Press Release Criterion Press Release: Crash (Blu-ray)

Ronald Epstein

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For this icily erotic fusion of flesh and machine, David Cronenberg adapted J. G. Ballard’s future-shock novel of the 1970s into one of the most singular and provocative films of the 1990s. A traffic collision involving a disaffected commercial producer, James (James Spader), and an enigmatic doctor, Helen (Holly Hunter), brings them, along with James’s wife, Catherine (Deborah Kara Unger, in a sublimely detached performance), together in a crucible of blood and broken glass—and it’s not long before they are all initiated into a kinky, death-obsessed underworld of sadomasochistic car-crash fetishists for whom twisted metal and scar tissue are the ultimate turn-ons. Controversial from the moment it premiered at Cannes—where it won a Special Jury Prize “for originality, for daring, and for audacity”—Crash has since taken its place as a key text of late-twentieth-century cinema, a disturbingly seductive treatise on the relationships between humanity and technology, sex and violence, that is as unsettling as it is mesmerizing.

FILM INFO
DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
  • New 4K digital restoration supervised by director of photography Peter Suschitzky, and 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray, both approved by director David Cronenberg
  • Audio commentary from 1997 featuring Cronenberg
  • Press conference from the 1996 Cannes Film Festival featuring Cronenberg; Suschitzky; author J. G. Ballard; producers Robert Lantos and Jeremy Thomas; and actors Rosanna Arquette, Holly Hunter, Elias Koteas, James Spader, and Deborah Kara Unger
  • Q&A from 1996 with Cronenberg and Ballard at the National Film Theatre in London
  • Behind-the-scenes footage and press interviews from 1996
  • Trailers
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by film critic Jessica Kiang
New cover by Phil Hale

December 1, 2020
 

Ronald Epstein

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Thank you for supporting HTF when you preorder using the link below. If you are using an adblocker you will not see link. As an Amazon Associate HTF earns from qualifying purchases

 
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JohnRice

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I can't say I understand this movie, but I'm always in for some Cronenberg.
 

lark144

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I can't say I understand this movie, but I'm always in for some Cronenberg.
It helps a lot if you read the book, which is both a lot more outrageous, and yet more matter of fact, than the movie is.

The film is an amazing adaptation, putting a lot on the screen that one wouldn't have thought possible, but the book itself is a dark masterpiece--subversive, perverse, a cry of rage and yet also strangely, even quietly and meditatively, beautiful.

At the time I read it, I had no idea what I was getting into, as I was only familiar with Ballard's surreal, visionary, environmental sci-fi from the late 50's-early 60's, such as "The Crystal World".

"Crash" has a similar literary style. It's almost like reading descriptions of imaginary landscapes which combine words that don't belong together; yet this world that is described is one that we currently live in; one in which machines and flesh have merged, especially in terms of consciousness. It's a remarkable act of prophecy, and is still completely contemporary, and even still ahead of our time, as well as its own.
 

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I kinda hated this movie, and I generally admire Cronenberg. Happy viewing, fans! :)
 

Josh Steinberg

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It helps a lot if you read the book, which is both a lot more outrageous, and yet more matter of fact, than the movie is.

The film is an amazing adaptation, putting a lot on the screen that one wouldn't have thought possible, but the book itself is a dark masterpiece--subversive, perverse, a cry of rage and yet also strangely, even quietly and meditatively, beautiful.

At the time I read it, I had no idea what I was getting into, as I was only familiar with Ballard's surreal, visionary, environmental sci-fi from the late 50's-early 60's, such as "The Crystal World".

"Crash" has a similar literary style. It's almost like reading descriptions of imaginary landscapes which combine words that don't belong together; yet this world that is described is one that we currently live in; one in which machines and flesh have merged, especially in terms of consciousness. It's a remarkable act of prophecy, and is still completely contemporary, and even still ahead of our time, as well as its own.
Well said!

I discovered the book in my high school’s library and pretty quickly wondered how the hell that snuck in there. I had never read anything like it. Probably still haven’t.
 
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titch

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I'm starting to get a bit fed up with Criterion after all these years. If they had announced this a year ago, then we would all have said "great", but this is now the THIRD title this year that they are releasing, which other companies already have released in superior 4K UHD versions (The Elephant Man, Parasite). I get it that Criterion absolutely don't want to even try releasing a 4K UHD disc, despite other boutique labels, such as Arrow, Kino and Blue Underground, testing the waters. But then they should find other films, which need upgrading (and they certainly have quite a few of those).

The format aside, the Arrow version has an even wider choice of supplements.

Amazon product
 
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lark144

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Well said!

I discovered the book in my high school’s library and pretty quickly wondered how the hell that snuck in there. I had never read anything like it. Probably still haven’t.
I talked to J.G. Ballard once at a book signing about the French introduction to "Crash", where he insisted that the book is "highly moral". Apparently, Jean Baudrillard wrote J.G. Ballard a letter in which he said that "Crash" was not only completely immoral, but "a concentrated act of rage". J.G. Ballard paused, looked directly at me, and said, ...and you know, he was completely right!"
 
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lark144

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I'm starting to get a bit fed up with Criterion after all these years. If they had announced this a year ago, then we would all have said "great", but this is now the THIRD title this year that they are releasing, which other companies already have released in superior 4K UHD versions (The Elephant Man, Parasite). I get it that Criterion absolutely don't want to even try releasing a 4K UHD disc, despite other boutique labels, such as Arrow, Kino and Blue Underground, testing the waters. But then they should find other films, which need upgrading (and they certainly have quite a few of those).

The format aside, the Arrow version has an even wider choice of supplements.

Amazon product
I am not yet 4K ready, and because of funds, I may never be, so that aspect doesn't concern me.

And while it's true the Arrow has a bunch of interviews with crew members and an essay about Toronto (none of which I really care about) not found on the Criterion, the one extra on the Criterion I'm dying to have; "Q&A from 1996 with Cronenberg and Ballard at the National Film Theatre in London" is NOT on the Arrow.

So I'm getting the Criterion.
 
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titch

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I am not yet 4K ready, and because of funds, I may never be, so that aspect doesn't concern me.

And while it's true the Arrow has a bunch of interviews with crew members and an essay about Toronto (none of which I really care about) not found on the Criterion, the one extra on the Criterion I'm dying to have; "Q&A from 1996 with Cronenberg and Ballard at the National Film Theatre in London" is NOT on the Arrow.

So I'm getting the Criterion.
And there will also be some who say, after all these years, that they aren't able to play region B-locked discs - so they will also be buying the Criterion. That's fine - it's great that we still have a choice. But the market is dwindling and it is foolish of Criterion to lose potential customers in this way. Dead Ringers is crying out for a decent transfer.
 

lark144

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And there will also be some who say, after all these years, that they aren't able to play region B-locked discs - so they will also be buying the Criterion. That's fine - it's great that we still have a choice. But the market is dwindling and it is foolish of Criterion to lose potential customers in this way. Dead Ringers is crying out for a decent transfer.
I've been multi-region for a long time and was planning on getting the Arrow. But I have to see that Q&A with Ballard! It's a must-have for me.

And yes, there are plenty of people who are region locked.
 

Chris_C

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4k UHD is already Region Free, and clear of any region restrictions. People who are either not region free or not 4k, I understand. I will be getting the Arrow and not the Criterion. I will be nice and leave it at that.
 

Ronald Epstein

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Thank you for supporting HTF when you preorder using the link below. If you are using an adblocker you will not see link. As an Amazon Associate HTF earns from qualifying purchases


 

lark144

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At least it's this Crash and not...well, you know. ;)
In my particular cinematic universe, this is the only "Crash" that exists.

It would be funny, though, to be a fly on the wall in someone's home theater, someone who rented Croneberg's "Crash" by accident, and wondering why this film is set in Toronto and who are these strange actors obsessing about car wrecks and then,...
 

lark144

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I think this is Croneberg's greatest film. It's meant to provoke and challenge and disturb. Unlike his earlier films of biological horror, which exist on the outside of a phenomena, and are almost Grand Guignol in some of their effects, this is purely internal; but an internal state one might say is altered and violated by technology merging with human anatomy on the level of the unconscious mind, as well as that of a world. Also, this isn't one body, as in "The Fly" or "Scanners" or Videodrome" but an entire community which is torn asunder and utterly transformed, so that the normal coordinates of thought and feeling--what the German philosophers called "Geist und Natur" (Spirit & Nature)--are reversed. In fact, in "Crash" there isn't a natural world at all, only an artificial one that utterly changes the way one thinks and feels and behaves, whose freakish coincidences turns into a kind of destiny for the characters in the film.

I'm posting this so those of you who haven't seen the film have an idea of what it might be about and whether you might be interested in it. While it's certainly of a piece with Croneberg's earlier films, it's even more challenging, both in form, which is extremely clinical, yet seems to change almost expressionistically from scene to scene, but is in reality only reflecting the changes the characters are going through, as well as the subject matter.
 
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