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There’s a lot of weird fetishes in this world, which we won’t go into, but for David Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future, surgery is the new sex. The dystopian-future hipster pic starring Viggo Mortensen and Léa Seydoux as a performance art couple obsessed with being operated on, and the former getting his organs tattooed to club-crowd spectacle, scored a six-minute standing ovation after the credits rolled here at its Cannes Film Festival premiere. Kristen Stewart plays an investigator for the National Organ Registry. However, she’s so bedazzled by Viggo’s Saul Tenser and crushes on him, yearning to be the new muse in his life and taking over for Seydoux’s Caprice. See, it’s Caprice who gets to suck Saul’s open wounds, and she’s the chief architect of his innards (the loose argument is that all this anarchistic surgery enables him to survive). It’s a slow burn with guts, lots of guts, which kicks off with a little boy eating a plastic bathroom pail, followed by his mother suffocating him with a pillow. That dangler gets tied up later in the film.

American actor Viggo Mortensen, French actress Lea Seydoux, Canadian director David Cronenberg and American actress Kristen Stewart attend the photo call for Crimes Of The Future at Palais des Festivals at the 75th Cannes Film Festival, France on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. Photo by Rune Hellestad/ UPI




But in all sincerity, after a pandemic that shackled us to streaming, such images are just so much more fantastic on the big screen, being shared with an audience in a grand, humid auditorium.

“I’m speechless, really — this is the first time I’ve seen this movie on a screen this big,” Cronenberg said in a brief speech, “I’m very touched by your response. I hope you’re not kidding, I hope you mean it. I’ll be talking to all of you and texting all of you. Thank you so much. It’s wonderful for me to share the movie finally with human beings. It really helps.”

Stewart also reveled in the crowd’s delight as Seydoux blew kisses at the screen.

Like Croisette swirled gelato, Cronenberg is a fave here at Cannes, Crimes of the Future repping his sixth time at the festival; his previous movie being eight years ago, Maps to the Stars. Of all his pics that have played here, only the notorious Crash in 1996, about another subculture that gets hots from car crashes, walked away with a festival award, that being the Jury Special Prize. The critically panned movie starred James Spader and Holly Hunter. Also among Cronenberg accolades, Maps to the Stars scored a Best Actress prize for Julianne Moore.

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Editor in Chief of Ikon London Magazine, journalist, film producer and founder of The DAFTA Film Awards (The DAFTAs).