(Cannes) David Cronenberg predicted before 75Y Cannes Film Festival that viewers would leave the room within the first five minutes of his new film. Immediately, some imagined that crimes of the future would scandalize and shock the public of the Festival since ShockSpecial Jury Prize in 1996.
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Let’s say that the new Cronenberg, presented in competition on Monday, arrived on the Croisette preceded by a sulphurous reputation… to which the legendary Canadian filmmaker himself contributed. The rush to leave, to my knowledge, did not happen.
“I was misunderstood,” the 79-year-old director told me in an interview on a Cannes terrace. What he wanted to say is that the audience at Cannes is not a normal audience. Some are here to see stars or be on the red carpet. They may be upset, outraged, or upset enough to leave the feature. Even if it’s not at all what I want! »
crimes of the futureDavid Cronenberg’s first film in eight years, is not a Redo from the experimental film of the same title, made in 1970 by the Torontonian. It is the story of an avant-garde artist, Saul Tenser (Viggo Mortensen), whose body makes new organs never seen before in a dystopian world.
He has the collaboration of his accompanying surgeon, Caprice (Léa Seydoux), who proceeds to ablate the new organs after tattooing them in vivo. They are literally, as one character in the film puts it, “interior landscape artists.” Stars in their field: that of live surgery as an artistic spectacle. A mysterious group of dissidents wants to use their notoriety to reveal to the world the next stage of human evolution…
David Cronenberg returns “to some of his obsessions”, the general delegate Thierry Frémaux announced at the press conference to present his program.
” You’re wrong ! exclaims the filmmaker, smiling. It is legitimate, of course, for him to say that. And I know that the film will be perceived this way by fans of my early work. But I’m not obsessed! Not at all ! [me dit-il en français]. This is how I see the world. The body is reality. We make movies with bodies. This is what we photograph. So for me, it’s all natural. »
Inside crimes of the futurewhich will premiere on June 3 in Quebec, Cronenberg remade at the body horror since its inception. We inevitably think of Videodrome… as well as the Palme d’Or last year, Titanium by Julie Ducournau, which in a way was a tribute to Cronenberg’s cinema.
“Obviously, I see the links between this film and videodromeDavid Cronenberg says. We connect things to the body. But I also see links with a dangerous method, Cosmopolis Where maps to the stars. Even if it’s less obvious. However, I have not made a film that is equivalent to Cronenberg’s greatest hits! »
So you don’t have to look into crimes of the future nods to his old movies? The old cathode ray screens made me think of Videodrome.
“I don’t have a creative edge to think about my old movies. I forget them. If there are links, much better. It’s about me, anyway. When I was talking to William Burroughs about naked lunchI told him that I was going to have to incorporate his life into the script. He replied that he made no distinction between his life and his work. It’s kind of the same for me. All my films are part of a single work. »
The Canadian is competing in Cannes for the sixth time after Shock, spider, A history of violence, Cosmopolis Y maps to the starswhich earned Julianne Moore the best actress award in 2014.
“It is fantastic to be in competition, because we have the attention of the media from all over the world. I made an independent film, with a relatively modest budget. We don’t have the budget to promote it as top gun. So it’s great to be here already for marketing. I have said it many times: winning an award or not afterwards is secondary. »
David Cronenberg raises interesting ethical questions again in this work where “inner beauty” is in the spotlight. How far can we and should we go in transforming our bodies to adapt to a new environment? The filmmaker, who suggested that he create an NFT from photographs of his kidney stones, also wonders what art is.
“What is art? This is a question for which we do not have an answer. But we will continue trying to answer them. Because new art is created, which perhaps the Greeks would not have considered art,” says the filmmaker, who shot part of his film in Athens.
In the near future represented in crimes of the future, evolution being what it is and because of an amazing genetic mutation, people no longer suffer. Your body no longer has the ability to feel pain. The latest fad is self-harm. Also, if images of scalpels and gut-plunging aren’t on your palette, you might want to skip your turn. Anything you can do with a drill or a pizza cutter…
And since no one gets infected anymore, sterilization has taken over. Surgical instruments are stored like ordinary tools in a garage. Even hand washing has gone out of style. “I wrote a first version of the script in 1998. I couldn’t imagine that 25 years later we would be living everything we had! Cronenberg says.
The film also features Don McKellar and Kristen Stewart as the archivists of these new man-made bodies. Stewart offers the quirkiest game in this deliberately quirky movie. What do you want, the sight of freshly removed internal organs from a body makes her character shudder…
She is not the only one. They all seem to enjoy being lacerated. They get excited at the sight of a fresh spleen or a bloody kidney. Each one with their own.
“Surgery is the new sex,” confirms Saúl, freshly eviscerated. It is in this sadomasochistic evocation that this film, which could have been called sex and surgeries, evokes the most Shock.
” Shock it wasn’t science fiction, and maybe that’s why it was more disturbing, Cronenberg believes. The fly, an opera with three characters, is a very depressing story, but since it is science fiction, it goes better! »
Nothing is what it seems in the filmmaker’s return to science fiction. crimes of the future It is a dark, disturbing and sensual work. It’s twisted, it’s comical, and it’s anxiety-provoking, courtesy of Howard Shore’s music, as is often the case with Cronenberg.
But this dystopia does not keep all its promises. There are traces left on the stage, in simulation games especially. Character motivations aren’t always clear, and metaphysical dialogue sometimes veers to the verbose side.
On the other hand, there are very strong and significant images. The realization, made of chiaroscuro, is magnificent. The film opens with a disturbing scene of a child greedily eating a plastic trash can, unable to control himself in front of a mother exasperated at having given birth to such a monster.
“It’s a film about the evolution of the human body, for better and for worse,” explains Cronenberg. Partly inspired by what we have done to the environment, which may be irreversible. Will human beings be able to adapt to their new environment thanks to technology and feed on the plastic that pollutes our oceans? Will it be necessary, in a certain way, to subvert capitalism in order to survive? The movie is a bit satirical, I’m having fun. But the questions he asks are serious. »
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