Friday, November 1, 2013

David Cronenberg's Body Horror Legacy @ TIFF Bell Lightbox

The Cronenberg Project at TIFF Bell Lightbox

By Anne Brodie Oct 31, 2013, 19:43 GMT

The Cronenberg Project at TIFF Bell Lightbox

 (David Cronenberg: Evolution - From Within: The Films of David Cronenberg - Psychoplasmic Panic! Cronenberg and the Rise of Body Horror)
The Toronto International Film Festival, a year round enterprise based in Toronto’s purpose built TIFF Bell Lightbox, has created its first touring exhibition and fittingly, it focuses on the work of local lad David Cronenberg. It opens on Hallowe'en, a season well suited to reflecting on Cronenberg's artistic vision.   His horrific mediations and images of body parts, evil insects, gynecological instruments and gore are pure shock.
But beyond that, his images which are wholly uniquely and utterly transfixing have become entrenched in our national cultural consciousness. His close-up images of sex, death and mutation may have given rise to that oft heard description of Canadian films twenty years ago as “weird”.  
He has brought to life outrageous literary ideas. Crash features fetishists sexually stimulated by car wrecks and wound sex. Naked Lunch gave us giant bugs, and troubled twin gynecologists wielded mean gyno tools. Parasites and unusual physical conditions figure largely in his work.
Cronenberg re-upped The Fly in an appropriately and uniquely disturbing way while Shivers delivered a high rise filled with sex mad, poisoned predators. Then there’s Rabid, Scanners, Videodrome and The Brood. Fitting films for a boy who wrote scary stories for fun.
Cronenberg’s recent films, outside the horror realm include Cosmopolis, A Dangerous Method, Eastern Promises, eXistenZ, but that touch of madness is always there, a psychological, intra-personal or literal tip of the hat to horror.   It’s weird wild and profoundly original stuff. Up next, Maps to the Stars, a deconstruction of Hollywood.
TIFF celebrates Cronenberg, our seventy year old icon, with a multimedia retrospective of his films. Special guest Jeremy Irons will join Cronenberg in introducing Dead Ringers on Hallowe’en night, Oct 31st.   A Cronenberg Master Class will be led by filmmaker Guillermo del Toro based on the film Eastern Promises on November 21 at 9pm. Composer Howard Shore will open Naked Lunch December 8 at 7:30pm
Other presenters include TIFF’s Piers Handling and Noah Cowan, film critics and scholars, religious scholars, Cronenberg’s production designers and producers and associates will be on hand to frame and illuminate screenings throughout the series.
The Cronenberg Project also features an exhibit of costumes, props, photographs, audio-visual elements, artworks, interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, and set-design drawings used in his films. The exhibit includes:
  • the helmet from Videodrome
  • the surgical tools from Dead Ringers
  • the game consoles from eXistenZ
  • the leg braces from Crash
  • typewriters and the bar re-creation from Naked Lunch
  • BMC Labs—a fictional biotech firm that develops biotech enhancement implants inspired by Cronenberg’s films, and which is the physical hub tied to the digital extension Body/Mind/Change—on TIFF’s 4th floor.
A sidebar programme called Psychoplasmic Panic! Cronenberg and the Rise of Body Horror, features ten films by filmmakers inspired by or in arms with him in the Body Horror sub-genre. It is TIFF’s first major touring exhibit launching in Toronto, Cronenberg’s home base and it’s a mind blowing, shocking and loving celebration of the man and his art.  
The Cronenberg Project runs November 1 to January 19th at TIFF Bell Lightbox

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