David Cronenberg

David Cronenberg was born on 15 March 1943, in Toronto, Canada. The son of a journalist and a pianist, he graduated in literature form the University of Toronto, although he first started his studies in the area of Science.

He gained experience as a director by working for CBC, a Canadian television network, for which he made several films and series such as Teleplay, Peep Show and Programme X.

His incursion into cinema happened at the end of the 1960s, when he made two experimental films: Stereo and Crimes of The Future (the latter was his first colour film).

In the film Shivers, in 1975, he introduced elements which, later on, would define his style in the seventh art. His fascination with the fragility of the human body and its mutability, the attraction for the role of Science in the transformation of the body, mind and even the structure of society are all aspects that are present in his filmography and which have made him stand out, depicting the way he brings to the big screen all the torments of the human condition.

Rabid, The Brood, Scanners, Videodrome, The Dead Zone e The Fly are all films that confirm the obsession, the audacity and the intelligence in the art of filming horror and of intertwining it with science fiction. The impact of the film The Fly was so great that, in 2008, Howard Shore (soundtrack composer of many of Cronenberg’s films) brought to the stage an opera inspired by the film.

This path culminates in 1988 with the film Dead Ringers. Three years later David Cronenberg is very much acclaimed by the critic for his film Naked Lunch, the adaptation he made of William Burroughs novel with the same name, an author for whom Cronenberg declares feeling great admiration and affinity.

In 1993 he makes Mr. Butterfly, the adaptation of David Henry Hwang’s play, which represents a switch in his style and proves his versatility in the way he looks at filmmaking. Three years later he makes Crash, a film inspired on the classic by J. D. Ballard and considered one of Cronenberg’s most polemic works. The prowess was acknowledged in Cannes with the Jury’s Special Prize.

The return to the original screenplay happened in 1999 with the film eXistenZ. Already showing a certain inclination for the mainstream, David Cronenberg once again received favourable reviews and a Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.

In 2002 he returned to filming with Spider, a feature film based on the novel The Grotesque by Patrick McGrath. Many saw it as the least “cronenbergian” of his films, others praised it and the film was awarded with the Director Guild of Canada and the Genie Award. 

In his 2005 History of Violence, Cronenberg widened his vision to the more classical style and told a story of a family drama adapted from a cartoon short story by John Wagner and Vince Locke. With Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris and William Hurt, the film confirmed the director’s versatility, which has already conquered the legitimacy of travelling from the underground to the mainstream with no bashfulness nor complexes. With this film he won the prize for Best Director from the British Independent Film Awards.  

In 2007 David Cronenberg filmed Eastern Promises, again with Viggo Mortensen and, also, with Naomi Watts and Vincent Cassel. His fascination with human nature (and violence as an intrinsic part of its condition) was once more the structural basis for this screenplay which won the People’s Choice Awards at the Toronto International Film Festival. These two two films were also awarded with the Caesar prize for Best Foreign Film.

A Dangerous Method, his last project before Cosmopolis, was premiered at the Venice Film Festival’s Official Selection. Starring Keira Knightley, Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen, the film was highly praised amongst critics.