David Cronenberg Visits a Video Store & Talks About His Favorite Movies

The excite­ment over Crimes of the Future, set to pre­miere next week at the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val, sug­gests that David Cro­nen­berg retains a strong fan base more than half a cen­tu­ry into his film­mak­ing career. But many of us who con­sid­er our­selves part of that fan base did­n’t dis­cov­er his work in the the­ater, much less at Cannes. Rather, we found it at the video store, ide­al­ly one that devot­ed a sec­tion specif­i­cal­ly to his work — or at least to his sig­na­ture genre of “body hor­ror,” which his films would in any case have dom­i­nat­ed. Fit­ting, then, that the new Cro­nen­berg inter­view above takes place among shelves packed with, if not the VHS tapes and Laserdiscs we grew up with, then at least DVDs and Blu-Rays.

This video comes from Kon­bi­ni, a French Youtube chan­nel whose Video Club series has brought such auteurs as Claire Denis, Hirokazu Kore-eda, and Ter­ry Gilliam into the hal­lowed halls of Paris’ JM Vidéo.

“They have 50,000 movies, I think,” says the inter­view­er. “That’s too many,” replies Cro­nen­berg, “so you need to give me a few.” The direc­tor of Video­dromeThe Fly, and Crash turns out to have no trou­ble spot­ting and dis­cussing movies of inter­est, and the list of his picks from the stock at JM Vidéo is as fol­lows:

  • Fed­eri­co Felli­ni, La Stra­da (“the begin­ning of my entrance­ment with moviemak­ing”)
  • Ing­mar Bergman, The Hour of the Wolf  (“a beau­ti­ful movie; very much a night­mare”)
  • Roger Vadim, And God Cre­at­ed Woman (Brigitte Bar­dot “was incred­i­bly sex­u­al, beau­ti­ful — I was total­ly in love with her”)
  • Jean-Pierre and Luc Dar­d­enne, Roset­ta (which the Cro­nen­berg-led 1999 Cannes jury select­ed in “the fastest vote for the Palme d’Or ever in the his­to­ry of Cannes”)
  • Rid­ley Scott, Alien (some of whose ele­ments “are exact­ly like my very low-bud­get film Shiv­ers”)
  • Paul Ver­ho­even, Total Recall (a project for which he wrote twelve screen­play drafts, reject­ed for being “the Philip K. Dick ver­sion” rather than “Raiders of the Lost Ark go to Mars”)
  • Ken Rus­sell, Altered States (which “com­bined a strange group of peo­ple who, nor­mal­ly, you would­n’t think would make a sci­ence-fic­tion movie”)
  • Abdel­latif Kechiche, Blue Is the Warmest Col­or (“a beau­ti­ful, sexy, inter­est­ing, intense movie with young actress­es who are real­ly very good, and giv­ing every­thing,” includ­ing Crimes of the Future’s own Léa Sey­doux)
  • Olivi­er Assayas, Per­son­al Shop­per (“one of the movies that con­vinced me to ask Kris­ten Stew­art to be in Crimes of the Future”)
  • Matthieu Kasso­vitz, La Haine (his intro­duc­tion to the “fan­tas­tic emo­tion­al depth” and “intel­lect” of Vin­cent Cas­sel)
  • Julia Ducour­nau, Titane (a “very dan­ger­ous” genre pic­ture that nev­er­the­less won a Palme d’Or)
  • Richard Mar­quand, Return of the Jedi (when asked to direct it, he said, “ ‘Well, I don’t usu­al­ly direct oth­er peo­ple’s mate­r­i­al,’ and they said, ‘Good­bye‘”)
  • Bran­don Cro­nen­berg, Pos­ses­sor (“my son’s movie,” the prod­uct of “a strug­gle that remind­ed me of all the dif­fi­cul­ties I ever had mak­ing a movie”)
  • Ed Emsh­willer, Rel­a­tiv­i­ty (the kind of film that showed him “you did­n’t have to go to film school, which I nev­er did, you did­n’t have to work in the film indus­try, you could make a movie your­self just because you want­ed to make a movie”)
  • Kathryn Bigelow, Strange Days (“one of the movies that con­vinced me I should work with Ralph Fiennes”)
  • Nico­las Roeg, Don’t Look Now (“a very, very strong movie, very strange, very much about death, but at first you’re not aware that that’s real­ly the sub­ject mat­ter”)

As not just a film fan but a film­mak­er, Cro­nen­berg has plen­ty of relat­ed sto­ries to tell about his own pro­fes­sion­al expe­ri­ences in cin­e­ma. Not all of them have to do with the pic­tures that inspired him when he was com­ing of age in the nine­teen-fifties and nine­teen-six­ties. In fact, even as he approach­es his ninth decade, he clear­ly con­tin­ues to find new ideas and col­lab­o­ra­tors in the work of emerg­ing direc­tors. Per­haps that’s one rea­son he seems uncan­ni­ly undi­min­ished here, much like this sur­vivor of a video store whose shelves he brows­es. Vive JM Vidéo, et vive Cro­nen­berg.

via Metafil­ter

Relat­ed con­tent:

The Last Video Store: A Short Doc­u­men­tary on How the World’s Old­est Video Store Still Sur­vives Today

Time Out Lon­don Presents The 100 Best Hor­ror Films: Start by Watch­ing Four Hor­ror Clas­sics Free Online

Quentin Taran­ti­no Gives a Tour of Video Archives, the Store Where He Worked Before Becom­ing a Film­mak­er

A Cel­e­bra­tion of Type­writ­ers in Film & Tele­vi­sion: A Super­cut

John Lan­dis Decon­structs Trail­ers of Great 20th Cen­tu­ry Films: Cit­i­zen Kane, Sun­set Boule­vard, 2001 & More

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall, on Face­book, or on Insta­gram.

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