David Cronenberg. A retrospective


David Cronenberg. A retrospective
David Cronenberg. A retrospective
22 October - 7 November 2008

banner cronenbergTo mark the  "Chromosomes. Cronenberg Beyond Cinema" photography exhibition, the Palazzo delle Esposizioni plans to devote a retrospective to this great Canadian movie director by screening some of his best-known works.  An undisputed master of contemporary cinema, a revolutionary genius whose visionary thrust is rekindled in every movie, Cronenberg has been interestingly described by another screen giant, Martin Scorsese:  "Cronenberg is the 20th century, something that unfortunately we cannot control, in the sense that we cannot control our own imminent destruction".  So his work acts as a kind of magnifying glass that distorts the contemporary world, telling the story of mankind in the grip of change, trapped in the devastating embrace of technological progress.  His films inevitably focus on the human body -- the scene of a ceaseless metamorphosis under pressure from the frequently repressed drive of natural urges -- linked to the recurring theme of change which, when all is said and done, is the theme of man's fragile identity.  Cronenberg's cinema is dirty, brutal and obsessive; he is out to provoke his audience, bent on forcing a sick and fear-ridden society to take an honest look at itself.  His stern, uncompromising eye is the only tool he can use to delve beneath the surface of people's lives, unlike so many Hollywood movies which, as he ironically pointed out, are "violent movies that don't disturb anyone.  People kill each other in horrific situations, and it's all good fun.  The heroes are always positive and they remain so.  Isn't that bizarre?"  What we plan to present here is a thrilling journey through 30 years of movie history as epitomized in the works of an unparalleled genius.  From his early days in horror movies in the seventies, where his taste for extreme situations allowed him to probe the depths of humanity, right up to the films that put him firmly in the limelight -- Scanners and The Dead Zone -- his cinema takes us by the hand down parallel paths into the abyss of the human soul.  While he achieved international success with The Fly, his greatest challenge was unquestionably Naked Lunch, a film that succeeded in recreating William Burroughs' paranoid delirium after so many other directors before him had failed.  Cronenberg won international recognition in Cannes in 1996, where his film Crash was awarded the Special Jury Prize, while eXistenZ won him the Silver Bear award in Berlin in 1999 .

Cinema hall
Entrance via steps in via Milano 9 A
Admission: full price € 4,00 - PdE members only € 3,00
All movies are screened in Italian



  22 and 31 October, 9 p.m.
The Brood
starring Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar. Canada 1979 (91')
One of the most original and frightening films of the seventies, The Brood turns kids, who are traditionally the victims in horror movies, into horrendous butchers.  This has to be the best possible introduction to Cronenberg's perverse world where the darker side of human nature is taken to its extreme outer limits.   


scanners   23 October and 1 November, 9 p.m.
starring Stephen Lack, Jennifer O'Neill, Michael Ironside. Canada 1981 (102')
One of Cronenberg's best early movies, this is a terrifying nightmare about  genetic mutation and the alien, hostile world of science, where heads explode and bodies catch fire.  The unforgettable "scanners" of this cult movie are individuals with extraordinary telepathic ability who are endangering the whole of the human race. 

la zona morta  24 ottobre e 2 novembre, ore 21.00
The Dead Zone
starring Christopher Walken, Brooke Adams, Martin Sheen. Canada, USA 1983 (103')
The dead zone is the deepest part of the brain, a kind of black hole through which a person's fate can be scrutinized.  In this adaptation of Stephen King's masterpiece, Cronenberg eschewed special effects, choosing instead to focus his penetrating and hypnotic style on the torment suffered by the leading character, masterfully portrayed by Christopher Walken.
la mosca   October and 4 November, 9 p.m.
The Fly
starring Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis. USA 1986 (100')
A horror hit in the fifties, Kurt Neumann's The Fly became a full fledged masterpiece thanks to Cronenberg's visionary talent.  In this crescendo of fearful tension, he builds up a dramatic picture of grotesque diversity. 
il pasto nudo   26 October and 5 November, 9 p.m.
Naked Lunch

starring Peter Weller, Judy Davis, Julian Sands, Ian Holm. USA, Canada, Japan 1991 (115')
Typewriters turning into repulsive insects, creeping sexual beings and aliens secreting a milky drug:  William Burroughs' world of delirum and his cult novel are here transformed into a movie that skirts the borderline between the absurdity of a nightmare and the absurdity of reality, an appalling materialization of the subconscious.


Crash   28 October and 6 November, 9 p.m.

starring James Spader, Holly Hunter, Rosanna Arquette. USA 1996 (98')
Cronenberg uses his disturbing visionary talent to depict the extreme universe envisioned by J.G. Ballard, where the car has become an extension of the human body, where a humanity that has become insensitive to life seeks the "metallic" satisfaction of its deepest desires.
Existenz   29 October and 7 November, 9 p.m.

starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jude Law, Ian Holm, Willem Dafoe. USA, Canada 1999 (97')
Cronenberg here delves into the world of virtual reality, with its sick urges that take concrete shape in an effective intermingling of flesh, machine and brain.  The visual effects are fascinating, and an unnerving game that worms its way into the mind fosters a sense of uneasiness over the imminent future.
Spider   30 October, 9 p.m.

starring Ralph Fiennes, Miranda Richardson, Gabriel Byrne. Canada, USA 2002 (98')
A voyage into madness, based on a novel by Patrick McGrath, where different worlds intertwine as they descend into a nightmare.  In this virtuoso game of mirrored reflections, Cronenberg, a master of ambiguity, manages to immerse us, the audience, in the same uncertain perspective as the leading character, with his shattered memory and conscience.