From Within: The Films of David Cronenberg

APRIL 3-13, 17-30


6:30PM - DOORS

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“One of the best directors working today ... Anyone born and reckoning on dying needs to confront Cronenberg.”

“David Cronenberg is the most provocative, original, and consistently excellent North American director of his generation.”

“A vision that is genuinely original ... Cronenberg’s best movies still have the capacity to cause a Jungian culture shock. They’re like Buñuel, or Francis Bacon: wit and trauma, savagery and pity.”

From pariah in Parliament — his shocking debut feature Shivers (1975), supported by the Canadian Film Development Corporation (forerunner of Telefilm Canada), sparked a national furor — to acclaimed international master, David Cronenberg has had an astonishing career. The Toronto-born director has produced one of the most distinctive (and debated) bodies of work in cinema. Now in his fifth decade of filmmaking, he continues to impress with each new movie. “Beginning with Dead Ringers (1988), or even The Fly (1986),” argues prominent American film critic and Cronenberg champion J. Hoberman, “Cronenberg has been, film for film, the most audacious and challenging narrative director in the English-speaking world.”

From his earliest, most scandalously subversive films — likened by another admirer to “grindhouse trash by an intellectual” — the great subject of Cronenberg’s often highly visceral cinema has been the body, and body horror — the inescapable corporeality that defines our humanity; the flesh-and-blood body in revolt or out of control; the battle between spirit and flesh, mind and body; body modification and mutation (by science and technology, or by disease and decay); sexual transgression and sexual dread. “For me,” Cronenberg has said, “the body is the first fact of human existence.”

This complete retrospective of Cronenberg’s film works was organized by the Toronto International Film Festival as part of “The Cronenberg Project,” a multi-platform initiative devoted to Cronenberg’s world and world view. The retrospective’s name, “From Within,” derives from the title under which Shivers, that contentious early shocker, was originally released in the United States: They Came From Within — an apt descriptor of the major Cronenberg thematic! The retrospective includes new 35mm prints or new digital restorations of many of this singular artist’s signature works.

Acknowledgements: From Within: The Films of David Cronenberg was curated by Noah Cowan and Piers Handling of the Toronto International Film Festival. We are grateful to TIFF for support in making this Vancouver presentation possible. Thirteen of the feature films and all four short films screening in the retrospective are courtesy TIFF’s Film Reference Library. Special thanks to Brad Deane (Manager, Film Programmes) and Samuel La France (Coordinator, Film Programmes) of TIFF Bell Lightbox for their kind assistance.

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Recent Showings

NEWLY RESTORED DIRECTOR'S CUT! Cronenberg's most influential and conceptually ingenious film is also one of the quintessential representations of body horror in cinema.
NEW DIGITAL RESTORATION! An absolute brouhaha upon release, Cronenberg's first commercial feature offers a sly, subversive, sensationalist take on the sexual revolution.
NEW 35mm PRINT! Porn star Marilyn Chambers heads the cast of this still-shocking cult favourite about science gone awry, sex as disease, and martial law.
Cronenberg's futuristic first experimental feature is a darkly comic "investigation of the inadequacy of current sexuality." Preceded by the short, Transfer.
Cronenberg's second experimental feature is set in a dystopian near-future where an epidemic has wiped out all sexually-mature women. Preceded by the short, From the Drain.
RARE CRONENBERG FEATURE! The anomaly in Cronenberg's filmography is this razzmatazz-filled drag-racing drama shot in Edmonton.
NEW 35mm PRINT! Cronenberg took a small step towards the mainstream with this inventive (and disturbing) horror film. Preceded by the TIFF commissioned short, Camera.
Cronenberg's international reputation as an estimable auteur was cemented with this visceral conspiracy thriller about telepaths who take mind-blowing all too literally.
Based on Stephen King's bestseller, Cronenberg's first Hollywood studio picture is a moody psychological thriller about a schoolteacher who can foresee the future.
NEW 35mm PRINT! A masterful AIDS-era remake of the 1958 horror/sci-fi classic. Preceded by Cronenberg's Cannes-commissioned short.
NEW 35mm PRINT! One of Cronenberg's pinnacle achievements, this disturbing drama about twin gynaecologists won 11 Genies and was voted one of the top ten Canadian films of all time.
William S. Burroughs's "unfilmable" cult novel gets a suitably unconventional, appropriately transgressive adaption care of the imaginative Cronenberg.
This gender-bending adaptation of David Henry Hwang's hit play is perhaps the most underappreciated film of Cronenberg's mature period.
Cronenberg's first feature of the new century found him hitting new heights of maturity, confidence, and accomplishment with this daring adaption of Patrick McGrath's novel.
Cronenberg's mind-warping virtual-reality adventure is set in a near future where video gamers literally plug themselves into the game.
Deadly car crashes are the stuff of intense sexual arousal in Cronenberg's highly controversial, eminently faithful adaptation of J.G. Ballard's fetishistic novel.
Cronenberg tackles violence, human nature, and the treasured American myth of self-reinvention in this masterful psychological thriller.
Cronenberg's follow-up and companion piece to the much-acclaimed A History of Violence is another dark, disturbing, and complex tale of the ties that bind and brutalize.
Cronenberg turns his attention to Freud, Jung, and the birth of psychoanalysis in this provocative adaptation of Christopher Hampton's play.
Heartthrob Robert Pattinson stars in Cronenberg's high-style, high-concept adaptation of novelist Don DeLillo's apocalyptic satire.