And the grey road unfurls. There's some crash footage but no crashes. He made a number of documentaries for the BBe. Then he went to the States. He made a thriller with Burt Reynolds and one or two other films. I don't know what he's doing now. He saw the exiled American the day before I interviewed him. They passed each other, without pausing to initiate a conversation, on the corner of Frith Street and Soho Square. Petit spoke of this non-meeting in terms of body language: how we manage a repertoire of shrugs, nods and halfwaves, to signal the fact that the moment has passed for conversation.
Old acquaintances are now, definitively, in different scripts. Petit's London novel, Robinson, opens with a Ballard quote: 'Deep assignments run through all our lives; there are no coincidences. Start your investigation anywhere; novel in one hand, phone in the other, and within three calls you'll meet the person who has been there, done it all, before you turned the first page. As soon as I began my interview with Petit the connection with Cokliss came out. He was always on the verge of making it as a director of exploitation films, and subsequently had a very erratic career.
He's American, but he's lived in Queen's Park for twenty years. I bought it back off him when he failed to do anything with it. That was in He had connections with Corman. And he'd done this m called Battletruck. I don't know where his Crash thing comes from. It was very early in his career. I came across it in the BBC library and looked at it, not realising that it was by Harley. And I thought this a rather bizarre piece. I don't know where it came from or who set it up.
I was amazed that Harley had read Crash, because he's not a big reader. Although he never particularly had a career, he was a major hustler. He always had things on the go and always had stuff that was supposedly in development. I think the last m he directed was Dream Demon. He'd given up on films and drifted into television.
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Ballard was the crucial influence. His film can be seen as a more sophisticated reading of the earlier Cokliss attempt. The same driving around the perimeter, sky-reflecting modernist hulks, dummy accidents; Cokliss revamped by Chris Marker. Petit's own voice, echoing Ballard. The quintessentially English pitch of the ministry man breaking bad news from Belfast.
But how far back did Petit's interest in Ballard go? I'd read Concrete Island in the 70s. And High-Rise. But I'd not read Crash. I read it not long before I started my novel, Robinson. I got a rather cryptic message from Ballard saying: "Beg, steal or borrow some money and make Crash into a movie.
I think it must have been after that.
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It struck me when I read Crash that the only way you could do it was as an 8mm film. You could have lots of different forms and textures. Once you translate it into the conventional production schedule, it becomes unworkable. They said: "Oh, we want something. I said, "What I really want to do is some stuff with the car and the camera and the Westway, and to go and look at Ballard's locations. So I said, ''I'll talk to Bruce Robinson. We had to talk to Cronenberg. The amiable saunter of Frances Waring, bored wife of my partner, through the tumstiles of the local supermarket, the domestic wrangles of our well-todo neighbours in our apartment house, all the hopes and fancies of this placid suburban enclave, drenched in a thousand infidelities, faltered before the solid reality of the motorway embankments, with their constant and unswerving geometry, and before the finite areas of the car-park aprons.
It was just that one very good sentence. I thought: "this encapsulates all my interests. I think you could do it with a Sharp. A mixture of Hi-8 and 8mm. As a novel. Self's South Bank Show presented itself, quite nakedly, as a Ballardian road movie. But Petit has the surest grasp on the poisonous otherness of the suburbs.
Robinson is a direct descendant of Crash, an intelligent critique of Ballard's fiction; at times it is virtually a pastiche. The Welles who claimed, retrospectively, that he had revised Graham Greene's dialogue. But Ballard could also sound like Petit: 'Enlarged by the lens, the movements of their bodies resemble the matings of clouds When they come, our orgasms seem to take place in the air above the bed. They pleasure us with the design of some small sentence, long before they are aware of our existence. Robinson, with its night drives, its willed derangement, its characters who constantly slip across the border from fiction to documentary, is the metropolitan version of Crash; Crash turned inside out, so that the trajectory arches from city heat towards the suburbs as a no longer viable reservation , Ballard remains out on the fringe, on the balcony overlooking the expressway, watching the westward drift of traffic.
Mirrors, wheels, the road. Kathy Acker, writing on Cronenberg's Crash, could just as well have been summarising every film that Petit has made. But looking hack it Sl'l'ms c1l'ar that it is a kind of translation of Crash. That was my idea. What do you think of the CronenbergtJeremy Thomas assault on the cult classics? Or - if you are going to film them, you have to do it in a radical way. All that early Cronenberg stuff, I had no problem with.
Not bad, but silly in the end. Then suddenly, through being picked up by Jeremy Thomas, Cronenberg. And when I saw the film I thought, "Well, the only person who could possibly have pulled it off, in that art movie format, was Godard. And when you meet the man, Ballard, he's totally not what you expect from having read the book. I thought his genius was the application of Max Ernst to suburbia. Godard mixing video and film. The pornographic conversation pieces from Week-end, newsreel footage from the Paris underpass, the crumpled Mercedes, the collapse of Detroit's one-crop economy, statistics, signs, numbers, a proper score: a savage deconstruction in which Ballard's novel would vanish like a footprint in the snow.
There's an element of shared background - colonial childhood, public school, suburbs - but it goes deeper than that. The fascination with a frozen aesthetic of motorways, business parks, airport hotels: franchised Surrealism. A present tense world of swift, spare sentences; a controlled surface disguising a sense of loss, a damaged past that can only be annealed through the rearrangement of images. Ballard's favourite moment from Cronenberg's film of Crash was the scene in the car wash. Petit ran his car wash sequence in Radio On, about fifteen years earlier, and repeated it, with all the swoooooshing rhapsodised by Ballard, in The Falconer.
Radio On is what happens. In a television film, Suburbs in the Sky, Petit paid tribute to one of the regular categories of enticement in Ballard's fiction: the air hostess. The Evening Standard, publishing a glamour portfolio of stewardesses in uniform, gave pride of place to a Lufthansa advertisement from the 60s that paraphrased the opening sequence of Cronenberg's Crash: a young woman with shoulder-length hair, wearing high heels and mini-skirt, 'nudged' from behind by the priapic nose of an airliner.
Petit and Ballard employ a fetishisation of occupation and uniform, the clothes that define the role, the sexual archetypes. Dr Remington's dressing gown in the hospital corridor, Seagrave's shirt. Red announces future arousal, the wound patterns of an expressway fatality. Red rushes the eye while the blue road, seen from the balcony, effaces itself in a heat haze, dissolves into the sky; sun shocks flashing from anonymous windshields.
In Crash Ballard runs a sub-plot featuring a compliant secretary called Renata who is rapidly coded by what she wears, 'a red plastic raincoat'. The implication is: secretary as whore. The shine from her vinyl coat doubles with the headlights reflected from the car's wings and bumpers. Cronenberg includes Renata and her raincoat in the published version of his Crash script. Her appearance, starkly reversing the usual The red and lhe while CRASH expectation for a mourning outfit, provokes a telling exchange with Ballard, when he drives her to the hospital.
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So Cronenberg, using dialogue taken directly from Ballard's novel, stagemanages a critique of that novel's procedures. But Dr Remington is declaring, emphatically, that she is well aware of this. She knows the rules and dresses to please herself, not the fantasies of James Ballard - either as actor or author. The 'bloody' kimono signifies her annoyance at Spader's intrusive allusion and also previews a suicide robe.
The character kicks free from the bondage of the text. By wearing what she likes she becomes what she likes; she can change her role or abandon it entirely. Video tape, unlike film, responds hungrily to scarlet PVc. It flares out: just the sort of momentary, uncontrolled distortion that Petit espouses. In his role as the unacknowledged articulator of the Ballardian poetic, he has twice exploited, almost like secret quotations from an unpublished script, the effect that Ballard described in Crash, and that Cronenberg left out of his film.
In the films, Thriller and The Falconer, Petit photographing the second scene himself has a young woman in scarlet PVC cross a road, walk through a park: the hot colour, on both occasions, throwing the tape's supposed neutrality into turmoil. Red is like a future headline, a warning, breaking through the surface of mild English rationalism. The demons of pulp fiction at the gates of proper literature. This was where a conceptualist response to Crash would be attempted A collaboration between drifting long shots on the monitor in the security guard's cubby hole and awkward close-ups, amateur gynaecologicals, accessed by a rented camcorder.
Small-time provincial pornographers reprising Crash as an '8-minute' example of guerrilla performance art. But this was taking literalism too far, the moment had passed when Crash could be shot at the 'correct' locations. So it's hard to say whether the crew who arrived at the Terminal 4 car-park in November were inspired by the republication of Ballard's novel, by a pirate video of Cronenberg's film, or by, as Ballard believes, something 'in the air'.
The provocation of architectural abstractions, canted ranks of parked cars, and the roar of aircraft offering fantasies of escape. Heathrow is Ballard's 'no zone', a sexual hiatus; a concrete reef, outside time, where all the usual duties and responsibilities are suspended. Ballard had read the reports in the newspapers.
This is how Luke Harding covered it for the Guardian 11 December Vincent Curran Kingsheath, Northampton. Georgette Neale. When the erotic history of the 20th century is written, the names of Georgette Neale and Vincent Curran will surely deserve a mention. On a chilly Thursday aftemoon in November , the couple arrived at the short stay car park of Heathrow's Terminal 4 for arguably the most audacious pom shoot of modern times. In front of a group of builders, Neale stripped off and spreadeagled herself over the bonnet of their silver Vauxhall car. Mr Curran, dressed in jeans and a white T-shirt, then engaged in what the prosecution yesterday described as 'lewd and disgusting acts.
The alleged shoot.
Ballard was unsurprised by this singular tribute. I know, I know, I know. That was a very, very mysterious and quite significant event. It would be interesting to use that footage. We witnesses can't escape ourselves. The evidence is always out there. Rather than fearing alienation, people should embrace it. It may be the doorway to something more interesting. That's always been the message of my fiction. We need to explore total alienation and find what lies beyond. The secret module that underpins who we are and our imaginative remaking of ourselves that we all embrace.
This may be true of the world we're going to be living in for the next millennium. Ballard Crash the novel, by means of a first person narrative, as delivered by James Ballard, a materialist and man of the suburbs, a producer of advertising films, describes the spiral pursuit of Vaughan, a psychopathic visionary who lives in his car, while he plots the ultimate spectacle: when he will crash into Elizabeth Taylor's limousine, destroying them both in a fireball apotheosis. The set is more important than those who occupy it. Ballard's ideal position, the one he achieves through a car crash relatively minor for himself, fatal for the other driver , is the easy chair on the balcony the 'veranda' as he calls it, remembering a colonial childhood.
He remembers the story of Vaughan's death. The crash had been a moment 'like a haemorrhage of the sun'. Ballard's palette is lurid and excited. The prose is urgent, swarming with a maggoty life that runs counter to the cryogenic elegance of Cronenberg's translation. Rhythms strain towards climax as they repeat the 'I think' riff, mimicking Allen Ginsberg's use of 'who' in How!.
I think of the crashes of psychopaths, implausible accidents contrived in stolen cars on evening freeways among tired office-workers. I think of the absurd crashes of neurasthenic housewives returning from their VD clinics, hitting parked cars in suburban high streets. I think of the crashes of excited schizophrenics colliding head-on into stalled laundry vans in one-way streets; of manic-depressives crushed while making pointless U-turns on motorway access roads; of luckless paranoids driving at full speed into the brick walls at the ends of known culs-de-sac; of sadistic charge nurses decapitated in inverted crashes on complex interchanges; of lesbian supermarket manageresses burning to death in the collapsed frames of their midget cars before the stoical eyes of middle-aged firemen; of autistic children crushed in rear-end collisions, their eyes less wounded in death; of buses filled with mental defectives drowning together stoically in roadside industrial canals.
Read them in parallel. Ballard's 'implausible accidents contrived in stolen cars on evening freeways' or Ginsberg hymning those 'who barreled down highways of the past journeying to each other's hotrod Golgotha'. Image begets image, instantaneously, without moral intervention, spurning the conventions of the novel of society.
The sexual couplings come i tria ay or episo e, the ey to Ballard's scheme, is dropped. So that the film is left with a lacuna at its centre. This could be seen as working in Cronenberg's favour: Crash, in his reading, has no beginning, no end. In sets that are epitaphs to a novel written a quarter of a century before in another world. Cronenberg's Crash is a low-key fashion shoot, using faces that are almost familiar in groupings that have been drained of all energy. Its achievement is the relinquishing of the director's supposed moral authority, in favour of a treatise on Zen and the art of motorway maintenance.
At the stage of the shooting script, as it appears in published form, the sub-plots involving Ballard's relationship with Renata, and Catherine Ballard's sapphic flirtation with Karen, are still present. And there follows a Playboy scene without dialogue , as Karen and Catherine try out underwear together, and Ballard watches. Then Cronenberg again faithful to the novel has Ballard and Renata 'her legs stowed out of sight beneath her red plastic raincoat' park on the concrete verge close to the site of the convalescent's recent crash.
But these episodes, present in the novel, are rightly junked from the finished film. Their only importance was their position in a chain of erotic encounters. Cronenberg's Crash, while remaining absolutely faithful to Ballard's text, makes it clear from the start that it will not be trapped within the tramlines of a first person narrative. This privileged space is overlit, buffed surfaces reflecting hot lamps, dazzling towards burn-out.
The phallic shapes of the cigarnosed machines with their bulbous floats, their stabilisers, are emphasised in a predatory glide towards Deborah Unger. The trajectory of the camera, unrepresentative of the consciousness of any of the characters, already hints at a diversion from the novel. Whose point of view does this tracking shot, the first of the film, represent?
OnlyUnger rand her flying instructor lover are present. The shot, stately and voyeuristic in intent, announces the presence of the crew, and emphasises -"the fact that this encounter, the sexual performance, is being staged for the benefit of an audience. Austere, airbrushed pornography: the sequence could well have been shot as one of James Ballard's advertising films, a lifestyle promo.
The immaculate skins of the riveted, silver wings liaise with Unger's shaved armpits, smooth legs, sharp bones and blank pre-coital mask. Her behaviour is adolescent or infantile. She caresses her own image as it is reflected in the brilliantly polished metal just as Vaughan strokes the Porsche that will be used to restage James Dean's fatal collision. The artist Richard Hamilton, writing of the series of studies and drawings that culminated in his painting Homage aChrysler Corp, noticed a woman 'engaged in a display of affection for the vehicle'.
The showroom 'model' has a double identity, as pin-up and as car. She fakes arousal, languorously dragging a bare arm across an immaculate bonnet - while ogling her curved reflection in the windshield. Unger is still locked at that stage of sexual development where nothing is as fascinating as her own face and figure, her hair, her clothes, her smell. It comes as no surprise that J. Ballard, in an Apple Computer Inc. Perhaps he should be seen primarily as a novelist, with a great imaginative writer's ability to explore the human heart through the unfolding drama of a strong confrontational narrative.
The sex act is fetishised, presented as a brochure of potentially arousing commodities: heels, legs, underwear, raised skirt. The lover is also from stock, an accessory with designer stubble and fiercely-laundered blue overalls. He is an extension of the machines he services. He comes with the set. Or, rather, he doesn't. He rubs, he licks. But there is no climax. This is only a part of something.
Like much of the coupling in Crash, the preferred entry is from the rear. Dry, narcissistic, avoiding spill and flow and dribble. Couples do not face each other. This is very important to Cronenberg. The film's forward impetus is delivered through a precise artIculatran of heads within the rectangle. Participants are reluctant to look at each other. They stare out of the frame. They talk without eye contact.
They discuss destinations, list previous sexual partners, use the past to bring the present moment to life. When these stiff conjunctions are matched with Howard Shore's spare and repetitive score, the effect is cod-Japanese. A colonised virtual reality existence resembling the cyberworld of another Canadian, William Gibson. Gibson, out on the Pacific rim in Vancouver he lived for a time in Toronto , is well placed to experience the Japanese software invasion, the pull of Californian weirdness to the south, and the dry-lightning of Tokyo bars, guest hotels, geishas and cannibalised occidental television: stars prepared to sell out as long as it is far enough from home.
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The couplings are orchestrated as much for the camera as for the performers. Fragmentary incidents presented like an album of soft porn stills contribute to an understanding of the permissive and complacent relationship between Catherine and J ames Ballard. Each episode is enacted by one partner and directed by the other. Catherine's rear entry sex with her flying instructor is an uninspired reverie by James Ballard. Unger is a luxurious mannequin, a Dali doll.
She is aroused by the proximity of the aircraft and allows herself to be serviced by a character who would be more at home in a muscle-beach pillow book. This short onanistic promo is an ad-man's pastiche of Antonioni's Red Desert or The Eclipse: neurasthenic camerawork, private planes, good clothes, sexual lethargy. Antonioni's fluid shooting style, at odds with the ennui of his performers, leaves Monica Vitti, as David Thomson notices, as an 'increasingly static and abstract' presence. Unger does not move.
She stands, skirt raised, while the camera advances on its smooth track. The airport, with its culture of transition and anonymity, its satellite towers with ramps of parked cars, has always been a sexualised zone for Ballard. In Crash the novel , his namesake 'gazed through the perimeter fence at the deserted standby runways of the airport' in a condition of agitated arousal.
The geography of London's western fringes is eroticised in the red fug of a diesel twilight. Heavy rubber wheels leaving black marks on concrete. Multinational hotels. You can land at any airport these days and for the first twenty minutes, as you take your cab, you go through a landscape that is identical. You could be on the outskirts of Paris, damn nearly Nairobi. Two-storey factories, flat housing, warehouses.
Torn skies are seen through 'the leopard-skin glove of the miniature steering wheel'. This snatched vision is mysteriously aphrodisiac. The James Ballard character is turned on by fugitive encounters of architecture and climate, not by his adulterous partner.
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Airports are defined as the preferred setting for a narrative of arousal. Cronenberg's choice of set for the opening sequence is perceptive: disengaged film-maker James Ballard's projection of his wife's adultery with a flying instructor. The flying instructor is a key Ballardian icon in the psychosexual theatre of his fiction, in which all the texts short stories, novels, reviews, essays are part of one project; a project that involves repetition, characters with the same names reappearing and vanishing, giving up their identities.
The cast usually includes: a burntout doctor, a rogue scientist with fabulous sexual charisma , a displaced writer seen as advertising man, technical editor, travel journalist , a nurse, a psychiatrist, an air hostess, and a man in a flying jacket combat vet. There is also an underclass of airport prostitutes, home pornography makers, art and drug dealers and poets who don't write. She peeled away her silk scarf as if they were about to make love under its wing Within minutes Sally was wearing a Bomber Command jacket, and an antique helmet and goggles, a fetishist's dream of a white-haired woman in flying leather.
As she stood on tip-toe and kissed David, her crutch ruled the airfield. Twenty years earlier, in The Atrocity Exhibition, the same formula was invoked: 'Almost without thinking she had picked him up in the basement cinema after the secret Apollo film, impelled by his exhausted eyes and the torn flying jacket with its Vietnam flashes. Ballard synopsis. It's interesting that Cronen berg revises the published script which has the line, 'James, are you in there? Could we please get your stamp of approval on our little tracking shot? Meanwhile Ballard, in the camera department, is mounting his youthful employee from the rear, She is found, as the script suggests, 'stomach down, head resting on a black, crackle-finish camera magazine, her legs Newtonian gravilas reverie and exposure CRASH I 51 spread'.
Almost as if she had just surfaced from the pages of such a publication, part willing accessory, part lifestyle trophy. Has anybody seen James Ballard? You know who I mean? The producer of this epic. This is the 'real time' starting point. The previous mirrored episodes Unger with her lover, Spader with his sex toy are enacted fantasies, with Unger pastiching Antonioni and Spader in a studio dedicated to making just such a m.
Now the couple are together. Light like the interior skyscape of a patient awaiting brain surgery. Fat clouds circumnavigate the oily surfaces of metal bearings. Dead light is the substance through which the estranged lovers consummate their differences. The relationship is compljcjt aAQ tited.
James and Catherine, , a couple who cannot face each other, respect the distance J. The set is perfect: a comfortable but anonymous flat no furniture made before , the door open to the air, the sound of traffic going nowhere. Rear Wiwjpw with a deckchair, a glass of warm whisky on the hour. Balcony as veranda: Camus' colon in a temperate city.
Motorway as beach. A promotional spread by Salvador Dali. Spader as a spy trying to infiltrate a Delvaux hoarding. Catherine Ballard stares out at the traffic, a sex-zombie porn star waiting for direction. Her skirt is raised to exposeller naked buttocks. This image, frozen into a still, struck me as paraphrasing Helmut Newton. It's an effect he's fond of: the potentially obedient or sadistic model, tall, faceless, flaunting the second face of her bared bottom as she leans over a balcony rail, or gazes indifferently out of the window of an expensive apartment or hotel room.
Remember Newton's composition: In M Apartment. Paris Winnie at the Negresco, Nice Newton's titles read like estate agents' brochures, gold-card expense account print-outs. Winnie, sprawled over the balcony, stilt heels and fur coat, head lit by the flaring aureole of street lamps and passing cars, is clearly a source for Cronenberg's composition with Deborah Unger as Catherine Ballard.
Or so I thought. Ballard disagreed when I put it to him. He denied that Cronenberg had any particular interest in Newton, although he was himself a longterm fan. It is the 'elegance' that Newton, and Cronenberg in Crash , aspire to that is the inspiration for an aesthetic to which Ballard has always responded. A cold surface, glassy and well-mannered, disguising mania. Hot news transmuted into autistic, fast-twitch prose. A very formal film. I think the surrealists discovered that if you're going to present extraordinary subject matter, put your characters into dinner jackets.
Bunuel did this in L'Age d'or and all his later ms. He had immense formality, high bourgeois houses and embassies where the most incredibly perverse things are going on. You can get away with it. The painters did the same. In Deivaux's paintings you have strange dreamlike scenes where statuesque nudes wander about against a background of immense formality, classical architecture.
Cronenberg's Crash embodies that. It's the same formal elegance that you find in Helmut Newton - who I admire enormously. He's a Bunuel without the humour, the canny exploitation of his own perversity; a German Bunuel. He articulates sets, inviting a new job description: setundresser. I asked Ballard if Newton's compositions always implied an undisclosed narrative. They're like clips from an erotic film. I said that to him. I met Newton once. I was very happy to do so. A couple of years ago. I told him what a genius he was.
There is the same elegant formality. Photographs storyboard lurid scenarios: TV murders, coke-snorting models wrestling in the 'powder room at Regine's', violence as a prelude to sex. But it's not the models or Newton himself, seen in a 'hotel de passe', spreadeagled beneath a nude that intrigue Ballard, it's the architecture, the tall, silent rooms. His version of Crash is, at one level, flickbook Newton. An essay on Ballard's reverence for Newton's pictorial 'genius'.
Sets infected by covert narratives: the deserted trauma ward, the winestain blankets. Algaetoned airport runways. Spader's blue pyjamas against Holly Hunter's red dressing gown. Active colours, close in, worrying at a refrigerated blue background. The actors, dressed by Denise Cronenberg, have rummaged through Newton's cast-offs. Catalogue underwear worn for display. Or the absence of underwear and pubic clumps shaved into an outlandish geometry. Soft leather coats as in Newton's Veruschka in Nice, or white raincoats that double for hospital gowns.
High heels. A fetishisation of surface seen in its most extreme form in the space-cadet biker-chic uniform of Rosanna Arquette - who features in one of the m's rare jokes, when she punningly takes a pre-rolled spliff out of a flap in her prosthetic thigh a joint from a joint. The other actors, apparently, were envious of Arquette's gamey and hi-concept outfit. After a heavy session with Spader in one of a series of sliced-up cars in which she struggled, uncomfortably, take after take, to get the angles of penetration right, she would breastfeed her new baby on set.
A Mad Max madonna. Ballard, replaying Cronenberg's Crash, sees it as resembling one of his earlier, more dangerous novels filtered through the aesthetic of Helmut Newton.
Cronenberg's exercise came too late. It was part of the heritaging of Ballard; making his subversion safe, carrying it to the point where it could be discussed by hair-trigger moralists like the critic Alexander Walker. The value of Crash the film is easy to overlook. It belongs to its own time, not to Ballard's 60s.
It belongs to a climate of pre-millennial boredom. It's a novella of the last days. It has to run for ever, hours and hours of road footage, centuries of sex without fertility or climax. It's a chamber work from the era of Clintonian telephone adultery where the participants fall asleep. I want to see all the out-takes, the wet dawn motorways, the yawning, shivering actors. That's the vision that has been tapped. Post-surveillance anti-drama. The death of excitement. A riposte to Hollywood's mega-budget prostitution of the senses.
We have to learn to endure boredom to the point where egoless enlightenment can be achieved. Crash works best if it's viewed as a necrophile masque, a postmortem on an undead book. Their defining quality is an irritable narcissism. Perpetual arousal, the itch, coupled with perpetual dissatisfaction: compulsive humping, a Spanish fly quest for autoerotic stimulation, dead orgasms. Crash is a series of variations on Wilhelm Reich's recipe for cancer.
Spader impersonates Ballard but he is really an avatar of Cronenberg, the blandest off-print in a lineage that goes back through the spectacularly wasted Christopher Walken the urban vampire's vampire to James Woods. It was exciting to find an actor who was my cinematic equal.
Walken in The Dead Zone Cronenberg's first lift from literature and bestsellerdom was the ultimate doppelganger. All the things that are in his face.
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It's uninhabited, a cartoonist's flick of the wrist. An unembarrassed modicum of self-love, flopping gold hair, smooth flesh, and eyes that suggest that the lights have not quite gone out. There might still be, submerged beneath the complacent inaction, a trace element of low cunning. He plays well against Unger. He doesn't have her stamina, her need to ask questions. She makes all the running in the only scene that might spoil the film's smooth curve of ennui by threatening to come to life: the scene when she rehearses Spader for his homosexual pash with Elias Koteas' Vaughan.
Can you imagine what his anus is like? Describe it to me. Would you like to sodomise him? Would you like to put your penis right into his anus, thrust it up his anus? There is already another, far more interesting Cruise vehicle, American Made , coming this summer from the same studio Universal , in which he plays a real-life airline pilot turned drug smuggler and supergrass.
Invoking or is it challenging? Another good sign: the director is Doug Liman, who made Edge of Tomorrow. So write off The Mummy by all means. The Mummy is on release. American Made opens 25 August. Sign up. You are browsing in private mode. Photo: Getty. Ryan Gilbey is the New Statesman's film critic. Dimension: x x Weight in Grams: Weight: First Edition. Seller Inventory V Book Description British Film Institute.
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Quality Books. Because We Care - Shipped from Canada. Usually ships within business days. If you buy this book from us, we will donate a book to a local school. Seller Inventory RS. Seller Inventory MX. Book Description British Film Inst, Condition: Brand New. In Stock. Iain Sinclair. Publisher: British Film Institute , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title In this book, which includes a new interview with Ballard who wrote the book on which the film was based, Sinclair explores the temporal loop which connects film and novel, and asks questions such as to what extent is Crash a premonition of some of the more remarkable media events of recent times.
From the Back Cover : David Cronenberg's "Crash" attracted controversy when it was first screened in London, and remain banned in by at least one borough council.