“Future Crime” Desire Machine

  ”It runs everywhere, sometimes stops, sometimes continues. It breathes, it heats, it eats. It excretes, it fucks. Machines are everywhere.”
  - “Anti-Oedipus
  ,” Cronenberg changes again after many years Back to the Cronenberg of “Sensory Games” and “Desire Named Express”: Seeing the elegy of human desire, love and survival fragmented in a mirror called the future. In 1970, Cronenberg made a 70-minute film called “Future Crime”, which tells the story of the death of millions of women in the future world because of the use of cosmetics, the mysterious disappearance of the doctor who was investigating the matter, and the mysterious growth of new cells in the patient’s body. Organ story. In Cannes in 2022, the Canadian director who shocked the world with “Desire Express”, “Naked Lunch” and “Murder on Video” returns to his familiar “Crimes of the Future” with the same name as his old work 50 years ago. Body horror” style.
  ”Crimes of the Future” is certainly an iconoclastic, very Cronenberg sci-fi. In a certain future depicted in the film, due to technological progress, human beings have been freed from pain and can control and transform their bodies indefinitely: sleep, digestion, and eating. But for some unknown reason, the human body also began to produce some new organs like cancer cells. These new organs seemed deadly. So the protagonist of the film, the body performance artist Saul Tenser, with the help of his partner Caprice, removed these redundant organs again and again in full view, and became famous for turning the whole process into a performance art performance. As the number of new organs increases, Saul’s body undergoes many inexplicable changes. At the same time, a new group of people who eat plastic and industrial products has also appeared in the public eye, and they have surgically modified their bodies so that they can Digesting plastic, and this “special ability” one day becomes hereditary – a child born with the ability to digest plastic and waste chemical by-products is born.
  In this intricate and multi-character story, we can still clearly distinguish Cronenberg’s signature visual language and the future concept behind it: turning people into things and things into people, the boundary between nature and man-made lies in There is infinite ambiguity in the action of desire. In 1996’s “Desire Express”, Cronenberg has already begun to describe the disappearance of the boundary between the machine and the human body, the proliferative wounds become sexual organs, the human becomes a monotonous sex machine in the urban landscape, and the car, which does not have Emotional vehicles, suddenly become conscious creatures. In “Future Crimes”, the painless human becomes a machine that needs to be maintained, disassembled and overhauled to operate – the modification of the body is as easy as the modification of cars and electronic products, and the machine is in the visual sense. Has the form of an animal. In the film, the orchid bed made by LifeFormWare that can control human sleep and pain, the human-shaped breakfast chair that can help human digestion through peristalsis, and the dissection table used by Saul for performances all have a unique sensuality: the bed seems to be a A piranha that is absorbing nutrients at any time; the breakfast chair is like a fleshy skeleton that hugs and kneads its owner all the time; every scalpel sticking out of the dissection bed is an image of a mutant insect. These images are easily reminiscent of the director’s 1991 work “Naked Lunch”. In the film, the typewriter, a man-made tool, becomes conscious and appears in the form of a large fleshy insect, and the act of typing becomes an erotic and carnal activity like stroking.

  Sex is no longer what it used to be in this futuristic fantasy. After watching Saul being cut open, Registry Clerk Timlin asks in Saul’s ear, “Surgery is the new sex, right?” This question points to one of the film’s themes, and the dark thread of oneness with man and machine Linked to each other, for the machine-like posthuman, the traditional sex loses its meaning, and the new sex is physical transformation. It’s so mechanical: the only way for a machine to interact with other objects is to disassemble and assemble.
  Unlike more classic and popular sci-fi movies, Cronenberg’s imagined future is not electronic and mechanized, but visually resembles a kind of retrogression. “Future Crime” was filmed in Athens. In the old European city after the economic crisis, the streets seem to have been abandoned, and all the buildings are dilapidated and faded. The performance art of body modification is carried out in an abandoned factory, and the performance artists with eyes and mouths sewn up and ears full of ears dance in the ruins. In deserted alleys, shop signs faded and prostitutes let their clients carve scars on themselves (the maiming became a widespread pattern of sexual intercourse).
  Today, sci-fi movies always unfold in an outward way: exploring the universe, transforming tools, building unimaginable high-rise buildings, pinching out ingenious machines, and having sex in the form of a full-scale projection. But whether it’s a wasteland sci-fi like “Dune” or a post-human cyber fantasy like “Blade Runner 2046”, it discusses the problems of existing human beings, such as the relationship between individuals and families, such as the distance between individuals and politics. Although the 2021 Palme d’Or film “Titanium” also uses the body and machine as metaphors, it still expresses the suffering of gender being excluded, shaped and disciplined by society, rather than imagining a new mode of human existence.
  For Cronenberg, the real “future” exists only in our bodies, in the detached relationship between our own perceptions and our bodies, and is completely biological and organic. In “Crimes of the Future”, the characters are dressed as they are now, and the household items (except for the ultra-futuristic bed, breakfast chair, and dissection table) are also stuck in the manufacturing style of the end of the last century. But the core of this film is so new and even ahead of its time, and it is based on the possible unknown evolution of human beings. This conceptual bravery is the continuation of Cronenberg’s imagination and poetry from “Murder on Videotape,” “Desire Named Express,” and “Game of Senses,” and it is also the spirit of exploration that has always been in his film career.

  ”Crimes of the Future” is a film so philosophical about Deleuze, but it unfolds in a way that is the opposite of Deleuze. Deleuze discusses the “organless body” in “Anti-Oedipus” and “A Thousand Plateaus”, while “Future Crimes” presents a “bodyless organ”, thus reaching a desire machine-like human condition. The suspense that runs through “Future Crimes” is the murder of a boy, and the hero Saul, an artist who refuses to coexist with new organs, is infinitely close to death like an aging machine in the process of pursuing this secret. In the end, the mystery was revealed. The little boy’s ability to digest plastic and industrial waste was not the result of surgery, but a natural evolution. Saul also realizes that the proliferating organs may lead him not to death, but to a future of “new humanity”. At this point, the abnormality of the body can no longer be ignored by him: scarred and worn, his throat is roaring like an engine failure, and he can no longer eat traditional human food. So, on the verge of painless death, the man-made human being swallowed the food made of plastic and motor oil. His seemingly infinitely human face finally showed a relieved, happy and peaceful smile, and a tear slowly fell. , like motor oil. The whole film is like a question mark and an invitation. Nature becomes man-made, and man-made returns to nature. This is the future picture that Cronenberg re-displayed after a lapse of many years, a masterpiece of post-human science fiction.