David Cronenberg | Canada |1996

1996 Cannes, Tokyo, Busan, Mar del Plata
1997 Wellington
2008 Belgrade
2015 Reyjkavik
2020 Athens

For this icily erotic fusion of flesh and machine, David Cronenberg adapted J. G. Ballard’s future-shock novel of the 1970s into one of the most singular and provocative films of the 1990s. A traffic collision involving a disaffected commercial producer, James (James Spader), and an enigmatic doctor, Helen (Holly Hunter), brings them, along with James’s wife, Catherine (Deborah Kara Unger, in a sublimely detached performance), together in a crucible of blood and broken glass – and it’s not long before they are all initiated into a kinky, death-obsessed underworld of sadomasochistic car-crash fetishists for whom twisted metal and scar tissue are the ultimate turn-ons. Controversial from the moment it premiered at Cannes – where it won a Special Jury Prize ‘for originality, for daring, and for audacity’ – Crash has since taken its place as a key text of late-twentieth-century cinema, a disturbingly seductive treatise on the relationships between humanity and technology, sex and violence, that is as unsettling as it is mesmerizing.
– Criterion.

On Monday 3 June 1996, any Londoner who picked up a copy of the Evening Standard newspaper on their way home from the office would have paused when they reached the headline: “A movie beyond the bounds of depravity”.

These words accompanied a fiery full-page diatribe penned by the Standard‘s film critic, Alexander Walker, deploring David Cronenberg’s latest film Crash – an adaptation of the JG Ballard novel about a group of people who derive sexual pleasure from car crashes – in the strongest possible terms. An august commentator who had held his post at the Standard for 36 years, Walker was no prude: he had been an outspoken critic of censorship and a staunch defender of Stanley Kubrick’s controversial 1971 film A Clockwork Orange, among other things.

So how could such a seasoned and liberal critic find a film so objectionable – so unopen to interpretation – that he argued it shouldn’t be seen? Was this simply a case of a critic turning reactionary with age? Or was there something profoundly disturbing – and potentially harmful – about David Cronenberg’s Crash
Read more..– Arjun Sajip, BBC, 8 October 2021.

This is a new 4K digital restoration supervised by cinematographer Peter Suschitzky, and 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, both approved by director David Cronenberg”. The improvement is in every area, from the correct 1.66:1 aspect ratio to the authentic flesh tones, grain, detail and especially contrast. On the sound-track, there are many effects – mostly cars – metals bending, glass shattering, engines revving and the powerful effect of the deep impact of the audio is highly notable in the carwash scene that integrates with the score by Howard Shore.
– based on Gary Tooze,, 2020.

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