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The Evolution of David Cronenberg

Eccentric 67-year-old Canadian director David Cronenberg is as enigmatic as he is brilliant; he’s an uncompromising auteur whose bizarre beginnings have lead to an amazing artistic approach. For those who are unfamiliar with Cronenberg, as I fear a good deal are, he is the recent director of such films as A ‘History of Violence’ (2005) and ‘Eastern Promises’ (2007), two films which have cemented Cronenberg as a yardstick in alternative cinema. By far these movies are the two films most viewers will have seen, and quite rightly so – they are Cronenberg’s most refined and most expressed pieces of work to date. Both star Viggo Mortenson, an actor who too has had a late blossoming and as such, the pairing of the two lends neatly to the comparisons of Scorcese and De Niro. Within their respective fields they are two filmmakers who understand and experiment with the form and are unafraid to grapple with new ideas, whilst at the same time maintaining a persistent level of interest and intrigue.

Cronenberg’s early career with the Body Horror genre established his fascination with the frailty of society. He then developed into a director who blurred the lines between reality and fantasy, which led to the individual and their idiosyncratic perception of reality. With his latest films ‘A History of Violence’ and ‘Eastern Promises’, Cronenberg has proven his ambitious undertaking as a director willing to confront the audience with disturbing subject matter. His upcoming film ‘A Dangerous Method’ stars once again Mortenson as Sigmund Freud and Michael Fassbender as Carl Jung – their close relationship is torn apart by their love for Sabina Spielrein, played by Keira Knightly. Given that this movie stars the three most influential thinkers of psychiatry, it promises to be fraught with psychological depth and looks to be one of the most interesting movies of the New Year. Cronenberg deservedly has earned the title of auteur, and is among David Lynch, Akira Kurosawa and Stanley Kubrick as one of the most groundbreaking and distinct directors of his generation.

Benjamin James

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