Streaming: David Cronenberg’s best films | David Cronenberg

AAs you read this, I’ll be packing my tuxedo, linen shirts, and several packets of ibuprofen for the Cannes film festival, which kicks off on Tuesday — right where it belongs in the calendar, in the springtime blush of May. At last year’s pandemic-delayed July edition, a wildcard palme d’or was won by queer cars-and-carnality freakout Julia Ducournau. Titanium seemed an appropriate response to wet conditions.

For viewers at home, Mubi’s Cannes takeover season offers some highlights from festivals past, little-seen finds such as Mauritanian director Med Hondo’s powerful 1967 immigrant portrait. Oh, Sun to more recent hits like Laurent Cantet’s passionate class debate The class. Three of Mubi’s selections are from last year’s festivals, yet to be seen in the UK: Philip Roth’s airless adaptation of Arnaud Desplechin Deception was a disappointment, but Nadav Lapid’s Jury Prize winner Ahed’s knee is exhilarating stuff, a scorching and furious attack on what he perceives as the cultural complacency of contemporary Israel. A sweeter staple is sailor of the mountainsBrazilian director Karim Aïnouz’s nostalgic and lyrical documentary about his own mixed heritage and sense of not belonging, retracing his very first trip to Algeria, his father’s homeland, in his mid-50s.

For my part, I am preparing myself by revisiting the work of David Cronenberg, the 79-year-old Canadian master of the perverse and the perverse, who will return to Cannes with Future Crimes, his first film in eight years. More importantly, it’s his return to body horror – the genre that made his name, but he hasn’t fully embraced since 1999. existence.

I started with the obvious precedent for Future Crimes: Cronenberg’s hour-long 1970 lo-fi feature of the exact same name (Arrow Player), though we’ve been told not to expect a remake. Often put on hold with his equally brief and disjointed film Stereo (Amazon Prime), he served as the model for a number of the filmmaker’s great works, preoccupied as he is by irresponsible medical fetishism, masculinity in crisis, and the human body turning wickedly on itself.

The 1970s would see him expand these fixations into crisper, sharper tales of horror. Thrill (Apple TV) merges the terrors of parasites and sexual assault into one gruesome pandemic, while Enraged (BFI player) and The Brood (Amazon) both reconfigure the female body as a weapon; in the latter, the matrix is ​​literally exteriorized, reproducing manifestations of rage.

Jeremy Irons and Geneviève Bujold in Dead Ringers (1988). Photo: Allstar

Videodrome (Google Play) has spent the director’s biggest budget yet on a delightfully crude allegory of media’s technological control over the human state of mind; Fly (Disney+, rather inappropriately) finally got a hit for Cronenberg, though his relatively simple update of a mad scientist story didn’t skimp on the overbearing grotesqueness.

Dead ringtones (BFI Player), my favorite Cronenberg, played things cooler, returning to themes of toxic masculinity and female exploitation with a surgical twist and an accurate icy double spin from Jeremy Irons. It played down the upsetting spectacle, but was the director’s most disturbing film until the highly controversial Accident (Arrow Player), with its striking imagery and dark, tangled questions about the limits of human desire and arousal, has arrived. In adapting JG Ballard, Cronenberg found another literary parallel for his more dangerous fixations than William Burroughs: his adaptation of the writer naked lunch (Arrow Player) looks sensational, but feels, unusual for Cronenberg, all in his own head.

Crash (1996), starring James Spader and Holly Hunter.
The ‘eye-searing’ Crash (1996), starring James Spader and Holly Hunter. Photography: Columbia Tristar/Allstar

Since the wacky but less enduring pyrotechnics of video games by existence (Amazon), Cronenberg flirted with greater genre respectability, skinny black suburban A history of violence (Google Play) to mind games in a corset from his Freud-Jung biopic A dangerous method (Curzon). There’s merit in all of these experiences, but at the end of the day, good taste isn’t Cronenberg’s forte: bring the gagging.

Also new in streaming and DVD

Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson in Marry Me.
Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson in Marry Me. Photograph: Barry Wetcher/AP

Marry me
(Universal)
It’s odd that, despite a dual career as a filmmaker and pop star spanning more than 20 years, Jennifer Lopez hasn’t sung much onscreen — until this pleasantly silly romantic comedy, in which she plays a fac- Reasonable imitation of herself glamazon, improbably matched to Owen Wilson’s silly schoolteacher. The on-screen romance is somewhat thwarted by the star-coupled lack of sizzle, but the high-profile musical numbers are terrific.

Dog
(Entertainment)
Channing Tatum’s return to starring roles was one of the most welcome developments of the year in filmmaking. Not only resting on his good-looking charisma, he makes a believable directorial debut in this bittersweet road comedy about a former army ranger and a military working dog nursing their PTSD together. It’s healthy cheesy in some ways, but with an interesting ambiguous political backlash.

Parallel mothers
(Warner Bros.)
Pedro Almodóvar and Penélope Cruz reaffirm their status as one of modern cinema’s great unions of directors and actors with this mature, heady melodrama, which deftly marries plot points stolen from a thousand soap operas with thoughtful reflection. and moving about the losses and legacies of the Civil War. Cruz’s emotionally charged, Oscar-nominated performance brings it all together.

‘Around midnight
(Sony)
A few weeks ago, I brought to light a beautiful box set dedicated to the recently deceased French master Bertrand Tavernier. This smoky, elegiac jazzman character study from 1986, featuring the great American saxophonist Dexter Gordon in a poignant, self-referential twist, and boasting a brilliant score by Herbie Hancock was not included. Now, however, it’s getting the elegant Criterion Collection treatment.

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