New Cronenberg goes to MUBI and San Sebastián

RODRIGO FONSECA
Scheduled to debut on MUBI on July 29, “Crimes of the Future” will be screened on September 21 at the 70th San Sebastián Festival, in northern Spain, as a tribute to its director: Canadian David Cronenberg. He will receive the Donostia trophy, an honorary laurel for the body of his work… and for his excellence.
Wrapped in a serene Howard Shore soundtrack similar to a mantra, “Crimes of the Future”, the filmmaker’s long-awaited new feature film lives up to all expectations: it’s sublime! It was the most radical authorial show in Cannes, in its 75th edition so far. It is a perfect film in its intimate dramaturgy and priceless richness in its reflection of the anxieties that move the world in 2022. In its philosophical script, filmed in Athens, the gradual abandonment of touch and physical contact; the radical spectacularization of opinions; performative identities; systemic diseases; and a brilliant concept: “the design of the tumor,” which suggests the rampant growth of comatose ideas. And add to all that a Viggo Mortensen in a state of grace. Crowning it all is the fact that Cronenberg stamps his venereal, intestinal imprint on each shot, without giving up the codes of a genre, sci-fi.

Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen in “Crimes of the Future”

In “Crimes of the Future”, as the human species adapts to a synthetic environment, the body undergoes new mutations. This is the reality of Saul Tenser (Viggo), a celebrated performance artist, in love with his partner, With his partner Caprice (Léa Seydoux, equally potent). He makes public displays of his organ surgeries, in avant-garde performances. But something about this routine will change when Timlin (Kristen Stewart), an investigator for the National Organ Registry, obsessively follows her movements, lavishing lust for Saul and his methods of self-analysis. There is also a kind of investigator, embodied by the multi-artist Welket Bungué, who carries the film with a load of mystery. It is especially worth applauding the production of the costumes, especially Saul’s Darth Vader costume.
“This film tries to address what we’ve become,” Cronenberg told French TV before Cannes began.
And with its “Crimes of the Future”, the Croisette has entered a cocoon where it revisits the microphysics of the absurdity and abandonment of our time, applauding the birth of a seminal film. There is a sequence in it that is a candidate for posterity: a dance by a blind, sewn-up performer who has a profusion of ears attached to his body. It is a sign of our current inability to hear the world… to listen to the other. What a balcony! It was a pity that the Cannes jury did not award the film any prizes.

ps: In a dawn of insomnia, a mature woman reflects on her process of withdrawal from the world, started years before the beginning of the pandemic and the need for social isolation. It is the starting point of the monologue “Nameda do Impossible”, which premieres on July 1st at Teatro Candido Mendes, in Ipanema, bringing to the scene a good-natured discussion about mental health, loneliness and the fears we face in a life that restarts. Directed by Victor Garcia Peralta, author and actress Luciana Fregolente returns to the stage after 10 years as a book translator, married and mother, who exposes her growing difficulty in connecting with the human being. “Everyone has a complicated head, so it’s very important to discuss mental health, depression, panic. I think it’s essential that people take their neuroses out of the closet. And theater is a great way for us to reflect on this theme, especially in comedy that makes us more comfortable to bring out what really hurts us”, concludes the actress and playwright.

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