Crash (1996), adaptation of JG Ballard 's book of the same name , is the 14th film directed by David Cronenberg for theaters. The film generated controversy in several countries at the time of its release due to the fact that it linked sex with the violence of car accidents, receiving cuts ranging from 35 seconds to 10 minutes, depending on the country in which it was shown.
Crash won the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Francis Ford Coppola, the president of the jury at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival, announced the award “for originality, for daring and for audacity”, noting that there was some controversy among the members of the jury and that some of them “did abstain very passionately”.
According to David Cronenberg, Coppola had such a distaste for the film that he refused to personally present the award to it. About the adaptation of his book, J. G. Ballard said: "The movie is actually better than the book. It goes further than the book, and is much more powerful and dynamic. It's terrific”.
The film tells the story of James Ballard, who after suffering a traffic accident, discovers a culture that worships car accidents and their victims. James and his wife, Catherine, become friends with Vaughan, which leads them to see and perform a series of sexual acts involving motor vehicles and other scarred and mutilated accident victims, such as, for example, Vaughan's performance, during which he completely recreates the car accident that killed James Dean with authentic cars and stunt drivers or when the couple is faced with a car accident involving Colin Seagrave, a member of the group, who planned to recreate with Vaughan's help the car accident that killed Jayne Mansfield.
James becomes one of Vaughan's followers, as he watches videos of car safety tests, photographs traffic collisions, and recalls the deaths of famous people in traffic accidents. Vaughan aims for the perfect union between the body and the automobile in a suicidal orgy, stating that his main interest is the "reshaping of the human body by modern technology", so the car accident is a "benevolent psychopathology that beckons towards us ".
Cult of Car Accidents
In a way, the whole controversy about Crash revolves around the relationship between sex, death and the cult of car accidents, which refers to almost all of David Cronenberg's work, since the deformations in the body caused by sex and death are a constant in his films. From his first films, Shivers (1975) and Rabid (1977), through Videodrome (1983) and The Fly (1986), to his last production Crimes of the Future (2022), sex has always been a means of transformation both psychologically and anatomically in Cronenberg's work.
Read the extended version of the article in Premium and discover, among other things, what shocks both readers of the book and conservative spectators, Also included are more daring stills from the film.
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