David Cronenberg

David Paul Cronenberg is one of the most unique directors. He is a horror film specialist, particularly he focuses on vicissitude. The psychological deviation of his protagonists unnaturally affects their body, twisting it and dehumanizing it. This sets them apart from society (both visually and socially) and leads them to a ceaseless downward spiral.

Born on 15.3.1943 in Toronto (Canada), he switched to literature from science, which he was originally studying. After university he made two sketch-films (Transfer in 1966 and From the Drain in 1967), followed by two short ones (Stereo in 1969 and Crimes of the Future in 1970).

During the 70s he begun the partnership Ivan Reitman, which along with the funding from the canadian goverment, lead to his first two full-length features Shivers (1975) and Rabid (1977). His early films are characterized by the breakdown of society, as a result of humanity's hubris.

His following films shift the focus from society to the protagonist, Cronenbeberg begins to focus on a helpless hero who becomes a pawn of organized groups. In The Brood
(1979) this concept was at its infancy, thus the backing of the villain is only implied A step further was taken in Scanners (1981), the antagonist is a powerful corporation supported by an uncaring and corrupt government. Finally, comes The Dead Zone (1983), based on Stephen King's novel, where the hero has to overcome the ultimate power (as is the popular perception) of the western world, the president!

Videodrome (1983), marks the transition from social to personal implications. There the sleazy protagonists becomes the pawn of two ruthless sects. Ultimately, caught in a web of lies and deception, he becomes unable to tell the difference between reality and fantasy. He becomes a deviant on the fringes of society. What is amazing is that his decadent path manifests physically, as his body twists and alters according to his darkest fears (which are also his desires).

This shift of focus to personal degeneration is dominating Cronenberg's later films. In the remake of The Fly (1986), society and its institutions are untouched and we only see how hubris destroys its sinner and affects only his immediate social circle. With Dead Ringers (1988) there is also a notable shift away from sci-fi and into rationally intelligible events. This takes it's ultimate form with the hallucinations the protagonists experiences in the Naked Lunch (1991), which is based on the novel by William Burroughs.

The loss of identity is further explored in Madam Butterfly (1993) which is inspired by the opera of Giacomo Puccini. Crash (1996) delves deeper into the assumption of a new identity as a solution to the dead-ends of social life. Finally, in eXistenZ (1999), we witness the absolute inability of a human to identify himself, leading to constant assumption of shallow computer game character roles.

With Spider (2002), Cronenberg completely ignores the social implication and focuses only on a personal level to the dramatic life the deranged protagonist has to bear. Dementia is also the driving force behind A Histoy of Violence (2005), but here we also see the social implication returning and being masterfully intertwined with the personal experiences of the hero.