David Cronenberg launched a broadside at contemporary US culture at Cannes today, saying “In Canada, we think everybody in the US is completely insane.”
Speaking at the press conference for his Competition title Crimes Of The Future, Cronenberg responded to a question about the threat to Roe vs. Wade – the US legislation that protects a woman’s right to have an abortion.
“We think the US has gone completely bananas – we can’t believe that elected officials are saying the things they’re saying,” said Cronenberg. “Not just about Roe vs. Wade but about everything else.”
Crimes Of The Future is set in a dystopian synthetic environment, where a celebrity performance artist publicly showcases the metamorphosis of his organs.
The film “addresses in a not-obviously-political way the question of who owns whose body” said the filmmaker. “Even 20 years ago, you could feel that this was coming – an oppressive ownership and control [of bodies]” he said of Roe vs. Wade. “It’s a constant in history that somewhere in the world there’s some government that wants to control population.”
Death and ageing
Responding to a question about the themes of death and ageing in his work, Cronenberg quipped, “I’m actually older than the Cannes Film Festival.”
“Death and ageing are in every film,” he continued. “As soon as you take a photograph it’s ageing; and after ageing, death.”
Cronenberg was joined by cast members including Viggo Mortensen, Lea Seydoux, Scott Speedman and Kristen Stewart, with the latter detailing her first engagement with the director’s work.
“I know the first movie of David’s that I watched was Crash,” said Stewart. “I was too young to watch it; I felt like I was going to get in trouble.”
“Everyone loves to talk about how some of his movies are difficult to watch, and it’s fun to talk about people walking out of Cannes screenings,” said Stewart of the commentary on Croneberg’s oeuvre.
For Stewart, however, there is beauty in the difficulty. “Every single gaping, bleeding, weird, pulsing bit of hurt, every bruise in his movies, it makes my mouth open. You want to lean towards it; it never repulses me ever.
“The way I feel is really visceral desire. That’s the reason we’re alive; we’re really pleasure sacks.”
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