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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I can't say that I'm a Cronenberg fan since I haven't seen many of his movies and those that I have seen consists largely of his later works. I also can't say that stereo was the kind of movie I was expecting, since the topic hasn't been the most popular subject in those movies that can be considered to contain any individuality. I wasn't badly disappointed or gladly surprised because this movie was indeed a bit rough. Still the subject and Cronenbergs approach to it feels quite fresh. Filming takes place in an architecturally interesting building complex. The building is filmed from inside and outside, but in any shots no other buildings can be seen. This gives a nice enigmatic touch on the setting.
I found it surprising how this movie tried to combine sexual behavior and pseudo scientific telepathy by using scientific biological and psychological approaches. The film doesn't try in any point to explain how telepathy is actually achieved, but instead feeds the viewer with supposedly scientific data that is related to telepathy (for example. functions on how strength of telepathic linkage is correlated on the distance of two telepathic persons, how emotions affect telepathy etc.). Things told by the narrator are related to the images on the screen. He explains how emotions, such as love, are manipulated in an scientific experiment, as a method on gathering information about telepathy. There is no soundtrack, dialog or SFX, only the narrators voice. The fact that all that is happening on the screen is explained in scientific terms/reasoning, without any scientific justification, might make the "story" a little tough piece to swallow.
Time to time the movie doesn't seem to progress very rapidly: There are some long scenes where expressions are extensively filmed and some of them are almost funny (for example when one subject very slowly raises his hand to his mouth while looking straight forward and one scene where man is eating a chocolate bar, seem to last for an eternity). As the movie is carried forward by the narrator, the scenes where he is silent are completely quiet. I don't consider this helpful while trying to keep audience interested on the subject. Since visual part of this movie can't by itself tell much to audience and is better left on the background to be explained by the narrator. This sure isn't a mainstream movie and it is also a rare piece in it's subject and style. I certainly don't regret watching this, but as a word of warning, it might not be too easy to watch. However this movie wasn't made just to entertain audience, as later works by Cronenberg and despite low entertainment value, it is one of the most interesting movies I have seen from him. If this one feels too heavy to watch, check out 'The Fly' (as you probably already have), though I liked 'Naked Lunch' the best.
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