Director David Cronenberg returns with body horror in Future Crimes

LOS ANGELES — Acclaimed Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg is a pioneer of the film genre known, aptly, as “body horror.”

In sci-fi/horror films such as The Fly (1986) and Shivers (1975), he depicted macabre bodily transformations, parasitic invasions and infectious diseases, using them to explore larger ideas about technology, society and the human psyche.

And the horror maestro makes a long-awaited return to those stomach-turning roots with his latest film Crimes Of The Future, which stars Viggo Mortensen, Lea Seydoux and Kristen Stewart. It opens in Singapore on Thursday.

The first feature film Cronenberg has written and directed since Maps To The Stars (2014), it is set in the not so distant future where technological and evolutionary developments have altered human biology so that many people no longer feel pain. or disease.

And among those who have embraced this brave new world is performance artist Saul (Mortensen), who is able to grow new body organs just so his partner Caprice (Seydoux) can surgically remove them in front of a live audience. direct.

But these shows soon attract the obsessive attention of Timlin (Stewart), a bureaucrat at a secret government agency known as the National Organ Registry.

At a film industry event in Las Vegas earlier this year, Cronenberg, 79, said Crimes Of The Future has the “same sensibility” as his previous body horror titles, but “works on the same themes in a slightly different context”.

And part of the context here is the very real problem of plastics in the environment, to which the film imagines a somewhat unsavory solution.

“It says, ‘How about we learn to eat plastic? And that becomes food and we use it to feed the starving millions? says Cronenberg.

When he started writing the screenplay 20 years ago, it was a “partly serious, partly satirical” concept.

But it turned out to be strangely prescient.

“Now we see news stories about the discovery of microplastics in human blood and the fact that up to 75% of humans on the planet have microplastics in their flesh.

“Strangely enough, it’s more relevant because of this than it was 20 years ago,” Cronenberg says.