How has it taken 102 episodes for Cody, Robert, and Nat to get around to David Cronenberg? Regardless, there’s no time like the present to ponder eXistenZ.
David Cronenberg may have drifted away from science fiction and horror to an extent over the years, but is place in the genre is more than secure. Reality and fantasy, body horror, and the intersection of flesh and technology. It’s something of a shame that he hasn’t been directly addressing these topics in the 21st Century, but he’d been doing it for 30 years prior. Maybe he was just waiting for the world to catch up to him.
Arriving a few weeks after THE MATRIX in 1999, EXISTENZ explores many of Cronenberg’s favorite themes, and perhaps was the last time he tried to make an actual blockbuster. Allegra Geller (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is a game designer who goes on the run after an assassination attempt by a “Realist”, a radical (?) group opposed to the blurring of virtual and real worlds via games. She’s joined by trainee Ted (Jude Law) and must navigate both real and virtual worlds to discover who’s after her and if there’s a larger conspiracy unfolding.
Despite positive reviews, EXISTENZ grossed $2.9 million at the domestic box office versus a $15 million budget. A little more space between it and THE MATRIX may have proved helpful. Regardless, there’s of course much to talk about in a Cronenberg film and his relevance in the 21st Century. Long live the new flesh!
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EXISTENZ Discussion 0:00 to 53:05
Next movie and Outro: 53:05 to End
Next month, we go back to the dawn of the superhero feature film with SUPERMAN AND THE MOLE MEN We hope you’ll join us.