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Crash (1996)


This information is for the Laserdisc release, not a DVD release.

NOTE: This commentary is only on the Criterion Collection laserdisc release of "Crash"

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Writer/Director David Cronenberg Rating:7.6/10 (8 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by Gavin Millarrrrrrrrrr on October 22nd, 2008:Find all reviews by Gavin Millarrrrrrrrrr
Cronenberg has plenty to say about his most controversial film and so jumps straight in over the opening credits with a fascinating story about the creation of the title sequence.
From here he discusses all aspects of the production and the aftermath of its release, calmly defending himself and his film against misunderstanding and misinterpretation without ever sounding defensive.
Sex plays a central role in both the film and Cronenberg's commentary, ranging from the logistics of Spader's handjob under the sheets to "the significance of orgasm - it's implications and consequences", as well as how Cronenberg felt he had to rise above sexual politics and avoid the controversy of various couplings.
Equally important, and intrinsically linked to the sex, are cars and car crashes (Cronenberg muses that sex and cars are probably the two most photographed things on film so he had to try and find new ways to shoot them, as well as finding the right seductive/repulsive balance between the two), leading him to study lots of actual crash footage, and by comparison he states "I was very restrained". (This also had the unforseen side effect of changing the driving habits of various people on the film - so CRASH is really a road safety film!)
Cronenberg is full of praise for his cast - a mix of Canadians he was keen to give a career boost to and Hollywood names keen to work with him, stating he knew Spader was right for his role because he "wasn't afraid of being afraid" - not just for the way they gave themselves so completely to the film physically, but also for creating believable people out of these disaffected characters with no families and no past. (Cronenberg opines that while CRASH isn't science fiction it feels futuristic due to the characters demonstrating "a psychology of the future".)
And alongside the intellectualising/philosophising, there's plenty of straightforward technical information about shooting conditions and how they achieved various shots.
Naturally he covers the furore the film caused on its release (or non-release, as it was delayed for a year in England and, at the time the commentary was recorded, still banned in Ireland due to the dialogue(!) in one of the sex scenes), conceding "it was controversial everywhere... but England went completely insane!". He then details the media storm that started with a confrontation with a rabid press pack at Cannes and exploded in the British press, until one particular headline brought a backlash from disabled groups (leading Cronenberg to wryly conclude "I accidentally made a politically correct film").
The vehemence of the reaction to the film notwithstanding, Cronenberg is still able to remember it as "a wonderful shoot", enjoying the partial return to his early style of "guerilla film-making" (everything was shot within 10 minutes of the production offices) and he even contends there is a lot of humour to be found in the film on repeat viewings. (He also suggests that "The Seagraves at Home" should be TV series!)
Finally, where other commentaries end with a quick wrap-up and thank-you-for-listening, Cronenberg spends the end credits giving a concise but precise explanation of just what this "existential romance" is actually all about. Brilliant!