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Entries in David Cronenberg (26)


An interview with Nick Davis, on "The Desiring-Image"

Tim here. Just in time for Gay Pride Month, sometime Film Experience contributor and generally terrific film writer Nick Davis had his very first book published, The Desiring-Image: Gilles Deleuze and Contemporary Queer Cinema. After having torn through my copy a little bit faster than the densely academic arguments necessarily deserved, I sat down with Nick to chat about some aspects of the book.

(Disclosure: not only are Nick and I friends, I make an appearance in the acknowledgements, as does Nathaniel, our host. But that’s why this isn’t a “review”)

Tim Brayton: Just to clarify: for you and for the book, “queer theory” and “queer cinema” is complementary to, but not necessarily the same as, gay and lesbian cinema.

Nick Davis: Yes. “Queer” both as a scholarly term, and a term that filmmakers are using for their work, is sort of bringing a more political edge to gay or lesbian or bisexual storylines, and doing so in such a way that it’s hard to talk about sexuality without also talking about other forces and other aspects of your social situation that impact who you relate to, how, what you know about yourself, whether you think you have a sexuality, or whether it’s something that changes or goes by another name.

TB: The book is an investigation into queer theory and the writing of Gilles Deleuze, using them to comment on each other. I gather that Deleuze is not somebody who crops up often in queer discussion very much, so what started you on this line of thought?

ND: Probably two moments...

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Moore Maps The Stars For Cronenberg

JA from MNPP here, checking in with some movie news while Nathaniel heads off to fair Nashville - have you been following the progress of David Cronenberg's next film, the one called Map to the Stars? He's been speaking of making this movie, apparently a Hollywood satire of some sort, since way back in 2006. His then-muse Viggo Mortensen was going to star; as time passed it looked like it would be Viggo alongside Cronenberg's now-muse Robert Pattinson, with Rachel Weisz as the female lead. About a month ago Weisz dropped out and we were worried that the movie might not be happening (especially since Cronenberg's trying acting again in Luca Guadagnino's next flick)...

... but fear no more! Deadline's got word that the goddess Julianne Moore and the, uh, not-goddess John Cusack have now joined the film, and that it will be filming in July (in Toronto, of course). Julianne Moore in a David Cronenberg movie just about makes me wanna click my heels together and perform a dance routine down the street, and is plenty to overcome my, uh, apathy, regarding Cusack. And yes, it does seem that Cusack is replacing Viggo in the picture, so it will be Robert Pattinson and John Cusack as the male leads. I'm sure some of you will not take kindly to that; I personally thought Pattinson was fantastic in Cosmopolis, though.

Also on board is Sarah Gadon - if you've seen anything made with the name "Cronenberg" on it in the past three years, you have seen her. She played Michael Fassbender's wife in A Dangerous Method, and Robert Pattinson's wife in Cosmopolis, and she was the virus-stricken celebrity at the center of David's son Brandon Cronenberg's body-horror piece Antiviral (which I just reviewed the other day). These fellas sure do love them some Sarah Gadon, it seems.


Reader Spotlight: Ferdi

This is Ferdi!

Editors' Note: It's Reader Appreciation Month -- which we'll extend into April since I've been slow to get going. We haven't interviewed readers in two years but here were the previously awesome boys and girls  (I shouldn't say "previously"... I'm sure they're all still awesome. Reading TFE makes you a smarter, funnier, hotter person - Scientific Fact!). New Reader Spotlights coming at you daily for two weeks before the series goes weekly! Hope you enjoy - Nathaniel 

Hi, Ferdi! what's your first movie memory?

FERDI: My first movie memory is in the very early 80's, a re-edition of 101 Dalmatians during the Easter Holidays. I went to the theatre with my parents. I don't think I understood very much of the plot, I was three or four, but I was absolutely thrilled and blown away by Cruella De Vil.

Who chould have known that was the beginning of my fascination with villains, dark ladies, stardom and powerful female characters?

When did you start reading The Film Experience?

FERDI: Back in 2002, I was eager to find everything I could on the web about Far From Heaven, The Hours and my increasing obsession with Julianne Moore and unending love for La Pfeiffer. And I found the best place where I could feed them, I suppose. I just stopped and said: "Oh my God, there's someone else on earth who loves them as much as (or even more than) me!". I'm a faithful reader since then.

Three Favorite Directors? Go!

FERDI: Very tough question. Ask me tomorrow and I will give you different names. But for now I must say: Jane Campion, for her unique feminine eye, the psychological depth of her characters and the mastery in combining form and content like only the greatest director can do; David Cronenberg for his poetics about bodily mutations and his spellbinding variations on horror and melodrama; And Stephen Frears, as my guilty pleasure. I just LOVE how he manages to bring out of his actresses their absolute best -- Glenn Close in Dangerous Liasons and Anjelica Huston in The Grifters are two of my personal heroines.

Campion, Cronenberg, and Frears

(Ok you just ask me three names, but if they were five I would have added Martin Scorsese and Todd Haynes.)

I love those answers but since you're Italian, aren't you obligated to say Federico Fellini?

FERDI: Of course I love the classics of Fellini and most of all Visconti, but I didn't grow up watching their movies. When I was a child I used to watch Alfred Hitchcock movies with my father. Then I began to go back to Italian cinema at University but even there I preferred to study Orson Welles and Billy Wilder more than De Sica or Antonioni. I don't think it's a kind of refusal of my inner roots... It's all about personal taste and building cultural references and dreaming and finding your own way to escape. And I found it in the American cinema.

Speaking of Hollywood then, final question. Take one Oscar away from someone, give it to someone else.

FERDI: I know I will sound unoriginal but it's the Halle Berry win for Monster's Ball. That year I would give it to Nicole Kidman for Moulin Rouge so that Julianne Moore can win the following year.

Previous Readers...



Luca's Body

JA from MNPP here. You know it's an excellent bit of movie news when you can fill in the BLANK in the sentence "I'd been desperately waiting to hear what BLANK was going to do next" with at least five different names involved in said bit of movie news. So... this is an excellent piece of movie news. Variety is reporting that the director of the Tilda-fetish-object I Am Love Luca Guadagnino (first name) is turning Don Delillo's book (second name) The Body Artist into a movie that will star Isabelle Huppert (third name), Denis Lavant (fourth name) and... David Cronenberg (numero cinco). The book was adapted by Guadagnino, and the movie will be called Body Art.

A couple of weird cinephile overlaps to appreciate here - Cronenberg just adapted a Delillo book (and quite well if you ask me) last year with Cosmopolis, which was about a man riding around in a white limosuine and encountering lots of people over the course of a single day, which was also the plot of Holy Motors (though to much different effect), which of course starred... Denis Lavant. And Isabelle Huppert... is Isabelle Huppert. Nuff said. If this will top my favorite David Cronenberg performance (that would be as the doctor who gets impaled upon a giant steel rod in Jason X) we'll have to wait and see.


LFF: A Conversation on "Antiviral" and Cronenberg Jr.

Craig here with another LFF report. David & I have a chat about Brandon Cronenberg's striking debut feature Antiviral, showing today at the festival.

Craig: It’s all about celebrity skin in Antiviral as characters indulge in, ahem, the pleasures of the flesh in one form or another. This being the first feature from David Cronenberg’s son Brandon, I perhaps expected a plentiful supply of gratuitous bodily harm. Having no idea prior to seeing the film just what it was about –  all I knew was that it was partially set in a mysterious clinic for the stars – the film came as a minor revelation: not only because, for a debut feature, the filmmaking was of an uncommonly high calibre, but also because the most interesting Cronenberg film this year wasn’t brought to us by the oldest member of the Cronenberg clan. 

David: I always seem to begin these conversations with a caveat: this time, it's that I missed Cosmopolis, though the wild variety of reactions has me eager to get my teeth into it. But in a general sense, I agree on your point: Antiviral certainly has echoes of the David Cronenberg of the 1980s, mixing an obsession with the body and its orifices – even if many of these are false ones created with a needle – with a cool depiction of technology's terrifying possibilities.

Craig: Yes, even if he doesn’t entirely map out his own territory, Cronenberg Jr asserts himself as a director of impeccable style. On the one hand, David’s influence is certainly pronounced, as well it might be, but on the other hand, dare I say it (and I hate to say it), Brandon has made the kind of film I was hoping for from Cronenberg Sr. senior this year.

David: This might just be me and my limited experience of Cronenberg Sr., but Antiviral seems quite crisp and clinical where I recall his father's films as visually darker and emotionally grubbier. Brandon's use of space, particularly, reminded me less of his father's filmography and more of Julia Leigh's Sleeping Beauty and Todd Haynes' Safe [continue...]

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