Cinema lovers: you owe it to yourselves to become acquainted with the oeuvre of David Cronenberg. There’s no better time, either, because TIFF is currently showcasing the work of the groundbreaking Canadian director. TIFF’s first original exhibition, “David Cronenberg: Evolution”, was on display at the TIFF Bell Lightbox until January 19. Now, you can go into the world of Cronenberg in depth from the comfort of your home with “David Cronenberg: Virtual Exhibition”.
David Cronenberg is one of Canada’s most important filmmakers. The majority of his major movies have been filmed in Canada and one film, The Brood, even has scenes shot in Mississauga. Cronenberg is a local—he graduated from the University of Toronto in the ’60s. He originally pursued a bachelor’s of science until he became disenchanted and switched to English. He developed an interest in film during his undergraduate years. Cronenberg’s dual fascination with science and literature has played prominent roles in his career. Many of his films deal with biological changes and the resulting psychological changes.
Cronenberg released his first short film in 1969. Since then, he’s never taken an extended break, managing to release at least one important film every few years. The highlights of Cronenberg’s filmography include Videodrome, The Fly, Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch, Crash (not the Crash you’re thinking of), and A History of Violence. Even Cronenberg’s lesser-known work stands up incredibly well due to a unique vision and uncompromising storytelling.
TIFF’s David Cronenberg exhibition is an opportunity to get behind the scenes of an incredible number of films. Every film he directed is profiled. The exhibition includes original scripts with revealing handwritten changes and blueprints for designing his complex original worlds. Cronenberg’s classic adaptation of William Burroughs’ “unfilmable” novel, Naked Lunch, gets a deluxe treatment, allowing visitors to enter the Interzone. The making of Naked Lunch is explored in depth, and visitors can take a picture with a Mugwump.
Everything from the physical exhibition at TIFF will be displayed online, but the virtual exhibition will offer even more insight into Cronenberg’s work. The virtual exhibition includes interviews with Cronenberg and his collaborators, many of whom are top-notch Hollywood talent. You can explore an interactive map and timeline, from which you can gain a greater understanding of how Toronto shaped his career. Scholarly essays will also be featured for serious study of Cronenberg’s creations. The Cronenberg exhibition demonstrates how a filmmaker can progress through a career where each standalone film adds to a greater trend.
David Cronenberg is the rare filmmaker who hasn’t compromised his vision or creativity throughout his six-decade career. He has reached the highest echelons of the film world (Oscars be damned). The great thing is that he was once a young U of T student like you. Now, he is a major cultural figure in Toronto. Find his films however you can. After you’ve watched a few and managed to adjust to his world, you’ll understand why you need to visit the Cronenberg virtual exhibition.