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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Written in the Flesh: A Crash Course in David Cronenberg

No filmmaker has more daringly and relentlessly explored what it means to be human than David Cronenberg.

Two weeks ago, critic Robert Horton and I discussed Cronenberg's work as part of Robert's Magic Lantern Series at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle. This short film, conceived as a self-contained critical essay/appreciation, has been expanded and refined from the seven-minute version I assembled the night before that occasion, tracing Cronenberg's thematic obsessions and the development of his artistic vision across 40 years of filmmaking. "From the Drain" to "Eastern Promises" (neither of which are included here), it's all one big Cronenberg movie, no matter what the genre: horror, science-fiction, fantasy, biography, crime thriller...

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Clips from nine chapters in the ever-mutating cinematic saga of David Cronenberg ("The Brood" to "A History of Violence") are interwoven to illuminate some of the director's major themes: technology (and art) as an extension/expression of the mind and body (guns, game pods, television, cars, computers, typewriters, eyeglasses...); the human appetite for extreme sensations; violence as sex, and sex as violence; the evolution of humankind beyond biology, and the inevitable dissolution of the flesh through mutation, disease, aging; corporate co-option of the intellectual property behind new technologies... all in only 12 minutes!

I warn you, it's going to be a wild ride...

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