American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre Presents...
Making Movie History for 80 Years!

Click to Print Page 1 or Page 2 or Full Text of January Schedule!
Series compiled by:  Chris D.

 

Special Thanks to: Lyse Perron and René Malo/LAUREM PRODUCTIONS; Hank Truxillo/LION’S GATE; Chip Blake and Schawn Belston/ 20TH CENTURY FOX; Anne Goodman/CRITERION; John Vidette/SOMERVILLE HOUSE; Germaine Simiens/CONCORDE/NEW HORIZONS; David Boysen/ MORGAN CREEK; Paul Ginsburg/UNIVERSAL; Sylvia Frank/THE FILM REFERENCE LIBRARY TORONTO; David Cronenberg; Carolyn Rohaly; Jennifer Stott/FINE LINE; Roberta Harron, QUADRANT; James Quandt; Roz Wolfe/CANADIAN CONSULATE.

 

 

 

 

Tickets available 30 days in advance. Tickets are $9 general admission unless noted otherwise.
Sold out programs will be indicated here if sold out 24 hours in advance of screening date.
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The American Cinematheque is a non-profit 501 (C) (3) organization.
The Film Programs of the American Cinematheque are presented at the magnificently renovated, historic 1922 Grauman's Hollywood Egyptian Theatre. Located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard.
Photo Credit: Randall Michelson. Detail of Egyptian Theatre Ceiling.

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<<< January 29-February 4, 2004 >>>

Imagination As Disease: The Viral Cinema of David Cronenberg

 

Before he exploded onto the scene with his debut commericial feature film, SHIVERS (known in the USA as THEY CAME FROM WITHIN), there hadn’t really been anything else like David Cronenberg’s movies in the history of horror and sci-fi cinema. His style and ideas of organic "body horror" were enormously influential, from the "chest-burster" of Ridley Scott’s ALIEN to countless low budget American, Italian, and Japanese horror films that followed. Originally starting as a science major at the University of Toronto, Cronenberg realized he was spending all of his time in the arts section of campus and switched over to English. Intoxicated by the onslaught of New York underground films, Cronenberg founded the Toronto Film Co-Op with Ivan Reitman and others in the late sixties, but was perhaps even more influenced by his literary tastes which ran from Franz Kafka to Henry Miller to William Burroughs. It’s hard to imagine a filmmaker of Cronenberg’s intellectual weight and disturbing sensibilities being allowed comparable free rein by American producers. Indeed, it was a function of the dramatically small number of Canadian filmmakers in the seventies that Cronenberg was able to not only get partial financing from the rather conservative Canadian Film Board, but also find kindred spirits with such producers as Andre Link, Ivan Reitman, Victor Solnicki, Pierre David, Claude Heroux, and David Perlmutter. Without this fertile environment, Cronenberg’s brilliant hothouse imagination and obsessions, with uncontrollable mutation and physical corruption, might have seriously floundered. All of his first six features – SHIVERS, RABID, FAST COMPANY, THE BROOD, SCANNERS, and VIDEODROME – came out of this generally sympathetic climate. Since then, whether with box office hits like THE DEAD ZONE and THE FLY, or award-winning critics’ favorites like DEAD RINGERS, CRASH, and SPIDER, David Cronenberg remains a fearless pioneer of all things unspeakable, all things dark and unfathomable, exploring previously uncharted terrain where the human spirit intersects – sometimes benignly, sometimes malevolently – with its biological counterpart. "Sometimes I don’t even want to see his pictures…but I finally get there, and it’s a cathartic experience for me…Cronenberg is something… we have no control over, in the sense that we have no control over the imminent destruction of ourselves. That is what is so clear about his work. So frightening. So upsetting." – Martin Scorsese

We are very pleased to present this tribute to David Cronenberg at the Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre at The Egyptian honoring his films, including his rarely screened first two experimental features STEREO and CRIMES OF THE FUTURE, as well as the seldom-seen FAST COMPANY!!

 

Thursday, January 29 – 7:30 PM

New 35mm Print!! Double Feature:

SCANNERS, 1981, Laurem Productions, 102 min. One of director David Cronenberg’s most popular films, SCANNERS generated a franchise of sequels and, at the time of its release, pushed the envelope in special effects (who can ever erase the image of "the exploding head"?). Homeless Cameron Vale (Stephen Lack) discovers that his terrifying "scanner" abilities to read and manipulate others’ minds stems from a drug called Ephemerol that his mother took before he was born. Shanghaied by Dr. Paul Ruth (Patrick McGoohan), one of the drug’s inventors bent on creating a "good" scanner army, Cameron learns that a rival terrorist organization led by his evil scanner brother, Darryl Revok (Michael Ironside), is aiming at world domination. "Classic Cronenberg" – Jeffrey M. Anderson, San Francisco Examiner Discussion w/ SHIVERS actors Alan Migicovsky-Kolman and Lynn Lowry in between films.

SHIVERS (aka THEY CAME FROM WITHIN), 1975, Lions Gate, 87 min. The film that jump-started Cronenberg's career and one of the most assured, thrilling genre movies ever made. Director David Cronenberg introduces us to a world where aphrodisiac parasites genetically created by renegade science threaten to destroy civilized society as we know it. A doctor (Paul Hampton) and nurse (Lynn Lowry) at an island-bound high rise apartment complex discover tenants are being infected with a sexually transmitted organism that inspires insatiable desire in its hosts. With Barbara Steele. Actor Allan Kolman-Migicovsky and actress Lynn Lowry will appear for discussion following the film.

 

Friday, January 30 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature

THE FLY, 1986, 20th Century Fox, 100 min. This new version of the 1958 sci-fi hit isn’t just a remake, but a complete re-imagining, with director David Cronenberg mixing in his own sensibilities about organic life and its startling mutability. Teletransporter inventor Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) inadvertently mixes his genes with a house fly when he decides to use himself as guinea pig. His future as a human being, including his romance with science writer Veronica (Geena Davis), changes forever as he begins a slow slide into a gooey half-man/half-insect, complete with superpowers and delusions of messianic grandeur. Chris Walas and Stephen Dupuis won Oscars in 1987 for Best Make-Up.

NAKED LUNCH, 1991, 20th Century Fox, 115 min. Once more, director David Cronenberg films the un-filmable with this adaptation from one of his key literary influences, William Burroughs. Peter Weller is Bill Lee, a frustrated writer and bug exterminator who is introduced to the narcotic effects of bug poison by his wife (Judy Davis), in the 1950s. After accidentally shooting her and pursued by the drug squad, Lee finds himself traversing the strange Middle Eastern city Interzone, where all manner of half-human and polysexual creatures dwell. With Roy Scheider, Julian Sands, and Ian Holm. "…perhaps one of the most penetrating examinations of a writer's processes ever made. Certainly it's one of the strangest and most disturbing." – Hal Hinson, Washington Post

 

Saturday, January 31 – 5:00 PM

Ultra-Rare Screening!! Double Feature:

The first two experimental features by director David Cronenberg have achieved near-legendary status as they are so infrequently screened. Both have been described as avant-garde films, with initial takes on biological themes of sex, identity, and psychoses that would emerge again and again in his later work.

CRIMES OF THE FUTURE, 1970, Cronenberg, 70 min. The female sex has disappeared from a mass poisoning by tainted cosmetics and "men have to absorb the femaleness that is gone from the planet." – David Cronenberg

STEREO, 1969, Cronenberg, 65 min. Director David Cronenberg’s debut feature is a disorienting faux documentary chronicling experiments at the Canadian Academy of Erotic Inquiry to test the hypotheses of unconventional researcher Dr. Luther Stringfellow. Discussion w/ David Cronenberg after the double feature.

 

Saturday, January 31 – 8:30 PM

Double Feature:

RABID, 1977, Somerville House, 90 min. Rose (Marilyn Chambers) undergoes experimental surgery after a motorcycle accident, something that has nightmarish results when she not only grows a new organ for sucking blood, but also contracts a virulent strain of rabies. Escaping from the clinic, and immune herself, Rose unknowingly spreads the contagion, leaving chaos in her wake as her boyfriend races against time to find her. One of director David Cronenberg’s most rip-roaring, rewarding chillers.

New 35mm Print!! THE BROOD, 1979, Laurem Productions, 90 min. Partially based on director David Cronenberg’s feelings at the end of his first marriage, THE BROOD is, according to the director, "…my version of KRAMER VS. KRAMER," a film that "…had a kind of happy ending. Not my version of that situation." While experimenting with a way for his patients to manifest their inner rages as actual physical growths, Dr. Hal Raglan (Oliver Reed) encounters Nola (Samantha Eggar), a mother distraught at having her child taken away. She soon becomes pregnant again – but this time, something horrible and homocidal grows inside her womb. Director David Cronenberg will intro the screening.

 

Sunday, February 1 – 5:00 PM

Double Feature

DEAD RINGERS, 1988, Morgan Creek, 115 min. Jeremy Irons turns in a stupendous pair of performances as twin gynecologists sinking in a swirling miasma of fraternal sexual jealousy, prescription drugs, and junk food in one of director David Cronenberg’s most twisted and sharply executed psychological thrillers. Astoundingly enough, this daring picture is based on a true story. Winner of LAFCA Awards for Best Director and Actress (Genevieve Bujold).

VIDEODROME, 1983, Universal, 87 min. One of director David Cronenberg’s most disturbing, subversive thrillers. While searching for programs to boost ratings on his small cable station, jaded Max Renn (James Woods) becomes hooked on an underground TV show, called Videodrome, that may be a genuine snuff video. But tracking down its source proves dangerous as very lifelike hallucinations kick in – skewing Max’s very concept of reality, and new girlfriend and talk-show host, Nikki Brand (Deborah Harry), goes missing. "Long live the new flesh!"
Discussion w/ director David Cronenberg after the double feature.

 

Wednesday, February 4 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature

CRASH, 1996, Fine Line, 100 min. Controversy positively mushroomed in the wake of director David Cronenberg’s savagely candid NC-17 adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s infamous 1973 novel. After suffering a catastrophic accident, James Ballard (James Spader) suddenly finds himself sexually aroused by car crashes, something that introduces him to a group of like-minded accident victims that includes Holly Hunter and Rosanna Arquette. But Vaughan (Elias Koteas), their defacto leader and the most-addicted to the phenomena of flesh merging with metal, pushes the envelope way beyond near death experiences. With Deborah Kara Unger.

FAST COMPANY, 1979, Quadrant, 91 min. One of director David Cronenberg's most rarely screened features, this fast-moving actioner reflects one of his personal passions: drag racing. Popular champion driver Lonnie (William Smith) discovers he’s being undermined by profit-oriented race promoter, Phil (John Saxon). On a tragic side note, this was B-movie queen Claudia Jennings’ final film – she was killed in a head-on collision on Pacific Coast Highway later that same year.