Thursday, August 16, 2012

David Cronenberg's Secret Weapons

My friend Dan Kibke pointed out recently that Stephen Thrower had written online about an obscure-but-important David Cronenberg film, Secret Weaponsmade for TV in 1972; though the link Thrower provides won't work in Canada, I'm watching the film presently on Youtube and finding it very interesting. As Thrower says, Secret Weapons bridges an important gap in Cronenberg's filmmaking, between the experimental, non-narrative Stereo and Crimes of the Future and the narrative features that commenced in 1975 with Shivers. The film has some striking images, despite its obviously miniscule budget, an interesting electronic soundtrack, and - most exciting for Cronenberg enthusiasts - features a performance by Ron Mlodzik, a very compelling actor Cronenberg used several times in the early years (anyone know if Mlodzik is still alive?). Also, for those, like myself, interested in the challenges posed to Cronenberg's cinema by Robin Wood, the film has some provocative discussion of the political loyalties of Cronenberg's protagonist, who works for the forces of authority while sympathizing with insurgents, and refusing to pledge allegiance to the authority he serves... Going to go finish watching it now, but thanks, Dan, for pointing this stuff out (and to Stephen Thrower, by extension). I have an article upcoming on the politics of Cronenberg's early films... I'll point it out here when it sees print!

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