Asharq Al-Awsat at Cannes-6: Cronenberg’s Intolerable Violence in ‘Future Crimes’

Two years ago, the Cannes festival was absent from the actual attendance. He replaced some of his activities on air and distributed many of the films he selected for that session in the year of the famous epidemic to festivals that were friendly to him, not including “Berlin” or “Venice.” Why? We said spread it to “friendly” parties.

That year, the “Venice Festival” escaped all fears, and held a successful and powerful session. The “Berlin Festival” had to be absent in 2020, and the “Cannes” festival returned with few attendance films (good or not, but little and not heavy) in a cycle he pushed from the fifth to the seventh month has around the epidemic.

This year, with two days left of the session, the festival has returned to its youth. He regained his full strength, power and decay. Among them was the celebration of the opening film “Final Cut”, which entered and left the mind like a momentary nightmare.

A scene from the movie “Future Crimes” (IMDB)

abomination in the stomach

It’s different with most of the movies from some of that Michel Azanavicius movie. Some of them were immediately accepted. In some of them they required inspection and were subject to different tastes, and in some of them the third was greeted by the large audience, with both parts: critics and workers in the profession of journalism in general and the public.

One of these films is the Canadian David Cronenberg’s new film “Future Crimes”. In a preview of the festival’s films about two weeks ago, I doubted whether Cronenberg’s return to biological horror cinema (that which revolves around the transformation of the human body into violent mutilation) would be successful. After watching it, she’s successful in the media, because a character like him will surely elicit controversy with and against the film and much celebration. But it is not technically successful as some critics have preached.

Perhaps the difference lies in knowing the history of the relationship between Cronenberg and that kind of horror story that revolves around the creation of a body other than the body with which a person was born and the violence and pain that comes with that transition from one situation to another.

At the press conference after the film’s premiere, David Cronenberg chose to talk about politics, leaned toward the war in Ukraine, and chose his words with some care. “We’re talking about Putin and his invasion of Ukraine, but southern Canada is feeling similar concussion,” he said. “I think the United States has lost its head,” he added.

This did not offend anyone and did not automatically lead to a question about the reasons for what he said. What the audience had in mind was to ask him why he chose to go back to the way he did in the 70s and 80s when he (and the late American Larry Cohn) made biological horror movies and creatures that came out of the womb emerged as crippled or maimed and murderous.

The reason that prompted him to return to those films (including “Rabid” and “Shivers”), according to him, is that he was interested in returning to those films to ask a question he always had; He is: “Who owns whose body?” … Does his owner own it, or are there transformations over which he has no power to interfere, control and possess?

In 1983, we heard a similar response in his movie “Videodrome”. The answer was especially “Long live the new flesh.”

Viggo Mortensen in a scene from “Future Crimes” (IMDB)

Cronenberg builds proper rituals. The city is not pretty. The street is gloomy and the hikers in it look like they are intoxicated. The future violence that the director talks about is born suddenly and without introduction at the beginning of the film, before it enters the heart of the story. The film’s hero, Saul (Viggo Mortensen) feels that there is something in his body that is trying to get out of every possible physical curve. This means, for the director, taking advantage of the topic to create bloody distortions and painful violence to continue as a result of the condition we see unraveling. Then – of course – because it’s not art at all to see what we see. There is unnatural sex, violence that overwhelms young and old, and bloodshed, but there is no justification for this intensity in the use of force, nor the purpose behind the story in the first place, even if it works in a far line to indicate that the future of mankind is darker than its present reality.

After a short while, viewers who did not like anything that came before them started to leave. It’s enough time for a belief to emerge that the film aims more at presentation than at the idea, and works more on biological abomination (and the feeling of vomiting it causes) than it undertakes on a human dimension. offer. There is no critique we see represented in the exhibition, nor a story that takes us to Kafkaesque horizons. the most terrible; That distance between what Cronenberg offers and any artistic or intellectual responsibility taken into account. Everything becomes surreal after half an hour and a nightmare.

Two French films {text – text}

The rest of what this critic has seen fortunately does not grab onto Azanavicius’ hallucinations or Cronenberg’s obsessions. It is clear that their choice was mainly to include the two names, which is the case for most of the films made available in the official competition.

There is a connection to reality in many of today’s films. Even the French film “Forever Young / Les Amandiers” by actress director Valeria Bruni-Cherro shines with its director’s good choices on the subject and how to express it. It’s about acting, his art and his characters. This is for her the fifth film by a director, and the first in which she does not have to stand behind and in front of the camera at the same time.

Its subject matter is simple and without major developments: a group of young men and women attend the Patrice Chereau Theater School, which he founded in the second half of the 1980s under the name “Theater of the Seekers”. Shiro was a theater and film director who was much stronger than Valyria. Both had imagination, but Shiro used it subjectively and not just telling a story, what the director does, providing an acceptable film as it is without being extraordinary.

The same fate, but in a different way, suffers under the film “The Five Devils” by French director Lea Messius. This is her second film after her first experience in 2017, with the movie “Ava”. It has garnered limited admiration, and the new film proves she’s a better screenwriter than her executor.

Any task that requires a number of intertwined stories should make sure that this interweaving does not cause the film to collapse under the weight of trying, and that is what is happening here.

The film’s heroine (Adel Exarchopoulos) works in a town outside Paris (on the way to the Italian border) as a swimming and acrobatic coach for women. Behind her, in her life away from work, family problems gradually become clear: she married an African (Mustafa Mpengou) and their marriage was a love affair that lasted several years and then disappeared. We do not know why; But we see the consequences, including their daughter being harassed by girls at school.

Vicki is the centerpiece, and the movie builds heavily on her ability to contain the scent of cool people all over her in empty bottles. How is it? The director does not care to inform us, but she adds to this peculiarity the girl’s ability to visit the past of every character whose scent has been preserved in the bottles. It means open journeys to the past.

It’s all part of Mosaic that is neither aesthetic nor dramatic, and it’s hard to believe that this movie (or “Eternal Youth”) will come out with a price. But juries usually have strange tastes.

… and Korean is the best

Some of the best come from Asia. In the foreground is the movie Park Chan-wook, which has attracted attention more than once. In 2000, he made a good drama “Joint Security Area” about Korean border guards; Northerners and southerners get to know and talk to each other, then return to each other’s position hostile to each other. In 2017, he presented “The Maid” about the emotionally turbulent relationships and class between a wealthy family and a servant who lapse into the chasm of the family’s selfishness before the film ends with the chance of survival.

The new movie, Decision to Leave, differs from both. On the outside, the movie is “Noir”, a talk about the detective and the woman accused of murder. In depth, it’s about that close romantic relationship between the two. He’s not sure she’s innocent and she’s not sure she can prove her innocence. The hero of the film is Detective Hye-joon (Park Hae-il), who loves his work just as much and who contains it as Martin Beck’s Swedish detective novels he reads (in Korean). Soon we are introduced to a murder case in which a man fell from a rock to his death. The woman is a young Chinese immigrant woman. She was introduced to the dead man who loved her and successfully tried to secure her a (Southern) identity for her.

What catches the detective’s attention is that she was not much affected when she heard of the accident. All this is sufficient preparation for his departure to follow her and monitor her movements, and then to get to know her more and more through his interrogations. The quiet scenes are sweetened with music by Cho Young-wook, one of the new composers of Korean films. Our two heroes dance in the distance; around each other, then change their relationship into a social presence. This is before the film clears up about other surprises and a new murder that answers the first questions again.


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