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The Fly

While none of David Cronenberg's work could be considered outright cyberpunk, his directoral concerns definitely run in the same current of post-modernism as cyberpunk. The obsolescences and/or invasions of the body, conflicts over mind and body, and the effects of mutation are deftly explored in his work. Cronenberg's "Fly" is a heady remake of the 1958 B-movie hit, penned by a then unknown novelist, James Clavell. An independent scientist invents a teleportation device and decides to try it on himself. When a fly wanders into his telepod, their genetics are fused during transport. Soon after the successful teleportation, the scientist, Seth Brundle, starts undergoing gruesome physical changes. Cronenberg uses the plot of "The Fly" to explore disease, aging, and the physical and psychological issues involved in mutation. Anyone who has known someone dying of cancer or AIDS can't help but feel for the main character (here convincingly played by Jeff Goldblum) and his new-found lover (played by the eccentrically sexy Geena Davis). Also starring John Getz with David Cronenberg as the gynecologist.

(G. Branwyn)



1986, 20th Century Fox

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Many of the peaks of philosophical thought revolve around the impossible duality that man seems to live between the mind and the body. Whether the mind is portrayed as soul or spirit or whatever. It's the old Cartesian split between the two. There should be a point where the two fuse into one, but it is very apparent to everyone that they're not. And I think that's one of the bases in horror in general and life in particular - and that is that we cannot comprehend how we could die - why a healthy mind has to die. Just because the body is dying. I mean you have people whose minds are sharp and clear and they are a physical wreck -- their body is dying. There seems to be something wrong with that. I don't think that simply by philosophy or force of will that we can reach a stage where we are completely integrated. I think that that is something that has to happen physically as well. The mind and the body are totally interlinked as far as I'm concerned, and therefore, for the mind to change and be able to understand more, the body would have to change as well. To look at the process of aging and of dying as a transformation. Which is something that I deal with in "The Fly," specifically. Despite the difficulty, it is necessary to be tough. You look at it, it's ugly, it's nasty, it's not pretty. It's hard to alter our aesthetic sense to accommodate aging - never mind disease. There is an impulse to try to do that - to accommodate aging into our aesthetic, for example. And, I think to extend that, you could do the same thing with disease - you know: "that's a fine looking young man with cancer." It's hard, and you might ask why bother. Well, it's because the man still exists that he has to look at himself.

- David Cronenberg

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