Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Experience the New Flesh, while it lasts

This is the final week for David Cronenberg: Evolution, a major exhibition about the writer/director/actor, being held in the HSBC gallery at the TIFF Bell Lightbox (closes January 19th). I spent several hours wandering through the exhibit last month, and had a great time reading about his work and viewing props from his films. Cronenberg's evolution as a filmmaker was part and parcel with the evolution of the film industry in Canada, especially the horror genre; even if you're not a fan of his work, this is still definitely something you should see.

All his films are covered, from Shivers (1975) to Cosmopolis (2012). Here's the official description, courtesy of TIFF.net:

TIFF's first major original exhibition, David Cronenberg: Evolution, parallels David Cronenberg's evolution as a filmmaker with his longstanding fascination with the possibilities and perils of human evolution itself. Curated by TIFF Director & CEO Piers Handling and Artistic Director Noah Cowan, and divided into three major sections that provide a loosely chronological overview of Cronenberg's career, the exhibition traces the development of the director's evolutionary themes across his filmography through more than 300 original artifacts, visionary designs, and rare and unseen footage.

They don't allow photography inside the exhibit, however, they did produce a short behind-the-scenes video, which gives you a taste of what's offered. (There's also a free ebook you can download, but you have to do so via Apple's iTunes store--too restrictive, in my opinion, so I didn't bother.)

David Cronenberg: Evolution (c) TIFF.net

As you can see, there's quite a bit of eye candy to behold. The exhibit is fluid, yet divided up into three sections:
  • WHO IS MY CREATOR? Cronenberg's early films, from the short film Stereo to his horror films up to Videodrome
  • WHO AM I? His "middle period," from Videodrome to eXistenZ (with a special area devoted to Naked Lunch)
  • WHO ARE WE? The latest films, from Spider to Cosmopolis
I should also note that it's primarily a self-directed tour, but they also offer free guided tours at certain times on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. There's also a related display on the 4th floor of the building, called Body/Mind/Change, which is supposed to be some sort of interactive element. But this wasn't explained very well by the attendant at the time. So unless you read up about it on the website beforehand, you'll have no idea what's going on, and will probably just wander around for 2 minutes, then leave--like I did.

The TIFF Shop is also offering a bunch of tie-in merchandise, which is hit-and-miss (mostly miss, actually). The only item I found of interest is the special magazine produced by Fangoria, which essentially collects past interviews with Cronenberg, and reprints articles about his films. At $10.99, it's well worth the price, and can also be purchased through Fangoria's website.

So check out David Cronenberg: Evolution while you still can! If you can't make it, word has it there's a very good chance that the exhibit will have a world tour, stopping in New York, London, and Sydney.


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