Lea Seydoux and Kristen Stewart arrive at Cannes 2022

“Surgery is the new sexuality” Timlin murmurs insinuatingly, Kristen Stewart, paving the way for thousands of metaphors of today and artificial beauty. “I’m no longer familiar with the old sex” replies Saul Tenser / Viggo Mortensen to his more classic approaches, like kissing. Welcome to the cold nightmare of David Cronenberg Crimes of future, a material perhaps less provocative than his usual (by now we have seen them all) but darker, viscous, in direct contact with the inner beauty of the body, which means, those bodies, cutting them, engraving them, tattooing their internal organs. We are in a decrepit future, in a miserable enclave that hides prototypes of a new humanity, contraptions and biotechnologies with humanoid shapes and mysterious sects. Saul is a body artist, a performer who draws creativity from his anomaly, the ability to develop new organs, tumescence and internal tumors which he reveals to the world with surgical cuts in public exhibitions, engraved by his Caprice partner, Lèa Seydoux, each growth tattooed in art, “in body”. There’s also the National Register of New Generation Organs, and, in faux noir, sensuality, as happened in Crashes, becomes a fact of sublimation through mutation, an extreme derivation of plastic surgery, “the body is real” says Saul, and therefore it counts, but that overturned ship at the beginning, a Costa Concordia left over from the past, tells us that there is no and return. Even the beautiful face of Seydoux, as well as its complete nude exhibited (something the actress never denies), is reworked and deformed as if it were any Orlan, while her friend voluptuously has her face carved and stripped stating: “Everyone is amazed that I don’t resort to surgery to become more beautiful!”. The film doesn’t make anyone run away from the theater as the director had instead predicted. Slow, and sometimes a little seen, it is a sort of hypnosis that is difficult to get rid of especially during the highly erotic performances with electronic scalpel and sweetness (!) by Saul and Caprice. At a certain point there is the key invention, those tablets of synthetic food that only those who have passed the ford are able to digest, because the future will live on that, recycled waste from the planet, like the child who eats never sated the plastic dustbin and who will end up starring in one of perhaps the most “dangerous” scenes in Cronenberg’s cinema. I won’t reveal more. Let’s just say that we never want to share Cronenberg’s sleepless nights, but that his cinema Metal Hurlant has never been wrong in telling us what fears we will have to face. What really impresses here is the trio of actors, all accomplices in a subtle erotic plot in via crucis and with no banal outlet, therefore with a high rate of sensuality. Viggo Mortensen, Lèa Seydoux and Kristen Stewart are and remain unsurpassed: the same unscrupulous courage in facing out-of-the-ordinary roles has been expressed in different generations. The riskiest ones. Very good.

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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