It was in October 1996. David Cronenberg’s Crash was finally out in the US and Canada after all the ruckus surrounding its premier, in May of the same year, at the Cannes Film Festival. The build up of an unwanted reputation (even if the director was used to some controversy) preceded so a huge crowd filled all of 700 seats of the gorgeous Loew’s theatre on Ste-Catherine. This was a mixed crowd, but with an unusual number of Baywatch girls with accompanying Pumping Iron baseball cap wearing gorillas appealed by a few words : controversy, sex and cars. Self inflicted scarification was not very popular at that time.
Lots of cold sex scenes right from the start. Rightly so, simply because it is at the heart of its subject. But as some, quickly framed details, involving body fluid, appeared (in one of the car scenes), you could feel it was getting at this crowd. And then James Spader, a grown man, kisses, Elias Koteas, another grown man.
Children, back in the days we had an exodus out of the screening room for such trivial details. The Pumping Iron baseball-cap-wearing-gorillas took their Baywatch girls by the hand and left the room in a hurry. Girl, you follow… and I choose the movie next time!
Even the director, to this day, swears he hadn’t seen this kind of reaction coming. I’ve met Mr Cronenberg twice, and even if he could be the sharpest used car salesman in trying to sell an idea, I do believe him on this one.
It was like sex in films just made a sudden apparition.
Once they left, and I hope for the girls they got a divorce, what unfold before our eyes and ears, with gorgeous photography by ‘Empire Strikes Back, Cinematographer Peter Suschitzky and Howard Shore’s haunting chamber orchestra of guitars for its score (way before the Lord of the Rings trilogy), was a provocative but curiously restrain art piece. One of Cronenberg’s greatest works along Dead Ringers.
And this is exactly what you will get tonight at FNC 2019… if the girls got a divorce.
First Screening (With David Cronenberg in attendance): October 10, 7PM, Quartier Latin Cinema.
Second screening : October 14, 8PM, Cinema du Parc.