Saturday, September 28, 2013


Written, directed, shot, and edited by David Cronenberg, Stereo is the story about a young man who takes part into a strange, telepathic experiment by a mysterious, unseen doctor. The film marks David Cronenberg’s first foray into feature films as it would showcase his unique interpretation of horror. Starring Ronald Mlodzik, Jack Messinger, Iain Ewing, Clara Mayer, and Paul Mulholland. Stereo is an intriguing yet hypnotic debut film from David Cronenberg.

The film is the simple story about the examination of a small group of telepathic people all living in an institute as part of an experiment by a mysterious yet elusive doctor. Among them is a young man who becomes a new member of the group as he communicates with various people either through sex, telepathic conversations, or oral conversations as the mysterious doctor keeps track of all that is happening. It’s a film that doesn’t have much of a plot where it’s largely told by this mysterious doctor and a woman in brief moments where they examine that is happening. Yet, David Cronenberg infuses the story with some unique narration while a lot that is happening in the film is told silently in order for the narrator to observe all of the behavior.

Cronenberg’s direction is quite unique as it’s shot in black-and-white where he serves as his own cinematographer and editor. By shooting on location at the Scarborough College in Toronto that acts as a character, Cronenberg goes for a very simple yet direct approach to the framing while using some slow camera pans to capture the location. Some of which becomes very entrancing to showcase a world that becomes discomforting as the subjects try their best to create their own rules. Cronenberg uses some slow-motion cuts to capture some of the action and emotion as well as some shaking hand-held cameras for a chase scene.

All of which plays into a world where people are trying to shake up the idea of what is right and what is wrong where Cronenberg get the actors to be very adventurous and bawdy Cronenberg also voices the mysterious doctor who makes these observations where he delves into the many activities that occur. There, it allows Cronenberg to showcase the performances of the actors playing the subject as the performances are all fun to watch. Overall, Cronenberg creates a very interesting though flawed film about a strange sociological experiment.

Stereo is a very good debut film from David Cronenberg. While its lack of plot might be frustrating for some, it does showcase some of the themes and images that Cronenberg would refine in the years to come. Notably as it showcases what was able to do in the late 1960s where he tries to push buttons. In the end, Stereo is a terrific film from David Cronenberg.

David Cronenberg Films: Crimes of the Future - Shivers - Rabid - Fast Company - The Brood - Scanners - Videodrome - The Dead Zone - The Fly (1986 film) - Dead Ringers - Naked Lunch - M Butterfly - Crash (1996 film) - eXistenZ - Spider - A History of Violence - Eastern Promises - A Dangerous Method - Cosmopolis - Maps to the Stars - Crimes of the Future (2022 film)

The Auteurs #26: David Cronenberg: Pt. 1 - Pt. 2

© thevoid99 2013

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