Crimes of the Future (1970)

Written, produced, and directed by David Cronenberg
Starring Ronald Mlodzik, Jon Lidolt, Tania Zolty, Paul Mulholland, Jack Messinger, Iain Ewing, William Haslam, Raymond Woodley, Stefan Czernecki, Rafe Macpherson, Willem Poolman, Don Owen, Udo Kasemets, Bruce Martin, Brian Linehan, Leland Richard, Stephen Zeifman, Norman Snider, William Wine, Kaspars Dzeguze, Sheldon Cohen, George Gibbins, Aus von Blicke


Humanity depopulates in anomic, semifuturistic 1997 for a gynocidal epidemic effected by toxic cosmetics. His interns frolic in their ruinate dermatological clinic as its dour director (Mlodzik) pines for his wacko, presumably deceased mentor and predecessor, and occupies metaphysical positions at satiric corporations, institutes, and foundations before consorting with a pedophilic sect therefrom, who purpose to induce premature puberty in and fertilize an abducted gamine (Zolty) to perpetuate the species.


Its protagonist’s fey, flatulent narration exposits wordless activity of Cronenberg’s abstrusely aberrant second feature, which thematically anticipates his future movies as overtly as Stereo before it. Fixating for some and flat for others, it’s undeniably as challenging as repugnant in its exploratory degeneracy.


On the postmodern premises of Massey College at the University of Toronto, and the newly opened, neobrutalist Ontario Science Centre, Cronenberg shot, then cut this in cointense color and contrast with a notable professionality that betokens his later mastery. Its languor reflects that of the moping, adventuresome teledermatologist, and among punctuating wickednesses soothes as sleazy counterbalance.


Present in Cronenberg’s early pictures through Rabid, Mlodzik communicates with creepily cool countenance as much about his depraved dermatologist as the ambagious voice-over. His castmates were recruited from Cronenberg’s circle (Woodley was then the filmmaker’s brother-in-law; Lidolt designed the movie’s titles), and they’re all sufficiently strange (if scarcely acting) as maniacs, mutants and murderers.


As in Stereo, noises are substituted for music, and the loudest blare during those futurable felonies. Some of these are recognizable as aqueous dissonance or birdsong.


Limited resources, a strepitent film camera, and its auteur’s idiosyncrasies necessitated the experimental style of his early pictures, which are as esoteric as one could expect. If nothing else, they’re a speculative window into immorality unique to the impartially amoral.

Recommended for a double feature paired with Stereo, The Brood, Coma, or Beyond the Black Rainbow.

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