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Fox Lorber presents
The Directors: David Cronenberg (2000)

"I have arranged all this just to have a moment alone with you."
- The Bug, Naked Lunch

Review By: Dan Lopez   
Published: September 28, 2000

Stars: David Cronenberg, Michael Ironside, Holly Hunter, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Other Stars: Debbie Harry, Peter Weller, Anthony Zerbe, Marilyn Chambers
Director: Robert J. Emery

Manufacturer: DVSS
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (R-rated film clips containing violence and sexuality)
Run Time: 00h:59m:45s
Release Date: September 19, 2000
UPC: 720917310121
Genre: documentary


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- B-C+B- D+

DVD Review

David Cronenberg is something of a curious phenomena in film today. The majority of his work has been extremely experimental and original, yet he manages to maintain enough of a mainstream presence so as not to completely fade from the public eye. Regardless, his visions are often disturbing, unusual ones that defy easy explanation. From the masterful low-budget classic Scanners, to his commercial success with The Fly, to his recent return to independent cinema with eXistenZ, you're guaranteed something interesting when you see Cronenberg's name on the opening credits.

This volume of the Directors series discusses Cronenberg's work and, much more than any previous part of this series, seems to focus more on interview footage with Cronenberg than anything else. Much to my surprise, the documentary spends a good deal of time with his older works from the early 80's, with good focus payed to Scanners, Videodrome, and Shivers, the only film to ever feature a straight, dramatic role by porn star Marilyn Chambers, who is interviewed here. Unfortunately, the documentary never takes any daring approaches. While I was pleased to see Cronenberg's works being treated with a professional level of respect, same as any other Directors series subject, the interview with him could have been much more challenging. As a result, Cronenberg never discusses exactly what inspired the bizarre plots or images that drive films like The Brood or Videodrome.

As usual, the one hour runtime rushes things along at an uncomfortable pace. A few films are practically ignored, with no time being given to Cronenberg's auto racing drama Fast Company or to his interpretation of M Butterfly. Naked Lunch, arguably one of his most challenging films, is merely touched upon. I suppose being a huge fan of him might make me biased, but overall, the whole package seems slightly light, despite how much screentime Cronenberg gets. All that aside, the disc could have been worse and, at the very least, you'll be spending one hour with one of the most fascinating filmmakers working today.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Like other discs in this series, image quality is sort of mixed. The interview footage looks very good, without compression artifacts or shimmer, but the clips from the films are often much worse. Clips seem to be very hazy, grainy, and heavily artifacted. This doesn't effect the quality of the documentary much, but it also isn't anything special.

Image Transfer Grade: C+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: A Pro-Logic Mono mix is present here and it does its job, basically. Even though some of the film clips sound a bit harsh and flat because of it, this is to be expected from this series by now. The interview dialogue is very clear and centered. Nothing will blow your home theater system away, but then it is just a documentary.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 8 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. DVD-ROM Weblink
Extras Review: Other than a filmography, all that's left is a weblink and an info snippet about subscribing to a mailing list. Not very good, but expected.

Extras Grade: D+

 

Final Comments

Cronenberg's comments about finding film criticism intolerable were somewhat funny to me since I've now reviewed 2 of his films (The Fly and The Dead Zone) and now I find myself reviewing, in essence, his life story. Though I wish these discs were longer, this is still a good piece to watch if you're interested in Cronenberg and part of what makes him tick. Recommended.

 


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