Viewers disgusted by the horrifying scenes in Crimes of the Future reportedly walked out of Monday’s Cannes Film Festival premiere.
The film – starring Kristen Stewart, Léa Seydoux and Viggo Mortensen – is filled with scenes of child autopsies, bloody guts, body mutations and people climaxing from licking open wounds.
The majority of the exits reportedly took place within the film’s first five minutes, but one particularly grotesque scene in which Seydoux licked an open wound sent others out the door as the film progressed. Both Variety and the Daily Mail reported strikes, but Entertainment Weekly claimed there were none.
Reporter for the New York Times Kyle Buchanan tweeted from the theater that he counted 15 people who left the cinema during the screening because of “particularly rough plot developments”.
Although the film was too much for some, the film, directed by David Cronenberg, ended up receiving a seven-minute standing ovation from the remaining viewers.
But Cronenberg wasn’t shocked by the dramatic reactions from viewers. “There are some very strong scenes. I mean, I’m sure we’re going to have strikes within the first five minutes of the film. I’m sure of it,” he predicted.
“Some people who saw the film said they think the last 20 minutes will be very tough for people and there will be a lot of strikes. One guy said he almost had a panic attack.”
The film welcomed the return of Cronenberg’s body horror style, a genre credited to the Canadian director.
Mortensen and Seydoux are performance artists Saul Tenser and Caprice who grow and remove human organs on stage in front of a live audience. Stewart plays Timlin, an investigator dealing with Accelerated Evolution Syndrome, the disease that allows Mortensen and Seydoux to perform at their best.
“As the human species adapts to a synthetic environment, the body undergoes new transformations and mutations. Accompanied by his partner, the famous performance artist Saul Tenser [Mortensen] shows the metamorphosis of his organs. Meanwhile, a mysterious group tries to use Saul’s fame to shed light on the next phase of human evolution.”
Buchanan, who is aware of Cronenberg’s body horror, noted that “the most shocking thing” about the film was Stewart’s “outlandish voice,” which claimed that her Oscar-nominated role in
“‘Spencer’ must have really unleashed something in her.”
The film competes for the Palme d’Or (the highest award at the Cannes Film Festival) and is set to hit theaters on June 2nd.