Canadian Film Review

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David Cronenberg’s DEAD RINGERS And Other Body Horrors at TIFF

ded00Following his two-film Hollywood sojourn, David Cronenberg returned to more idiosyncratic material with this adaptation of Bari Wood’s novel Twins, which was loosely based on the real-life story of twin doctors Stewart and Cyril Marcus, who were found dead in their Manhattan apartment from a barbiturate overdose.


Jeremy Irons gives an indelible, critically lauded performance as
identical twin gynecologists Elliot and Beverly Mantle, who share more than
just genes: the assertive, confident Elliot regularly seduces his female
patients, and when he tires of them passes them on (without informing them
of the switch) to the shy and introverted Beverly. When the brothers become
involved with troubled actress Claire Niveau (Geneviève Bujold), their
symbiotic relationship begins to unravel, with bizarre and eventually fatal

One of Cronenberg’s most subtle and sophisticated fusions of the
cerebral and the physical—the brothers’ complex psychological bond is
intimately bound up with their clinical, increasingly disturbing
fascination with the female reproductive system— Dead Ringers is also one
of his most tragic and emotional works, thanks greatly to Irons’ remarkable
double performance.

Dead Ringers screens on October 31, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. and will be
introduced by Jeremy Irons and David Cronenberg to kick off From Within: The Films of David Cronenberg, the full film retrospective for The Cronenberg Project.

Running from November 1 to January 19, this retrospective showcases
Cronenberg’s oeuvre from his first short feature Stereo (1969) to his
most recent film Cosmopolis (2012), and features a substantial number of
newly struck and restored 35mm prints and new digital presentations.

Then on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7 p.m., we welcome Mr. Irons back to
TIFF Bell Lightbox for In Conversation With…Jeremy Irons, a look back
at his impressive career and discussions on his collaborations with David
Cronenberg on Dead Ringers and M. Butterfly.

Dead Ringers will be preceded by Cronenberg’s short film, Transfer.
Made while Cronenberg was earning his BA in English Language and Literature
at the University of Toronto, it is a surreal sketch about a psychiatrist
and his obsessive patient who have an uncomfortable conversation at a
dinner table in the middle of a snow-covered field.

Transfer screens on Saturday, November 16 at 2 p.m. along with Stereo,
From the Drain, Camera and At the Suicide of the Last Jew in the World at the Last Cinema in the World.

See below for complete schedule of films:


Dead Ringers

New 35 mm Print!

David Cronenberg | Canada/USA | 1988 | 116 min | R | 35mm

Jeremy Irons gives a pair of remarkable performances as twin gynecologists whose symbiotic bond leads them towards mutual self-destruction, in one of Cronenberg’s most sophisticated fusions of the physical and the cerebral.

Thursday, October 31 at 6:30 p.m. *Jeremy Irons and David Cronenberg in attendance!

Sunday, November 17 at 4 p.m. *With onstage talk by film Scholar Christine Ramsay!

Tuesday, November 26 at 9:45 p.m.

Sunday, January 19 at 7 p.m.


Naked Lunch

David Cronenberg | Canada/UK/Japan | 1991 | 115 min. | R | 35mm

David Cronenberg fused episodes from William S. Burroughs’ notorious (and notoriously unfilmable) novel with elements from the writer’s biography and his own unique imaginings to create this visually striking masterpiece.

Friday, November 1 at 9 p.m. *Producer Jeremy Thomas and David Cronenberg in attendance!

Sunday, November 24 at 7 p.m.

Sunday, December 8 at 7:30 p.m. *Academy Award-winning composer Howard Shore in attendance!

Monday, December 23 at 8:45 p.m.

Sunday, January 12 at 6:30 p.m.



David Cronenberg | Canada | 1981 | 103 min. | R | 35mm

A powerful telepath (a.k.a. “scanner”) finds himself caught in the middle of a war between a sinister weapons firm and a scanner renegade, in David Cronenberg’s slick (and memorably gory) sci-fi thriller.

Saturday, November 2 at 1 p.m.

Tuesday, November 19 at 9:15 p.m.

Sunday, December 22 at 5:45 p.m.

Saturday, January 18 at 7 p.m.


M. Butterfly

David Cronenberg | USA | 1993 | 101 min. | 14A | 35mm

A French civil servant (Jeremy Irons) in Mao’s China falls in love with a beautiful opera singer (John Lone) — not realizing that “she” is both a man and a spy — in Cronenberg’s adaptation of the acclaimed stage play by David Henry Hwang.

Saturday, November 2 at 3:30 p.m. *Costume designer Denise Cronenberg in attendance! Sunday, December 1 at 7 p.m.


The Fly

New 35mm Print!

David Cronenberg | USA | 1986 | 96 min. | R | 35mm

David Cronenberg’s remake of the fondly remembered 1950s creature feature — about a brilliant, eccentric scientist (Jeff Goldblum) who finds himself undergoing a hideous transformation following a botched teleportation experiment — is one of the signature films in his oeuvre.

Saturday, November 2 at 7 p.m. *Special effects makeup artist Stéphan Dupuis in attendance!

Saturday, November 23 at 7 p.m.

Thursday, January 16 at 9 p.m.

Sunday, January 19 at 1 p.m.


Fast Company

New digital presentation!

David Cronenberg | Canada | 1979 | 91 min. | 14A | digital

One of Cronenberg’s most uncharacteristic films, this action-packed drag-racing drama attests to the director’s gearhead fascination with cars and machinery.

Sunday, November 3 at 2 p.m.



Newly restored 35mm director’s cut!

David Cronenberg | Canada | 1983 | 87 min. | R | 35mm

A mysterious pirate station lures a cocky Toronto cable entrepreneur (James Woods) into the reality-warping world of the “new flesh,” in David Cronenberg’s prescient and vastly influential vision of a media age run amok.

Sunday, November 3 at 4:30 p.m.

Sunday, November 24 at 4 p.m. *With onstage talk by Piers Handling! Friday, January 17 at 9 p.m.



Newly digital restoration!

David Cronenberg | Canada | 1975 | 87 min. | 18A | digital

A sluglike parasite transforms the swinging residents of a Montreal condo into a legion of sex-crazed zombies, in David Cronenberg’s controversial first professional feature.

Sunday, November 3 at 9:30 p.m.

Friday, November 15 at 8:45 p.m.

Wednesday, December 25 at 9 p.m.

Tuesday, December 31 at 6 p.m.

Saturday, January 11 at 6:30 p.m.



New 35mm print!

David Cronenberg | Canada | 1977 | 91 min. | R | 35mm

Porn star Marilyn Chambers stars in David Cronenberg’s second feature as a young Quebec woman who undergoes an experimental plastic surgery treatment that transforms her into a blood-lusting, sexually insatiable disease-spreader.

Friday, November 8 at 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, December 19 at 9 p.m.

Monday, December 30 at 9 p.m.



David Cronenberg | Canada/UK | 1996 | 100 min. | 14A | 35mm

Cronenberg’s masterful, icily fascinating adaptation of the J.G. Ballard novel was one of the most lauded and controversial films of his career.

Friday, November 8 at 8:45 p.m.

Saturday, December 7 at 1 p.m. *Onstage talk with TIFF Bell Lightbox Artistic Director Noah Cowan!

Sunday, December 29 at 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, January 4 at 6:30 p.m.


The Dead Zone

New digital presentation!

David Cronenberg | USA | 1983 | 103 min. | 14A | digital

Adapted from the Stephen King bestseller, Cronenberg’s first Hollywood feature stars Christopher Walken as a mild-mannered schoolteacher who awakens from a coma to discover that he can see the future of anyone with whom he makes physical contact.

Saturday, November 9 at 2:30 p.m.

Friday, January 3 at 9 p.m.


The Brood

New 35mm print!

David Cronenberg | Canada | 1979 | 92 min. | R | 35mm

An emotionally disturbed woman materializes her rage as a swarm of sexless, murderous children that take vengeance on those who have wronged her.

Saturday, November 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, December 1 at 1:30 p.m. *Onstage talk with Religious Studies scholar Elijah Siegler and David Cronenberg!

Thursday, January 2 at 9 p.m.


A Dangerous Method

David Cronenberg | Canada/UK/Germany | 2011 | 99 min. | 18A | digital

The personal and professional relationship between Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) is put to the test by the arrival of a beautiful, troubled young patient (Keira Knightley), in Cronenberg’s ambitious drama about the heroic age of psychoanalysis.

Sunday, November 10 at 1 p.m.

Saturday, November 23 at 2 p.m.

Sunday, December 8 at 1 p.m. *Followed by a panel discussion with longtime David Cronenberg collaborators costume designer Denise Cronenberg, editor Ron Sanders, composer Howard Shore and cinematographer Peter Suschitzky!



David Cronenberg | Canada/UK/France | 1999 | 97 min. | R | 35mm

Cronenberg reboots Videodrome for the virtual age in this sci-fi thriller about a video-game designer (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and her would-be protector (Jude Law) who plunge into the reality-warping dimensions of her new gameworld.

Saturday, November 16 at 7 p.m. *Genie Award-winning production designer Carol Spier in attendance!

Saturday,January 18 at 1 p.m.


A History of Violence

David Cronenberg | Canada/USA/Germany | 2006 | 96 min. | 18A | 35mm

One of Cronenberg’s greatest and most complex works, this combination of searing psychological thriller and ingeniously subtle social allegory focuses on a small-town Everyman (Viggo Mortensen) who finds his hidden past catching up with him after he brutally foils an attempted stick-up.

Friday, November 22 at 9 p.m.

Saturday, December 7 at 7 p.m. *Genie Award-winning cinematographer Peter Suschitzky in attendance!

Wednesday, January 8 at 9:30 p.m.



David Cronenberg | Canada/France/Italy/Portugal | 2012 | 109 min. | 14A | digital

Cronenberg’s ambitious adaptation of the Don DeLillo novel follows a billionaire New York financier (Robert Pattinson) as he traverses a rapidly crumbling city in the backseat of his limousine on the way to a fateful (and perhaps fatal) appointment.

Thursday, November 28 at 9 p.m.



David Cronenberg | Canada/UK | 2002 | 98 min. | 18A | 35mm

Released to a halfway house on the seedy side of London, a mentally disturbed outpatient (Ralph Fiennes) finds the ghosts of his traumatic past rising before him, in Cronenberg’s moody adaptation of the novel by Patrick McGrath.

Saturday, November 30 at 1:45 p.m.

Sunday, January 5 at 6:30 p.m.


Crimes of the Future

David Cronenberg | Canada | 1970 | 70 min. | PG | 35mm

A research scientist searches for his mad mentor after a plague triggered by cosmetics eliminates all sexually mature women and hideously mutates the surviving men, in Cronenberg’s eerie, conceptually ambitious second independent film.

Thursday, December 12 at 9:15 p.m.


Eastern Promises

David Cronenberg | UK | 2007 | 100 min. | 18A | 35mm

Cronenberg reunited with his History of Violence star Viggo Mortensen for this pungently seamy, London-set underworld drama.

Thursday, November 21 at 9 p.m. *Master Class with Guillermo del Toro and David Cronenberg!

Thursday, January 16 at 6:30 p.m.



Filmed in black and white on the Scarborough campus of the University of Toronto, Cronenberg’s first short feature announced the arrival of a powerful new cinematic imagination.

Saturday, November 16 at 2p.m


David Cronenberg | Canada | 1969 | 65 min. | R | 35mm

Filmed in black and white on the Scarborough campus of the University of Toronto, Cronenberg’s first short feature announced the arrival of a powerful new cinematic imagination.



New Digital Restoration!

David Cronenberg | Canada | 1966 | 7 min. | 14A | digital

Made while Cronenberg was earning his BA in English Language and Literature at the University of Toronto, Transfer is a surreal sketch about a psychiatrist and his obsessive patient who have an uncomfortable conversation at a dinner table in the middle of a snow-covered field.


From the Drain

David Cronenberg | Canada | 1967 | 13 min. | 14A | digital

Two men — purportedly a secret agent and a chemical warfare expert — meet in a bathtub, where they discuss the strange mutations caused by a recent war and have a bizarre vegetative encounter.



David Cronenberg | Canada | 2000 | 6 min. | 14A | 35mm

Commissioned by TIFF to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Festival in 2000, Camera features frequent Cronenberg collaborator Leslie Carlson as an actor who delivers a diatribe against the malicious power of the movie camera while a group of young children film him.


At the Suicide of the Last Jew in the World at the Last Cinema in the World

David Cronenberg | France | 2007 | 4 min. | 14A |digital

Commissioned for the sixtieth anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival as part of the anthology film Chacun son cinéma, the sardonic yet disturbing At the Suicide… stars Cronenberg himself in the title role, holding a gun to his head and preparing to kill himself on live TV, while unseen commentators dispassionately discuss the role of Jews in cinema.



David Cronenberg and numerous special guests participate in a series of lectures, discussions and Master Classes as part of From Within: The Films of David Cronenberg.

Christine Ramsay on Dead Ringers

Film scholar Christine Ramsay explores the cultural significance of “the double” and the ways in which it has informed the archetype of the twin in David Cronenberg’s masterpiece Dead Ringers. Sunday, November 17 at 4 p.m.


Cronenberg Master Class: Guillermo del Toro on Eastern Promises

Guillermo del Toro offers an in-depth look at David Cronenberg’s 2007 underworld thriller Eastern Promises, delivering an extended introduction to the film and then welcoming Cronenberg himself onstage for a post-screening discussion. Thursday, November 21 at 9 p.m.


Piers Handling on Videodrome

In his introduction to this pivotal film in the Cronenberg canon, TIFF Director and CEO Piers Handling considers how the role of the Cronenberg protagonist changes as they began to wrestle with issues of control over their lives. Sunday, November 24 at 4 p.m.


Elijah Siegler on The Brood

David Cronenberg in attendance!

Religious Studies scholar Elijah Siegler considers the place of religion and its felt absence in Cronenberg’s oeuvre prior to the screening of The Brood, and will be joined by the director himself for an onstage dialogue following the film. Sunday, December 1 at 1:30 p.m.


Noah Cowan on Crash

TIFF Bell Lightbox Artistic Director Noah Cowan considers the intertwining of evolution, desire and contemporary science fiction in his introduction to Cronenberg’s envisioning of the notorious J.G. Ballard novel. Saturday, December 7 at 1 p.m.


Panel Discussion: A Dangerous Method

Denise Cronenberg, Ron Sanders, Howard Shore and Peter Suschitzky join us for a panel discussion following the screening of A Dangerous Method.

Sunday, December 8 at 1 p.m.

Written by David Ly

David Ly

-Communications Coordinator-
Undergraduate student at Simon Fraser University, and self-certified member of Orphan Black’s Clone Club, aimlessly tweeting into the Twitterverse.

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