Director: David Cronenberg

Apart from stylish foreign art movies and challenging British fare from the likes of Peter Greenaway and Nicolas Roeg, Palace also specialised in releasing some weird and wonderful American genre movies. This characteristically provocative piece from Canadian director David Cronenberg chronicles the disintegration of its central protagonist through exposure to violent and erotic TV/video images. James Woods is well cast as sleazeball cable station owner Max Renn, who becomes hooked by what appears to be a pirate satellite broadcast showing ‘real’ acts of torture and violence. Cronenberg’s refusal to differentiate between what is real and what is imagined forces us to share Renn’s disorientation. The result is an astonishing and uncompromising film, the power of which has increased rather than diminished with the years.

Canada, 1982.
With: Deborah Harry.
89 mins.

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