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Encyclopedia > Crash (1996 film)
Crash
Directed by David Cronenberg
Produced by David Cronenberg
Written by Novel:
J.G. Ballard
Screenplay:
David Cronenberg
Starring James Spader
Holly Hunter
Elias Koteas
Deborah Kara Unger
Rosanna Arquette
Music by Howard Shore
Cinematography Peter Suschitzky
Distributed by Flag of United States Fine Line Features
Flag of Earth Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) May 17, 1996
Budget $10,000,000 (estimated)
IMDb profile

Crash is a 1996 film written and directed by David Cronenberg. It is based on J. G. Ballard's novel Crash. It caused very considerable controversy on its release, being that it is a feature film about a group of people who take sexual pleasure from car accidents. Cronenberg has said that his agent at the time told him it would wreck his career, and begged him to direct The Juror instead.[citation needed] The film stars James Spader, Holly Hunter, Elias Koteas, Deborah Kara Unger and Rosanna Arquette. Image File history File links Crash DVD cover This image is of a DVD cover, and the copyright for it is most likely owned by either the publisher of the DVD or the studio which produced the movie in question. ... David Cronenberg at Cannes 2002 David Paul Cronenberg OC, FRSC (born March 15, 1943) is a Canadian film director and occasional actor. ... David Cronenberg at Cannes 2002 David Paul Cronenberg OC, FRSC (born March 15, 1943) is a Canadian film director and occasional actor. ... James Graham Ballard (born November 18, 1930 in Shanghai) is a British novelist. ... David Cronenberg at Cannes 2002 David Paul Cronenberg OC, FRSC (born March 15, 1943) is a Canadian film director and occasional actor. ... James Todd Spader (born February 7, 1960 in Boston, Massachusetts) is an American actor best known for his eccentric roles in movies such as sex, lies, and videotape (for which he won the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival), Stargate, and Secretary. ... Holly Hunter (born March 20, 1958 in Conyers, Georgia) is an Academy Award-winning American actress. ... Elias Koteas (born on March 11, 1961) is a Canadian actor. ... Deborah Kara Unger (born May 12, 1966 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) is a Canadian actress. ... Rosanna Lauren Arquette (born August 10, 1959) is an American actress, film director, and film producer. ... Howard Shore Howard Leslie Shore (born October 18, 1946) is a Canadian film composer, best known for composing the score to The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. ... Peter Suschitzky (born July 25, 1941) is a Polish-British cinematographer, born in Warsaw to fellow cinematographer Wolfgang Suschitzky. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_United_States. ... Fine Line Features was the speciality films division of New Line Cinema. ... Download high resolution version (1085x724, 102 KB)Earth flag created solely from public domain sources and released into the public domain by Derrick Coetzee. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... May 17 is the 137th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (138th in leap years). ... 1996 (MCMXCVI) was a leap year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty. ... 1996 (MCMXCVI) was a leap year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty. ... Film is a term that encompasses individual motion pictures, the field of film as an art form, and the motion picture industry. ... A screenplay or script is a blueprint for producing a motion picture. ... The film director, on the right, gives last minute direction to the cast and crew, whilst filming a costume drama on location in London. ... David Cronenberg at Cannes 2002 David Paul Cronenberg OC, FRSC (born March 15, 1943) is a Canadian film director and occasional actor. ... J.G. Ballard James Graham Ballard (born November 15, 1930 in Shanghai) is a British writer. ... A novel (from French nouvelle Italian novella, new) is an extended, generally fictional narrative, typically in prose. ... Crash is a novel by English author J. G. Ballard, first published in 1973. ... Look up Career in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The Juror is a 1996 film starring Demi Moore as Annie Laird, a single mother, picked for jury duty on one of the biggest Mafia trials. ... James Todd Spader (born February 7, 1960 in Boston, Massachusetts) is an American actor best known for his eccentric roles in movies such as sex, lies, and videotape (for which he won the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival), Stargate, and Secretary. ... Holly Hunter (born March 20, 1958 in Conyers, Georgia) is an Academy Award-winning American actress. ... Elias Koteas (born on March 11, 1961) is a Canadian actor. ... Deborah Kara Unger (born May 12, 1966 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) is a Canadian actress. ... Rosanna Lauren Arquette (born August 10, 1959) is an American actress, film director, and film producer. ...


It was opened to mixed reactions from critics, some, if not many, praised the film for its daring outline and originality, others critisced it for its graphic sexuality mixed with violence. It was the winner of the Golden Palm at the Festival de Cannes, in the end it won the special prize for daring, audacity, and originality.[1] The Palais des Festivals (2000) The Cannes Film Festival (French: le Festival international du film de Cannes or simply le Festival de Cannes) is the worlds most prestigious film festival, first held from September 20 to October 5, 1946 in the resort town of Cannes, in the south of...

Contents

Plot outline

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Set in Toronto, James Ballard (James Spader), a film producer, has a disconnected relationship with his wife, Catherine (Deborah Kara Unger). The couple are shown early on in the film engaging in various infidelities, and later having laconic sex, with their arousal only heightening when they discuss the intimate details of their extramarital sexual encounters. James Todd Spader (born February 7, 1960 in Boston, Massachusetts) is an American actor best known for his eccentric roles in movies such as sex, lies, and videotape (for which he won the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival), Stargate, and Secretary. ... Deborah Kara Unger (born May 12, 1966 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) is a Canadian actress. ... An adverb describing the tendency to convey an idea in the smallest possible number of words. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


While driving home from work late one night, Ballard's car collides head-on with another, killing the passenger. Trapped in the fused wreckages, the other car's driver, Dr. Helen Remington (Holly Hunter), exposes her breast to Ballard, perhaps deliberately. Holly Hunter (born March 20, 1958 in Conyers, Georgia) is an Academy Award-winning American actress. ...


While recovering, Ballard meets Dr. Remington again, as well as a man named Vaughan (Elias Koteas), who photographs the brace holding Ballard's shattered leg together. Elias Koteas (born on March 11, 1961) is a Canadian actor. ...


On leaving the hospital, Remington and Ballard begin to have an affair, one that is fueled primarily by their shared experience of the car crash (all of their sexual assignations take place in cars). In an attempt to make sense of why they are so aroused by their car wreck, they go to see one of Vaughan's cult meetings/performance pieces, an actual recreation of the car crash that killed James Dean with authentic cars and stunt drivers. Transport Ministry officials break up the event, and Ballard flees with Remington and Vaughan. James Byron Dean (February 8, 1931 – September 30, 1955) was an American film actor. ...


Ballard becomes a member of Vaughan's followers who fetishize car accidents, obsessively watching car safety test videos, photographing traffic accident sites and planning to recreate the crash that killed Jayne Mansfield. Ballard drives Vaughan's Lincoln convertible around the city while Vaughan picks up and uses street prostitutes, and later Ballard's wife. In turn, Ballard has a dalliance with one of the other group members, Gabrielle (Rosanna Arquette), a beautiful woman whose legs are clad in restrictive steel braces, and who has a vulva-like scar on the back of one of her thighs. The film's sexual couplings in (or involving) cars are not restricted to heterosexual experiences; while watching videos of car crashes, Dr. Remington becomes extremely aroused and gropes the crotches of both Ballard and Gabrielle, suggesting an imminent ménage à trois. Vaughan and Ballard eventually turn towards each other and have a homosexual encounter. Later on in the film, Gabrielle and Dr. Remington begin having lesbian sex at one point. A fetish (from French fétiche; from Portuguese feitiço; from Latin facticius, artificial and facere, to make) is a natural object believed to have supernatural powers, or in particular a man-made object that has power over others. ... Jayne Mansfield (born Vera Jayne Palmer, April 19, 1933—29 June 1967) was an American actress and Playboy centerfold. ... Rosanna Lauren Arquette (born August 10, 1959) is an American actress, film director, and film producer. ... The external genital organs of the female are collectively known as the vulva (plural vulvae, vulvas). ... Heterosexuality is a sexual orientation characterized by esthetic attraction, romantic love or sexual desire exclusively for members of the opposite sex or gender, contrasted with homosexuality and distinguished from bisexuality and asexuality. ... Look up ménage à trois in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Since its coinage, the word homosexuality has acquired multiple meanings. ... A lesbian is a woman who is romantically and sexually attracted only to other women. ...


Though Vaughan claims at first that he is interested in the "reshaping of the human body by modern technology", in fact his project is to live out the philosophy that the car crash is a "fertilizing rather than a destructive event, mediating the sexuality of those who have died with an intensity that's impossible in any other form".


The film's climax begins with Vaughan's death and ends with Ballard being involved in another car accident, this one involving his wife. The fetish for car crashes apparently has a strengthening effect on the Ballards' marriage; as he caresses her bruised frame in a field of grass near the accident, Ballard and his wife display much more affection for each other than they had previously shown at the start of the film.

Spoilers end here.

Responses

The film was extremely controversial, as was the book because of its graphic depictions of lurid, graphic sexual acts mixed with violence. This caused the UK tabloid press to condemn it as sick and evil,[citation needed] though a few papers pointed out that it was based on a novel by a respected author. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Although passed by the British Board of Film Classification with an 18 Certificate, the film was banned by Westminster Council, meaning it could not be shown in any cinema in Central London. In the United States, the film was released in both NC-17 and R versions. The ratings controversy has now subsided and the film is readily available on DVD. In Australia, it was given a very limited release due to controversy, showing only cut versions with an R18+ rating, it was later released uncut on VHS in early 1997, and then on DVD in 2003 with an R18+, in the American NC-17 version, it was branded with the tagline "The most controversial film in years". The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is the organisation responsible for film classification (see Motion picture rating systems and History of British Film Certificates) within the United Kingdom. ... Motion picture rating systems are issued to give moviegoers an idea of the suitability of a movie for children and/or adults in terms of issues such as sex, violence and bad language. ... The City of Westminster is a London borough and a city in its own right, situated to the west of the City of London and north of the River Thames. ... Central London is a much-used but unofficial and vaguely defined term for the most inner part of London, the capital of England. ... The MPAA film rating system is a system used in the United States and territories and instituted by the Motion Picture Association of America to rate a movie based on its content. ... DVD (commonly known as Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc) is an optical disc storage media format that can be used for data storage, including movies with high video and sound quality. ... Bottom view of VHS cassette with magnetic tape exposed Top view of VHS cassette with front casing removed The Vertical Helical Scan, better known by its abbreviation VHS (and often confused to be Video Home System) is a recording and playing standard for analog video cassette recorders (VCRs), developed by... DVD (commonly known as Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc) is an optical disc storage media format that can be used for data storage, including movies with high video and sound quality. ...


Daily Mail film critic Christopher Tookey famously opposed the movie.[citation needed]Parveen Adams, an academic who specialises in art/film/performance and psychoanalysis points out that the flat texture of the movie, achieved through various cinematic devices, prevents us from identifying with the characters in the way one might with a more mainstream movie. The viewer instead of vicariously enjoying the sex and injury, finds him or herself a disempassioned voyeur. She also points out that the scars borne by the characters are old and bloodless, in other words that they lack vitality. The wound is "not traumatizing" but, rather, "a condition of our psychical and social life". The Daily Mail is a British newspaper, a tabloid, first published in 1896. ...


Awards

The film was also praised by some critics, and it was nominated for the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival. In the end it won the special prize for daring, audacity, and originality.[2] Cannes Film Festival logo. ...


In 1996 the film won the Genie Award from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television in six categories including awards for Cronenberg as director and screenwriter. The film was also nominated for two further categories, among them for Cronenberg as producer. The Genie Awards are given out to recognize the best of Canadian films and television, by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. ... The Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television is a Canadian non-profit organization created in 1979 to recognize over 4,000 Canadian film industry and television industry professionals. ...


Crash was nominated in 1998 for the USA Motion Picture Sound Editors Award.


External links


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1996 is a leap year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty.
July 29 - The child protection portion of the Communications Decency Act (1996) is struck down as too broad by a US federal court.
September 22 - The Panhellenic Socialist Movement under the leadership of Costas Simitis succeeds in the Greek legislative election, 1996.
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