Ahead of the Cannes Film Festival premiere of David Cronenberg’s newest offering, Crimes Of The Future, star Viggo Mortensen took a moment to compare the director’s 1996 film Crash with last year’s Palme d’Or winner, Titane.
“In my opinion, no offense to the director of Titane [Julia Ducournau], but Crash was head and shoulders above that movie, because it wasn’t just about superficial shock value and unconventional imagery,” Mortensen tells The Hollywood Reporter. “There was a story beneath it, there was true character exploration in Crash, much more than in Titane, I think.”
Crash debuted at Cannes to waves of controversy and booing, but it still won a Special Jury Award. The film, starring James Spader, follows a group of people who find automobile crashes erotic. The crowd-shocker also features Holly Hunter, Elias Koteas, and Rosanna Arquette.
Mortensen seems to have forgotten the entire rest of Titane—which features an analysis of the nature of a female psychopath (played by Agathe Rousselle) while also exploring the limits of the human body, transness, and the concept of found family. But sure, she also does have sex with a revved up car, later birthing its child. However, boiling the film down solely to its shock value elements does it an immense disservice.
In Katie Rife’s review of Titane for The A.V. Club, she touches on the quick comparison between the two directors’ films, writing:
Ducournau’s work is sometimes compared to that of David Cronenberg, and that rings true in the sense that both are obsessed with the erotics of disgust and the possibilities of a “new flesh.” Yet the similarities between Titane and Cronenberg’s Crash have been overstated. After all, a sexual predilection for cars is only one aspect of our heroine, Alexia (Agathe Rousselle), and her fucked-up psyche.
However, while both films offer plenty of shocking moments, time and taste separate them. Like Cronenberg, Mortensen expects a visceral reaction to the surgery-oriented Crimes Of The Future, but hopes audiences will come with an open mind.
“I imagine Crimes Of The Future could cause controversy, but I think it will leave you thinking and discussing and with something to take home,” Mortensen says. “You may wake up the next day and still think, ‘What the hell was that?’ But at the same time, you’re likely to be thinking of the world as it is now. It’s impossible to say. Cannes can be unpredictable. But if people like Titane and liked the challenges it presented, I don’t see why they wouldn’t be equally, if not more, interested by this movie.”