Home Culture A to Z Cronenberg: Body Fear Glossary

A to Z Cronenberg: Body Fear Glossary


Few directors, only very great ones, have managed to define a cinematographic form of expression by turning their surnames into an adjective: Fellinian, Almodovarian, Lynchian, and of course Cronenbergian, the latter referring to this cinema. called New Meat, in which the human body is deformed, mutated, or hybridized with inorganic elements. Physical transformation, infection, disease, and technology came together in a dark mix that Cronenberg dealt with intensely for three decades from 1970 until he coincided with the 21st century, when he decided to broaden his field of action to explore human nature, more psychological than physiological. . .

Naked lunch.

The Canadian director (the brand new Donostia Award in San Sebastián) returns to the terrifying body-horror imagery that has characterized his cinema with the recently released Crimes of the Future, his first film in eight years. in dictionary form via concepts and key names:


Naked lunch, Challenge-loving Cronenberg adapted William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in 1991, an unadaptable novel about the madness of a writer living in a nightmare called Interzone. Amazing musical score by Howard Shore and saxophonist Ornette Coleman for a fluid film, strictly indoor, a true borderline experience.


Biology. Biology, understood as the science that studies everything related to life and the organic, is the guide to Cronenberg’s cinematography. The organic is, in fact, inextricably linked with the inorganic or mechanical, forming a biology of terror in which viruses and tumors circulate (They Came From the Inside, Chromosome 3) or a video image (Videodrome) or a thought. (Browsers) can kill.

Death of David Cronenberg.

Operation. “Surgery is the new sex,” says one of the characters in Future Crimes. Known as a medicine and technology addict, Cronenberg physically used scalpels and scalpels in his films, dissecting abdomens, removing organs and symbolically examining the bowels of the human soul. In May, the director sold an NFT of a photo of his kidney stones for $30,000.

Eastern Memories.

death of david cronenberg. In this short film from 2021, just 57 seconds long, Cronenberg finds his own bedridden corpse in a small attic. Dressed in a robe, the director tenderly kisses his dying face and snuggles next to him, embracing the inevitable mortality as best he can.


Existence. Released in the United States just a week after The Matrix, Cronenberg’s vision of virtual reality was not very convincing at the time, but time has brought him to the place he deserves. Here, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jude Law enter a video game through an organic console that connects with the user through a long-lasting umbilical cord, Cronenberg.

chromosome 3.

Freud. A dangerous method is the eulogy of the word filmed from the discussion/dialectic between Sigmund Freud, his disciple Carl Jung, a woman locked in her mental turmoil, and a patient with a flirtatious air. Sex and psychoanalysis is the Canadian director’s ideal material for exploring physical relationships and the inside and outside of the mind.

Future crimes.

Twins. Physically identical twins are very different, however, when they think, act and plan. Both gynecologists allow a disturbing sampler of the objects they use in their consultations. Obsessed by the same woman, the two twin brothers in the movie of the same name are inseparable. Jeremy Irons owes a lot to Cronenberg for choosing him.

History of violence, one. For its director, it was more of a western than a thriller because it talks about the myths and rituals in which the United States is shaped, and let alone because it’s the story of a bad guy who decides to be good and hangs his guns. Death behind, like many anti-heroes of western cinema. Just three violent scenes, but a unique expression.

Irwin, Mark. The viral light and dirty metallic color of Cronenberg’s early films, from Scanners to The Fly, was provided by director of photography Mark Irwin. Indispensable then. Irwin remained affiliated with the genre with Psycho 2, Terror Has No Form, Fright Night 2, Robocop 2, and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, but they would later go their separate ways.

Kafka. The film that fits best with Franz Kafka’s famous novel The Metamorphosis is The Fly, a remake of a minor classic from the fantasy B-series of the 50s. Your flesh drained by the delusions of Kafka’s bug man.

LITERATURE. In 2016, he published his first novel, Consumados (Anagram), described by someone as “a delicious and unexpected buffet for fans of Burroughs, Ballard, and DeLillo,” and with many tics of his cinema: sex, violence, disease or technology.

MORTENSEN, VIGGO. After becoming the most common male face in cinema in the first decade of this century, the actor returns to Cronenberg’s family with Crimes of the Future. They got along well with each other in A History of Violence and Eastern Promises, Mortensen exploited his dark side, and then tackled Freud’s character in A Dangerous Method.

NEW MEAT. Many filmmakers, writers, graphic artists, or comics writers (like Charles Burns) have explored the sometimes very close-up gruesome organisms of the New Flesh, but it is eXistenZ’s director who best developed the aesthetic and political theories of this trend. . One cannot speak of Nueva Carne without immediately quoting Cronenberg.

Chinese pear. Cronenberg stunned with M. Butterfly in 1993, a bizarre romance based on true events, but she hides many of her constants behind her lavish outfits: identity, sexual ambiguity, or metamorphosis. The film tells the story of a French diplomat (Jeremy Irons) who falls in love with a Chinese opera singer (John Lone), who is actually a man. Illusion of love or disappointment in Cronenberg code.

Pattinson, Robert. While Kristen Stewart opened up a new way out of Twilight’s memory at the behest of Assayas or Larraín, lead actor Robert Pattinson did the same under the guidance of Cronenberg, who gave it a very different image in Cosmopolis and Maps. stars. Without this process, he might not be the new Batman.

rabies. The most dangerous of his early works. A young woman – porn actress Marilyn Chambers – is involved in a motorcycle accident and undergoes surgery at a revolutionary cosmetic surgery center. The next day, a willing phallic appendage emerges from the armpit. The New Flesh, vampirism, cosmetic surgery and mutation, all for the price of one movie (from 1977).

Stereo. Cronenberg’s feature film debut, Stereo (1969), already hints at some of the worries that would later mark his career. Neurosurgery, telepathic communication, sexual relations and drugs follow this story that is as confusing as it is avant-garde, set in an uncertain future, aesthetic black-and-white and shot with no direct sound, only voice-over.

Titan. Julie Ducournau’s 2021 Palme d’Or at Cannes is probably the film that knows best how to dive into New Meat theories in the 21st century. In his second feature, the French director presented a bold exploration of body terror, filled with flesh, metal, fat and deformation, worthy of that insatiable mechanical libido that stemmed from the classic Cronenbergian Crash.

Universe (dystopia). Cronenberg’s cinema is dystopian to the extent that he imagines the (dark) fate of humans through technological evolution, the effect of imagery, biological mutation, or disease. The crimes of the future are in this sense a pure dystopia, in which man produces new organs, feels no pain, and survives as a species by consuming his own plastic waste.

VIDEODROM. One of the key topics of Cronenberg’s career: a disturbing reflection on the power of television and the accompanying video imagery detailing the concept of New Meat. In the film, James Woods is the director of a television network that accesses a strange UHF signal that will make it into what has been described as a “video world made of meat.”

Wimmer, doctor. A cameo fan, Cronenberg also played the lead roles. One of them is Dr. John, who was impaled by the psychopath from the Friday the 13th saga in Jason X. It was Aloysius Bartholomew Wimmer. He also invented a replacement, playing a comic role in Clive Barker’s Night Races and in two episodes of the Alias ​​series. for bacon.

DEAD ZONE, LA. Cronenberg vs. King. A tale of mental forces and political events that bear little resemblance to Carrie, Cujo, Christine, The Shining, and other adaptations made during the same period of the Stephen King novels. The dead zone is colder, cerebral, consistent with the portrait of an individual who cannot control what he sees today and tomorrow.

Source: Informacion



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