Press in Cannes Inner beauty, according to David Cronenberg

(Kan) David Cronenberg predicted before the 75sAND Cannes Film Festival that spectators would leave the hall within the first five minutes of his new film. Immediately some imagined this The Crimes of the Future would scandalize and shock the Festival audience as well crashSpecial Jury Prize in 1996.

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Marc Cassivi

Marc Cassivi
press

Let’s say that the new Cronenberg, introduced in the competition on Monday, arrived in Croisette preceded by a sulfur reput reputation to which the legendary Canadian director himself contributed. The rush to get out, as far as I know, did not happen.

“I was misunderstood,” the 79-year-old director told me in an interview on a terrace in Cannes. What I wanted to say is that the public in Cannes is not a normal audience. Some are here to see the stars or to be on the red carpet. They may be upset, indignant, or upset enough to leave the performance. Even if it is not at all what I want! »

The Crimes of the FutureDavid Cronenberg’s first film in eight years, is not one remake of 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 produces new organs that have never been seen before in a dystopian world.


PHOTO BY IMDB

Léa Seydoux, Viggo Mortensen and Kristen Stewart at The Crimes of the Future

He relies on the collaboration of his fellow surgeon, Caprice (Léa Seydoux), who continues to remove new organs after having them tattooed 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 art performance. A mysterious group of dissidents wants to take advantage of their fame to reveal to the world the next stage of human evolution …

David Cronenberg returns to “some of his obsessions,” delegate-general Thierry Frémaux announced at a press conference to discover his program.

“He’s wrong!” Shouts the director with a smile. I’m not obsessed! Aspak! [me dit-il en français]. This is how I see the world. The body is reality. We make films with bodies. This is what we photograph. So to me, everything is natural. »

IN The Crimes of the Futurewhich will be released on June 3 in Quebec, Cronenberg reproduced in body horror from its beginnings. We inevitably think Videodromi… as well as the Palme d’Or last year, Titanium by Julie Ducournau, which was in a way a homage to Cronenberg cinema.

“Of course, I see connections between this film and Videodromi, says David Cronenberg. We put things in the body. But I also see connections with A dangerous method, Cosmopolis where Maps of the Stars. Even if it is less visible. However, I have not made a film that would be the equivalent of Cronenberg’s biggest hits! »

So you do not need to look inside The Crimes of the Future gives head to his old movies? Old cathode ray screens made me think Videodromi.

“I do not have a creative advantage to think about my old films. i forget. If there is a connection, the better. It’s about me anyway. When I was talking to William Burroughs about naked lunch, I told him I would have to incorporate his life into the script. He replied that he makes no distinction between his life and his work. For me it’s a bit the same. All my films are part of a single work. »

The Canadian finds himself competing in Cannes for the sixth time since crash, spider, A story of violence, Cosmopolis AND Maps of the Starswhich gave Julianne Moore the award for Best Actress in 2014.

“It is fantastic to be in competition, because we have the attention of the world media. I made an independent film, on a relatively modest budget. We have no budget to promote it High weapon. So it’s good to be here already for marketing. I have often said: winning or not winning a prize afterwards is secondary. »

David Cronenberg once again raises interesting ethical questions in this work where “inner beauty” is in the spotlight. How far can and should we go in transforming our bodies so that they adapt to a new environment? The director, who suggested he would create an NFT from photos of his kidney stones, also asks what art is.

“What is art? This is a question to which we have no answer. But we will continue to try to respond to them. “Because a new art is being created, which probably would not have been considered art by the Greeks”, says the director, who has partially shot his film in Athens.

In the near future described in The Crimes of the Future, evolution is what it is and from an amazing genetic mutation, humans no longer suffer. Their body no longer has the ability to feel pain. The latest fashion is self-harm. Also, if the images of scalpels and diving in the interior are not in your palette of tastes, you may prefer to skip your turn. Everything you can do with a cutter or pizza …

And since no one gets infected anymore, sterilization has taken over. Surgical instruments are stored as common tools in a garage. Even hand washing has gone out of fashion. “I wrote the first version of the script in 1998. I could not imagine that 25 years later, we would live everything we had! says Cronenberg.

The film also features Don McKellar and Kristen Stewart as the archivists of these young man-made bodies. Stewart offers the weirdest game of this deliberately weird movie. Whatever it is, the appearance of the internal organs just detached from the body excites his character …

She is not the only one. It seems that everyone enjoys getting injured. They get excited when they see a fresh spleen or bloody kidney. Each his own.

“Surgery is the new sex,” confirms Saul, who has just undergone surgery. It was in this sadomasochistic evocation this film, which could have been called sex and surgeries, evokes the most crash.

crash it was not science fiction, and perhaps that is why it was more disturbing, Cronenberg believes. fly, an opera with three characters, is a very depressing story, but since it is science fiction, it goes better! »

Nothing is as it seems in turning the director into science fiction. The Crimes of the Future it is a dark, disturbing and sensual act. It’s twisted, it’s comical, and it’s anxiety-provocative – thanks to the courtesy of Howard Shore music – as is often the case with Cronenberg.

But this dystopia does not fulfill all its promises. There are traces left in the plan in the script, especially in the pretend games. The motivations of the characters are not always clear and metaphysical dialogues sometimes lean towards the verbal side.

On the other hand, there are very strong and meaningful images. The realization, made by chiaroscuros, is magnificent. The film begins with a disturbing scene of a child greedily eating a plastic trash can, unable to control himself in front of an angry mother who had given birth to such a monster.

“It’s a film about the evolution of the human body, for better or for worse,” explains Cronenberg. Partly inspired by what we have done to the environment, which can be irreversible. Will people 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 overthrow 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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