One of the benefits of having a membership to the ROM is that there are sometimes free reciprocal entry to other museums and exhibitions. At the moment there’s free entry for ROM members and a guest to the David Cronenberg exhibition, called Evolution, at the TIFF.
I don’t think I’d ever heard the name David Cronenberg before moving to Toronto and seeing the adverts for the exhibition. Not knowing who he was, or having seen his films, I wasn’t all that interested but hey, free tickets, I’ll go.
I did gather that he made horror films and Pete, our neighbour, is a big horror fan so I invited him along.
Now that I’ve been to the exhibition, I can confidently say that I’ve never seen one of his many films but at least I had heard of a few of them without knowing he’d directed them. A Dangerous Method, The Fly, A History of Violence and Cosmopolis stick out most in my mind but there are many more.
All of the films look exceptionally weird but in a dystopian kind of way, off-putting to say the least, and probably not films I’d make a conscious effort to go see.
However, I could see that he’s quite a visionary director, with his own style, and I liked that. There was also a whole room set aside for Naked Lunch with a lot of models in it, including one standing at a bar that you can have your photo with.
The exhibition was well laid out, going through all of his films with a synopsis of each plus different ephemera, whether it’s scripts with hand-written notes, props, prosthetics or advertising.
One of the really interesting things they had were originals of the audience feedback for one of the films. It was a Hollywood film and so was audience tested. When shown, it wasn’t the full movie and didn’t have a sound track (or sound effects I think). Also, only half the audience showed up. The feedback they got was terrible, people left after only half an hour and others were seriously turned off by it and hoped the public never got to see it. Harsh. But fascinating.
There’s also an additional part to the exhibit on the fourth floor which is setup like a lab where you create, via a website, a creature that you get to keep. Strangely there wasn’t a computer setup at the exhibit for you to create the creature there, instead forcing you to do it at home. I’ll do that next and post the photo of what gets made.
I’m really glad I checked out the exhibition. It was really well laid, informative and interactive without being overloaded, and I learnt something new about a prominent Canadian.