Sometime in the future, the Canadian Academy for Erotic Inquiry is investigating the theories of parapsychologist Luther Stringfellow. Seven young adults volunteer to submit to a form of ... See full summary »
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Sometime in the future, the Canadian Academy for Erotic Inquiry is investigating the theories of parapsychologist Luther Stringfellow. Seven young adults volunteer to submit to a form of brain surgery that removes their power of speech but increases their power for telepathic communication. An unseen group of students observes the results. As the experiment progresses, Stringfellow's theories come to fruition. Later, aphrodisiacs and various other drugs are introduced to the subjects to expose an inherent polymorphous perversity. In the end, they are isolated from each other, provoking antagonism and violence between them, which results in two suicides. Written by
Daeha Ko <email@example.com>
Cronenberg's first feature is a bizarre, distended thing, whose real star is the location. I'm guessing we're looking at York University campus; regardless, every obscure tableau he stages is self-consciously dwarfed by the forbidding institutional architecture that houses it. The sporadic voice-over that occasionally rises from the silence suggests that we're watching a narrative about a sexual telepathy clinic whose mandate goes seriously awry. If you concentrate, you can see how this relates to the on screen shenanigans in a linear and probably even preplanned way - it's not just precious mannerisms, although it is that as well. The film makes the most of its visual material with a special thing for fisheye pans, and it runs free love through a dystopian sci-fi wringer in a way that will be familiar to fans of his later work, even including a giveaway throw to "Scanners". But after a while it does get tedious, and while Cronenberg's iconoclasm remains enjoyable and felt, minimalist sci-fi on no budget was always easier to pull off in print than on screen.
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