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 »
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
David Cronenberg never changed. His predominant themes, although increasingly mature in exposure and direction, ring unchanged through time. "Stereo" is no exception. Shot without sound and just scientific mumbo-jumbo serving as a narrative Cronenberg explores the very essence of his obsessions: sexuality and degrees of human interaction with a typical cold and calculating manner. The story based around a scientific experiment by the Academy for Erotic Inquiry into inducing psychic communication through sexual relation, delves into issues so essential to Cronenberg's body of work. Certain ideas brought about are abundantly distributed around future movies, such as one man drilling his own forehead to release the voices ("Scanners") or an approach to detachment oddly reminiscent of "Dead Ringers".
In all essence "Stereo" is a pseudo-scientific elaborate. Psychic communication is brought about be proximity - without any social setting and relationship between two human beings psychic connection is just noise, only through closeness does this evolve to something more conscious, subliminal. However overly increased proximity causes loss of self or a growing sense of detachment from your own I. Such messages, rife with psychological context rummage throughout the movie, making it a somewhat fascinating and necessary experience for any Cronenberg aficionado, helping understand his future work. Nonetheless this aseptic experimental movie with long austere shots and little in terms of plot burdens the viewer to a degree that a loss of focus is almost a given, whilst a fast forward button seems a welcome option, despite its roughly 65 minutes runtime. Tiresome, but intricate, Cronenberg opened his career with an intriguing insight, but lacking any interest in viewer satisfaction, basically a self-indulgent crash course into issues evolved in his illustrious career.
For me personally "Stereo" was pure torture, but the intellectual content is pretty evident (whilst being a definite overreach typical for overzealous film students) and anyone aiming at writing a thesis on Cronenberg should definitely start off with this intricate quasi-documentary.
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