David Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future seems to be the most polarizing movie at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. According to Variety, dozens of audience members walked out of the Cannes screening midway through the film. On the flip side, at the same screening, some audience members gave the film a 7-minute standing ovation.
However, during separate press screenings for Crimes of the Future that Cronenberg was not in attendance, there were no standing ovations. In these screenings, critics largely stayed for the entirety of the film, with only a handful of people leaving the theater, but only being rewarded with a slight smattering of applause.
This is definitely going to be the most controversial film from the Cannes Film Festival this year!
Cronenberg did mention to Deadline not that long ago that he fully expects people to walk out during the screening at Cannes. Well, he was right!
“There are some very strong scenes,” said Cronenberg. “I mean, I’m sure that we will have walkouts within the first five minutes of the movie. I’m sure of that. Some people who have seen the film have said that they think the last 20 minutes will be very hard on people and that there’ll be a lot of walkouts. Some guy said that he almost had a panic attack. And I say, ‘Well, that would be OK.’ But I’m not convinced that that will be a general reaction.”
“I do expect walkouts in Cannes, and that’s a very special thing,” he continued. People always walk out, and the seats notoriously clack as you get up, because the seats fold back and hit the back of the seat. So, you hear clack, clack, clack. Whether they’ll be outraged the way they were with Crash, I somehow don’t think so. They might be revulsed to the point that they want to leave, but that’s not the same as being outraged.”
Some of the strong scenes that seemed to garner the most reactions were a gory child autopsy scene, shots of bloody intestines, and characters who orgasm by licking each other’s open wounds.
Crimes of the Future stars Viggo Mortensen (“A History of Violence,” “Eastern Promises”) with festival favorite Kristen Stewart and Lea Seydoux. Crimes of the Future also finds Cronenberg back in his science-fiction/horror mode for the first time since 1999’s “Existenz.”
Mortensen plays a performance artist who has his organs operated on in some pseudo-sexual ritual in this dystopian universe. Stewart plays an employee at the transplant center, who in one scene purrs to him: “Surgery is the new sex.”
The official “Crimes of the Future” synopsis from Neon reads:
“As the human species adapts to a synthetic environment, the body undergoes new transformations and mutations. With his partner Caprice (LÃ©a Seydoux), Saul Tenser (Viggo Mortensen), a celebrity performance artist, publicly showcases the metamorphosis of his organs in avant-garde performances. Timlin (Kristen Stewart), an investigator from the National Organ Registry, obsessively tracks their movements, which is when a mysterious group is revealed… Their mission – to use Saul’s notoriety to shed light on the next phase of human evolution.”