Saturday, June 4, 2022

KIDNEYS ON FILM: PART SIX - CRIMES OF THE FUTURE



Not to make this about myself (typical only child move), but Crimes Of The Future hits a bit closer to home when you’ve had an organ transplant or suffer from any kind of chronic pain. For those of you that are new here - I had a kidney transplant 15 years ago and it comes up in my writing from time to time. On top of that - my father died from kidney disease (he had a heart attack brought on from complications/side effects of dialysis). So I know a thing or two about organ disease & transplantation. David Cronenberg’s fascination with organs is on full display here. There are a ton of visual self-references in his latest film (which you can see below), but he also reaches back to the early years of his career for thematic similarities…




Within the first 15 minutes of Cronenberg’s latest masterpiece (probably the best thing he’s done since Spider) we hear talk of organ transplants, organ registry and the possibility of new organ growth. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again - I don’t normally like when film critics & movie writers personalize their reviews but when you’re a movie-loving kidney transplant recipient, it’s kind of impossible to not personalize things a bit.
This isn’t even really a “review”. These are just my immediate thoughts. I might come back to this later and write more. But in the meantime I wanted to jot down a few words.

For anyone reading this that wants to know what Crimes Of The Future is about, it’s a mix of everything ranging from pushing the limits of what performance art can be to sustaining the human race with a possible new form of digestion. There’s more to the film but those are the two major plot points that really stood out to me. Just about every Cronenberg movie is layered and about multiple radical topics (David Cronenberg is incredibly intelligent & well-read and much more than the exploding head/body horror guy). Crimes Of The Future is no different. 
Right now I’m just stuck on the focus of organs and the sensory overload of it all. From Viggo Mortensen’s constant grunting in pain to the way Scott Speedman chews & eats. Everything is so heightened… 


In addition to the dialogue & imagery concerning organs & organ transplantation, the characters in Crimes Of The Future are constantly poked, sliced, jabbed & prodded by all kinds of surgical tools. It will more than likely go unnoticed but Viggo Mortensen gives one of the best physical performances in years simply from his constant grunting & moaning from chronic pain due to all the experimental medical/artistic procedures he goes through. The last few years of my dad’s life were filled with groans & grunts due to constant pain on top of the daily dialysis he had to do. Seeing someone with tubes hooked up to their stomach (something we see quite a bit of in Crimes Of The Future) reminds me of not only my dad’s dialysis, but the semi-regular biopsies I have to endure to make sure my Uncle’s transplanted kidney is still working (at 15 years I’m still considered stable by the way).


Another fascinating element about Crimes Of The Future is that Cronenberg seems to draw from the imagery from almost all of his previous films. This comes a year after Julia Ducournau’s Titane which felt like one big Cronenberg mixtape. 
In 2022, Cronenberg makes his own mixtape of his own greatest hits…

eXistenZ / Crimes Of The Future 

eXistenZ / Crimes Of The Future 

eXistenZ / Crimes Of The Future 

Naked Lunch / Crimes Of The Future 

Shivers / Crimes Of The Future 

Videodrome / Crimes Of The Future 

Videodrome / Crimes Of The Future 

Crash /
Crimes Of The Future 

Videodrome /
Crimes Of The Future

Crash /
Crimes Of The Future

Dead Ringers /
Crimes Of The Future

The Fly /
Crimes Of The Future

Crash /
Crimes Of The Future

Crash /
Crimes Of The Future

Scanners /
Crimes Of The Future

Crimes O The Future (1970) /
Crimes Of The Future

The Fly /
Crimes Of The Future

Dead Ringers / Crimes Of The Future


The Cronenberg self-references are so deep that there are visual similarities/reveals that can be traced to his underseen television work...

Friday The 13: The Series / 
Crimes Of The Future


Other similarities don’t need to be shown visually. The medical tools shown on display in the art museum in Dead Ringers carries over in to Crimes Of Future where we see medical procedures presented as art performances. We also see a very similar “twist” right out of Eastern Promises. The autopsy of the child in Crimes Of The Future is also right out of a moment in The Brood...

Videodrome /
Crimes Of The Future 

The Brood / 
Crimes Of The Future



There are only so many clips and trailers available online but Cronenberg also subconsciously pulls from filmmakers like Carl Theodore Dreyer

The Passion Of Joan Of Arc/ Crimes Of The Future

to Luis Buñuel…

L'Age d'Or / Crimes Of The Future

L'Age d'Or / Crimes Of The Future


And I could be reaching here but Viggo Mortensen’s “Saul Tenser” resembles Cronenberg himself at times…




There’s even some Alien franchise imagery in the film which comes right back to Cronenberg himself…

Prometheus / Crimes Of The Future

Ron Shusett, who’d had a lot of success with Alien, which, I have to say, took a lot of stuff from Shivers. There’s a parasite that lives inside you? Burns its way out? Jumps on your face and goes down your throat? I did all that before Alien and Dan O’Bannon (who wrote Alien) certainly knew my work - David Croenberg, "David Cronenberg: Interviews with Serge Grunberg"

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