Film Studies: Long Live the New Flesh! The Visions of David Cronenberg

Our Film Studies programme is open to everyone. An eight week course with film screenings and discussion sessions on alternate weeks, lead by Film Lecturers from Sheffield Hallam University. Full course passes can be purchased from our Box Office.

Canadian director David Cronenberg has been making films for over fifty years and he is one of the most unique voices in cinema. An intellectual and extremely articulate individual, he is often regarded as being responsible for the emergence of the body horror movie. He systematically created a world of horror sci-fi hybrids unlike any other, beginning with his earliest experimental works Stereo and Crimes of the Future. The release of his first fully formed body horror movie Shivers in 1975 generated polarised reactions from critics, but they also recognised that an original and challenging filmmaking talent was emerging. A series of remarkable visions followed and Cronenberg picked up appropriate nicknames along the way, such as The King of Venereal Horror and The Baron of Blood. Cronenberg’s body horrors featured a constantly evolving philosophy, around concepts such as the ‘new flesh’ and the ‘creative disease’, along with an individual style which is completely in synch with his themes, settings and characters.

Although he has veered occasionally in a different generic direction, with films like Fast Company – which is about drag racing - there has always been a return to the focus on philosophical questions about body, mind, and the complexities of personal identity. Even in more recent works, such as A History of Violence and Maps to the Stars, identity is the most significant theme at the heart of his narratives. Never one to shy away from controversy, Cronenberg’s work often features violence, troubling imagery and provocative ideas especially in adaptations of two infamous novels - William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch and J.G. Ballard’s Crash – both previously claimed to be unfilmable due to featuring explicit, and sometimes deviant, sexual behaviour. Similarly, he does not shy away from presenting actors with a challenge and the exceptional performances coaxed out of, for example, Christopher Walken, Jeremy Irons, and Julianne Moore are testament to his prowess as a director.

This course, then, will cover Cronenberg’s career to date. It will focus on the development of style and themes in his work; the body horror years and beyond (including his lengthy collaboration with film composer Howard Shore); his literary adaptations and great skill with actors; and a comprehensive appreciation of a rare talent.

Course taught by Shelley O'Brien, Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at Sheffield Hallam University.

Full Course Pricing:

Adults: £65

Concessions: £50

Cine26: £32

To book the full course, either for yourself or as a gift, please pop into Box Office, or get in touch with them on 0114 275 7727.

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