The director and members of the cast, which includes Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux and Kristen Stewart, were showered in 6 minutes of applause after the film screened at the Palais late Monday evening.
“I’m speechless, really,” said the director, when he was handed the microphone in the middle of the applause. “I’m very touched by your response. I hope you are not kidding; I hope you mean it. I will be texting you all to see that you mean it.”
While it did appear that several people left the Palais during the movie — which features extended gory sequences, bloody organs, and the onscreen autopsy of a child — the lion’s share of the audience stayed to praise the director.
Neon dropped the first teaser trailer for the drama last month, and it was jam-packed with the sort of wild body-horror and nightmare imagery fans of the Canadian director of The Fly, Eastern Promises and Dead Ringers have come to expect. The movie is set in a near-future where humans are undergoing a series of transformations and mutations to adapt to the world’s new synthetic environment.
Mortensen plays celebrity performance artist Saul Tenser who, together with his partner Caprice (Seydoux), publicly showcases the metamorphosis of his organs in avant-garde performances. Stewart plays an investigator from the National Organ Registry, who obsessively tracks their movements. Scott Speedman, Welket Bungué, Don McKellar, Tanaya Beatty and Denise Capezza co-star.
Along with 20 other films in the festival’s competition, Cronenberg’s latest is vying for the Palme d’Or at this year’s 75th edition of Cannes.
The jury deciding the 2022 winner is led by French actor Vincent Lindon, co-star of 2021 Cannes Palme d’Or winner Titane, as president. Joining him on the jury are actress-director Rebecca Hall (The Town), Danish-born Bollywood star Deepika Padukone (Chennai Express), Sweden’s Noomi Rapace (Lamb) and Italian actress-director Jasmine Trinca (The Gunman), as well as directors Asghar Farhadi (A Hero), Ladj Ly (Les Misérables), Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter) and Joachim Trier (The Worst Person in the World).