David Cronenberg Expects Cannes Walkouts at ‘Crimes of the Future’: ‘They Might Be Revulsed’
Clack clack clack. That’s how Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg describes the sound of walkouts at the Cannes Film Festival, and he would know. His past movies have routinely pushed the visual and psychological limits. Crash, one of Cronenberg’s many mind-bending films, courted controversy at Cannes in 1996. Cronenberg will screen his latest film, Crimes of the Future, at Cannes 2022, and he’s almost welcoming revulsion, outrage, and the clack clack clack of Cannes walkouts.
‘Crimes of the Future’ plot, cast, release date
Crimes of the Future (not to be confused with his 1970 short film of the same name) sees Cronenberg return to his body horror roots (think Videodrome, Scanners, and the surprisingly meaningful The Fly).
The movie takes place in a near future in which human metamorphosis sees people able to transform their bodies. Viggo Mortensen stars as performance artist Saul Tenser, who grows new organs and removes them as part of his performance art.
James Bond actor Léa Seydoux co-stars as Tenser’s artistic partner, Caprice. Kristen Stewart (Timlin) and Don McKellar (Wippet) play government organ registry investigators tracking Tenser and Caprice. The cast also includes Scott Speedman (Underworld, Gray’s Anatomy) and Tanya Beatty (Yellowstone).
This marks the fourth director and star pairing for Cronenberg and Mortensen. They collaborated on A Dangerous Method (2011), Eastern Promises (2007), and A History of Violence (2005).
Crimes of the Future plays at Cannes on May 23 and sees a U.S. release in early June. It marks the end of a seven-year break from directing for Cronenberg, whose last feature-length film was 2015’s Maps to the Stars. The director expects a visceral reaction — including revulsion and walkouts — when the movie hits the screen at Cannes.
Cronenberg expects revulsion and the clack of Cannes walkouts when the movie screens
The Crimes of the Future trailer shows characters with extra body parts and grotesque deformations and others enthralled with those people. It’s somewhat atypical of a prestigious competition movie at Cannes, but it’s right up Cronenberg’s alley.
The director promises the film reveals far more of this world than the trailer. During a conversation with Deadline, Cronenberg teased a memorable opening scene and hard-to-stomach climax, which is why he expects walkouts and revulsion from his latest movie.
“I do expect walkouts in Cannes, and that’s a very special thing. [Laughs] People always walk out, and the seats notoriously clack as you get up, because the seats fold back and hit the back of the seat. So, you hear clack, clack, clack. Whether they’ll be outraged the way they were with Crash, I somehow don’t think so. They might be revulsed to the point that they want to leave, but that’s not the same as being outraged. However, I have no idea really what’s going to happen.”David Cronenberg
Cronenberg mentioned the, shall we say, mixed reaction to Crash when he screened it at Cannes in 1996. Crimes of the Future might be closest to Crash of any movie he’s made since then.
‘Crash’ caused an uproar when it screened at Cannes in 1996
Crash (not the Paul Haggis Oscar-winner) is pure Cronenberg, even though it’s based on J.G. Ballard’s novel of the same name. The film focuses on a group of car crash fetishists, and it takes their interest to the extreme. Just like Crimes of the Future promises to be, Crash isn’t easy viewing.
The implied and sometimes explicit sexuality in Crash caused Cannes outrage, as Cronenberg said. It might not have won everyone over, but it was memorable. Crash competed for the Palme d’Or. It didn’t win, but Cronenberg took home the Jury Special Prize, which was essentially created out of thin air to award Cronenberg’s audacious movie, as The Ringer writes.
We’ll have to wait and see if Crimes of the Future wins the Palme d’Or, but there should be two winners regardless: David Cronenberg fans and anyone else able to sit through the whole movie.