David Cronenberg saw the future, and it involved the crime of people walking out of the Cannes premiere of his full-bore return to body horror – Crimes of the Future. And lo, it came to pass. Standing ovations, walk-outs and even boos are par for the course from Cannes’ famously feisty crowd, who are prone to extreme reactions – both positive and negative.
And walk-outs are certainly inevitable when it comes to Cronenberg’s penchant for gore and shocking sexual depictions. In 1996, Crash prompted such a stunned reaction that the jury had to invent a special prize for it, which according to Cronenberg, jury president Francis Ford Coppola refused to hand him.
According to Kyle Buchanan of the New York Times, “David Cronenberg predicted there’d be Cannes walkouts during CRIMES OF THE FUTURE, and I counted around 15 who exited during the film’s first press screening. Maybe walkouts are the new standing ovation!” Cronenberg was fully anticipating walk-outs within the first five minutes, but didn’t think it would prompt the same outrage as Crash.
Buchanan continued; “To be fair, people leave these press screenings all the time if they’re not vibing with the film or simply have a scheduling issue, but the ones who fled for the exits definitely did so during notably gross plot developments. Mission accomplished.”
Cronenberg hasn’t really dipped his toe in body horror since 1999’s eXistenZ, although it is what he is best-known for, having spent a decade wading in those waters. Since then, he has made more psychological thrillers, including A History of Violence and Eastern Promises – both of which starred Viggo Mortensen, who returns for Crimes of the Future.
If you cannot wait for the release of Crimes of the Future on June 3, check out our guide to the best horror movies in the meantime.