For David Cronenberg, turning 70 is like waking up as the Brundlefly
Somebody needs to send David Cronenberg a candygram or something, because it seems like the 70-year-old Torontonian director is a little bummed about his advancing age. In an essay for the Paris Review, he draws an elaborate analogy between becoming a septuagenarian and turning into a horrifying beetle in the manner of Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis. Things get especially interesting when Cronenberg makes the obvious connection with his own 1986 body-horror film, The Fly, in which a scientist played by Jeff Goldblum inadvertently transforms himself into a man-sized insect.
“When The Fly was released in 1986, there was much conjecture that the disease that [Goldblum’s character Seth] Brundle had brought on himself was a metaphor for AIDS,” Cronenberg writes. “But for me, Brundle’s disease was more fundamental: in an artificially accelerated manner, he was aging. He was a consciousness that was aware that it was a body that was mortal, and with acute awareness and humor participated in that inevitable transformation that all of us face, if only we live long enough.”
So, the implication is that aging is sort of like being the victim of a cruel genetic experiment that results in one’s body parts slowly withering and falling off. Sounds about right. Incidentally, Cronenberg is scheduled to give a talk at OCAD U on Tuesday night, in case there’s anyone who might want to hear these types of uplifting observations spoken aloud by the man himself. Anyone?