We Went There: David Cronenberg, Evolution

It doesn’t matter if you’re a David Cronenberg fan (although you should be). It doesn’t matter if you’re not even sure who he is (we’re about to remedy that one anyway). All that matters is that you like movies in any way, shape, or form – from conception and design to development, production, and final cut. Basically, if there’s anything you’ve ever liked even one time about any movie ever made, then TIFF’s current exhibit at the Bell Lightbox, David Cronenberg: Evolution, is going to have something for you.

First thing’s first, though. David Cronenberg is a Toronto-born film director. He’s also kind of a big deal. Remember the movie The Fly – you know, the one that gave you nightmares for a decade and made you incapable of ever trusting Jeff Goldblum again? – that was all DC. How about Crash, A History of Violence, and Eastern Promises? Again, all our hometown boy. The list of movies Cronenberg’s written and directed over the past four decades leave little wonder he’s firmly situated himself in the upper echelon of world-class filmmakers. Like we said, if you’re not already a fan, you should be.

The exhibit itself offers visitors the chance to wander through the artifacts of Cronenberg’s past creations. With a section dedicated to every film he’s ever made, the titular Evolution becomes abundantly clear. One feels as if they’re witnessing the growth of a great auteur as they make their way from Scanners to Naked Lunch in little more than 50 metres (a feat that took Cronenberg a decade in real-time). There are more props and behind-the-scenes photos than you can imagine, as well as costumes and notes of praise from the likes of Martin Scorsese. Several videos play throughout the rooms, showcasing actors and producers who’ve worked with Cronenberg, all talking about his technique and skill and vision. A few of the videos even let Cronenberg himself discuss his own work. Indeed, the entire exhibit is a testament to all the worlds that must be made and all the mediums that must be employed in order to create just one film. It feels like a complete presentation of a lifetime of work.

Upstairs, on the fourth floor, a partner exhibit also exists where you can go to experience a Cronenberg film (or at the very least the feeling of a Cronenberg film) in real-life. A laboratory has been set up that will allow you to have a 3D pod made that they claim you’ll be invited to insert into your brain at the end of the month. It was an altogether strange and creepy and exciting experience – exactly what we’ve come to expect from the man himself. We suggest you don’t miss it.