All of David Cronenberg’s films are confrontational, provocative, disturbing, and yet highly entertaining.
Since the early seventies, David Cronenberg has followed his own path and made films according to his own sensibilities, which has resulted in the term ‘Cronenbergesque’ being invented in order to describe his cinematic vision. His feature film filmography is:
Crimes of the Future (1970)
Fast Company (1979)
The Brood (1979)
The Dead Zone (1983)
The Fly (1986)
Dead Ringers (1988)
Naked Lunch (1991)
M. Butterfly (1993)
A History of Violence (2005)
Eastern Promises (2007)
A Dangerous Method (2011)
Cronenberg began making films in the horror genre in the 1970s. He quickly established a reputation for himself as an original horror master with Shivers (1975), which was the film that launched his career as a writer and director.
He followed this with Rabid (1977) and The Brood (1979). Some critics obviously found his films distasteful, but others considered him an auteur with great artistic vision.
In the 1980s, Cronenberg’s films explored the paranormal, the media, biology, technology, identity and delusion. Films from this era include Scanners (1981) and Videodrome (1983).
With The Dead Zone in 1983, The Fly in 1986 and Dead Ringers in 1988, Cronenberg showed that he was much more than a competent filmmaker. Dead Ringers is the story of twin gynecologists, but it has very little to do with twins or gynecology. Dead Ringers is a meditation on our very existence – on the sadness of what Cronenberg has termed “unrequited life.” With themes like these, it wasn’t long before Cronenberg’s films started winning awards. The Dead Zone won the 1984 Critic’s Award at the Avoriaz Film Festival in France; Dead Ringers won the Grand Prize and 11 Genies including Best Picture, Director and Adapted Screenplay.
Later films include his 1992 film, Naked Lunch (based on the novel by William S. Burroughs); M Butterfly released in 1993; the controversial Crash (based on the novel by J.G. Ballard), released in 1996; and eXistenZ, released in 1999.
His next film was Spider. Cronenberg was named Best Director at the 2003 Genies for Spider. A long-time favourite in France, Cronenberg, who had previously been given a chevalier des arts et lettres, was elevated to the level of officier in a special presentation by the French ambassador to Canada.
His 2005 film A History of Violence was selected for competition at Cannes; writer Josh Olson was nominated for writing in the Adapted Screenplay category at the Oscars; and William Hurt was nominated for Best Supporting Actor.
Cronenberg’s 2007 film was Eastern Promises, which received nominations and/or awards from The Golden Globes, The British Film Awards, the Academy Awards and the Genies, where it won seven of the coveted Canadian film awards.
Croneberg’s latest films are A Dangerous Method (detailing the break in the working relationship of Freud and Jung) and Cosmopolis (based on Don deLillo’s novel).
Looking at David Cronenberg’s films, it is easy to see that while he has chosen to remain within a relatively narrow field, each project was a new direction; a new experiment; a new vision. His fans eagerly await the release of his next film, whatever it may be.
David Cronenberg’s Films
© R J Dent (2012)