, so I’m a little bit late with that. [Laughs.] I don’t have another film project particularly in mind, although I do have a number of producers who feel that they could make a TV series that are considering my book. I don’t know where that will lead, but we’ll see. So it’s really those two things basically. I’ve never been someone who had twenty projects on the boil the way some producers and directors have.

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Re: David Cronenberg

#34 Post by nolanoe » Thu Mar 05, 2015 6:40 pm

:-k

Ladies and Gentlemen: if any of us is this prolific with 71, then I can only congratulate (71 is the new 17, it seems).

On another note, I noticed that CRASH had a DVD release two/three years ago over here, which - curiously - went out of print quickly (Euro release, that is). Is it possible that Criterion has the rights? It's the only Cronenberg not out on Blu Ray so far, I think (not sure on M Butterfly, Spider and eXistenZ have pretty bad ones).

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swo17
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Re: David Cronenberg

#35 Post by swo17 » Thu Mar 05, 2015 6:44 pm

Warner Archive put out a DVD-R of Crash just last year.

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Re: David Cronenberg

#36 Post by Hans M. » Thu Mar 05, 2015 6:45 pm

nolanoe wrote:On another note, I noticed that CRASH had a DVD release two/three years ago over here, which - curiously - went out of print quickly (Euro release, that is). Is it possible that Criterion has the rights? It's the only Cronenberg not out on Blu Ray so far, I think (not sure on M Butterfly, Spider and eXistenZ have pretty bad ones).
Crash was a Criterion laserdisc and had an amazing commentary (per usual) from Cronenberg.

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zedz
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Re: David Cronenberg

#37 Post by zedz » Thu Mar 05, 2015 6:47 pm

nolanoe wrote::-k

Ladies and Gentlemen: if any of us is this prolific with 71, then I can only congratulate (71 is the new 17, it seems).

On another note, I noticed that CRASH had a DVD release two/three years ago over here, which - curiously - went out of print quickly (Euro release, that is). Is it possible that Criterion has the rights? It's the only Cronenberg not out on Blu Ray so far, I think (not sure on M Butterfly, Spider and eXistenZ have pretty bad ones).
Criterion having or not having the rights to any film should have no bearing whatsoever on any non-US release, since they limit their releases to region 1 / A and wouldn't be seeking (i.e. paying for) an international licence.

nolanoe
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Re: David Cronenberg

#38 Post by nolanoe » Thu Mar 05, 2015 7:16 pm

That's true.

Interesting to see it got an "Archive"-release. I wonder why it's this one that hasn't gotten the HD treatment though.

(and, having just checked - yes, I know, Spider and M Butterfly also lack HD versions, but I find it more... "logical" those two were not "ported" yet)

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Re: David Cronenberg

#39 Post by jorencain » Fri Apr 08, 2016 10:31 pm

There is a live stream right now as the Kickstarter campaign for the Frank Zappa documentary is wrapping up....they recently discovered tapes in Zappa's vault with three pieces recorded on synclavier that were for "The Fly" soundtrack. It's not 100% verified, but it seems Zappa, at some point, was going to do the score.

(Ahmet Zappa also mentioned that he heard a story that FZ turned down an offer from George Lucas to write the music for "Star Wars." That may or may not be apocryphal.)

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Re: David Cronenberg

#40 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Mon Apr 11, 2016 6:39 pm

He probably appreciated Cronenberg naming one of his characters in Videodrome after a character in one of his songs.

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Re: David Cronenberg

#41 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sat Aug 20, 2016 3:41 am

An hour-long plus interview with him as part of the Kodak Lecture Series, sometime in 2003 if the date is correct. Been awhile since I've seen it, but it has some good anecdotes.

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colinr0380
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Re: David Cronenberg

#42 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Dec 11, 2018 6:49 pm

DeprongMori in the 101 Films thread wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:26 pm
It seems there is still no definitive release of eXistenZ, including this one — which leaves off the Peter Suschitzky and Jim Isaacs commentary tracks from the 1998 Canadian Alliance DVD, and is not a new scan. (At least it retains the Cronenberg commentary track. Every single release of this has its pluses and minuses (except for the 2012 Miramax/EchoBridge Blu, which I can finally toss). The 101 Films release may be as good as we ever get for this film. Although not in Cronenberg’s top tier, I still quite enjoy it.
I was thinking about eXistenZ the other day for the interesting things that it does with that staple character of Cronenberg's films of the 'mad scientist' creator/instigator figure who causes all of the troubles that the main characters then get left alone to face. In early Cronenberg it is a literal kind of father figure who through their scientific experimentation cause the crisis. (They create the world of the film in some senses) Often they die extremely early on (in the first scene in Shivers) or are one of the first to go insane (Dr Keloid in Rabid) and in doing so end up abandoning everyone else to the suffer in ignorance through the situation that they have unleashed that is spreading like a virus. After that we get father figures who make it to the end of the film but are only suitable to act as a decoy to set up the final confrontation (The Brood) or are literally immobilised by their guilt for their role in the proceedings (Scanners).

After that Cronenberg's films go subjective and into the psyches of their main characters, suffering from hallucinations (Videodrome) or visions (The Dead Zone) that involve the machinations of mysterious cabals that may or may not exist outside of the protagonist's own addled brain. But The Fly returns to the early style and is a key film for this figure because Seth Brundle is able to be both the figure who creates the situation and the primary victim of meddling with nature (and the Geena Davis character is the outsider to that situation slowly uncovering the horror similar to the boyfriend in The Brood or the doctor in Shivers). After that we go to Dead Ringers, which is perhaps the most audacious approach to the idea of an internal change (in this case psychological rather than physical) causing outward damage, as one brother uses drugs to try and get on the same wavelength as his twin who is going steadily off the rails, being unable to cut the ties which bind them even when it can only end in tragedy.

Then we get into Naked Lunch and Crash (even M Butterfly and its ambivalent main character to a certain extent) where the experimenter figure becomes more of a mysterious cult-like one (Dr Benway in Naked Lunch; Vaughan in Crash). These are kind of similar figures to those warring but distant (lofty, almost aloof) figures of Brian O'Blivion and Barry Convex in Videodrome. Or have reached the point where Darryl Revok in Scanners was striving to get to (and maybe did!) in Scanners. They have a kind of power over the structure of the narrative in a way that those early fatherly experimenters never had. Whilst those early characters fire the gun to kick off the story, a Dr Benway or Vaughan are distant from the main story but then often appear almost in a finessing role to guide it at certain points (providing the drugs or the sexual experience), and perhaps more crucially they have the power to close out events as well. They round off the main storyline even if the film continues on for a few scenes beyond that following our main characters (both couples in Naked Lunch and Crash) drifting rather aimlessly at a loose end. Strangely those characters concluding the narrative results in a kind of similar sensation to the experimenters dying at the beginning of something like Shivers! Where do we go from here? Do we just repeat our actions over and over, hoping for a different outcome?

eXistenZ then kind of explodes this character archetype out amongst the whole cast of players. Allegra Gellar is the 'content creator' and guide to the world of the game that she has created, but often seems surprised (in both good and bad ways) by the autonomous nature of the game that she has created. The Yevgeny Nourish figure appears as the cult-like figure and 'quest goal' of the early part of the game. And the Ian Holm character is the doctor who can work on the Burroughsian organic-technological hybrid of machine and insect. They all share aspects of setting events that they cannot really control into motion (and all have elements of potentially being duplicitous within them, like the M Butterfly character) and I think eXistenZ, whilst it does not really have too much to say particularly about the state of video games, is far more interesting seen as a kind of playful use of some of Cronenberg's key character types by having certain elements of them flow between characters in a way that keeps their personalities constantly shifting and difficult to pin down. Which fits in with the twist ending of course! Have we seen a real assassination, have the players been driven to murder by their in game experiences, or are we just in yet another level of the game? Either way we come full circle to the 'creator figure' having effectively 'abandoned' all the other characters inside a world they created before the film even began! (A world seemingly with no particular rules or boundaries except the imperfect ones that the 'players' create for themselves, until the hand of the creator becomes all too apparent in forcing certain dialogue choices or scene transitions) With the Sarah Polley character having been watching and going over the data from the latest play session like a viewing audience rather than an actual participant, though tellingly at the end she is unable to retain that aloof, intellectual distance in the face of ideologically-based anger from those that she has blithely been 'play testing' on!
Last edited by colinr0380 on Thu Jun 11, 2020 11:56 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: David Cronenberg

#43 Post by Persona » Wed Dec 12, 2018 5:14 pm

eXistenZ is actually a Top 3 Cronenberg for me. I love it deeply. For me it's like his 8 1/2 or Mirror.

I met Cronenberg at a screening of A History of Violence back in the day in LA and told him how underrated I thought eXistenZ was. He crossed me and said "Bless you, my son." It was one of the better things that has ever happened to me, ha.

Here's a lengthy piece I wrote about it a while ago for a videogame magazine:

https://killscreen.com/articles/existen ... ever-need/

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Re: David Cronenberg

#44 Post by nolanoe » Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:30 am

Persona wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 5:14 pm
eXistenZ is actually a Top 3 Cronenberg for me. I love it deeply. For me it's like his 8 1/2 or Mirror.

I met Cronenberg at a screening of A History of Violence back in the day in LA and told him how underrated I thought eXistenZ was. He crossed me and said "Bless you, my son." It was one of the better things that has ever happened to me, ha.
I agree with your assessment.

I saw Cronenberg at the Cosmopolis premiere over here. But I was too shy to say hello (and potentially faint). Shall try this the next time 'round.

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Re: David Cronenberg

#45 Post by Dr Amicus » Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:19 am

Well, if we're swapping meeting notes, I met Cronenberg at a signing session after a conversation between him and Ballard during the London Film Festival when Crash was shown there. I asked him if he'd read Theodore Sturgeon's More Than Human as in it's view of human change it seemed the opposite of many of his films. He found this amusing as not only had he read it, he'd spent a year trying to write a screenplay of it.

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Re: David Cronenberg

#46 Post by Persona » Tue Jan 08, 2019 6:12 pm

Really hope he gets something else out before "retirement."

I honestly couldn't say what I thought of Maps. It felt like a pretty awkward fusion to me, Wagner's script with Cronenberg. Then there were parts of it that I would have sworn Cronenberg must have added (the whole weird poem recitation, "holes," etc).

I dunno if it was the DVD transfer but it looked VERY low-rent, feels like the great majority of the budget must have went to the cast (dear Lord, that fire effect--and what on earth was up with that book-end star graphic?). Between the late-90s, straight-to-video look of the film (to the point where I almost wonder if there was some intentionality behind that--a sort of garish, artless bluntness as endemic of the culture) and the gaudy nastiness of the script, I found it to be an intensely unpleasant viewing experience, but it had just enough Cronenberg in it for me to kind of hang in there with it. Certainly wasn't lacking for "interesting" characters.

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Re: David Cronenberg

#47 Post by Big Ben » Tue Jan 08, 2019 6:47 pm

Persona wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 6:12 pm
Really hope he gets something else out before "retirement."
He's developing something for television.

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Persona
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Re: David Cronenberg

#48 Post by Persona » Tue Jan 08, 2019 6:58 pm

I had heard that maybe that wasn't actually happening but obviously hope that it does.

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Re: David Cronenberg

#49 Post by Finch » Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:28 pm


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Big Ben
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Re: David Cronenberg

#50 Post by Big Ben » Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:20 pm


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