- Title: USA: 'CRASH' PREMIERES IN LOS ANGELES
- Date: 1st March 1997
- Summary: BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES ) ( MARCH 19, 1997) (REUTERS ) EXTERIOR OF THEATRE "CRASH" DIRECTOR DAVID CRONENBERG ARRIVING ROSANNA ARQUETTE ARRIVES AND HUGS HER SISTER, PATRICIA HOLLY HUNTER (SOUNDBITE ENGLISH ) SAYING IT'S UNSPEAKABLE (ANSWERING WHAT'S THE STRANGEST EXPERIENCE SHE'S HAD IN A CAR). HUNTER CONTINUES, HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE BEEN CONCEIVED IN THE BACK SEATS OF CARS, NOTHING NEW THERE. DAVID CRONENBERG CANNOT TAKE CREDIT CRONENBERG, (ANSWERING SAME QUESTION), (SOUNDBITE ENGLISH ) SAYING I DON'T THINK I CAN TALK ABOUT THAT ONE DEBORAH UNGER, (ANSWERING SAME QUESTION), (SOUNDBITE ENGLISH ) SAYING I WAS IN AN ACCIDENT LAST WEEK
- Reuters ID: LVABB6IKVTB90LKKVTA91U7BBKBO
- Location: BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Duration: 00:00:51
- Story Text: One of the year's most controversial films has finally premiered in Los Angeles.
"Crash", from Canadian director David Cronenberg, opened with a celebrity bash in California last week (March 19).
The film had been scheduled for release last autumn but its American distributors delayed it until now. The picture, which features people sexually aroused by car crashes, has been a the centre of censorship row in Britain and the U.S.
Its stars, Holly Hunter, Deborah Unger and Rosanna Arquette, joined Cronenberg for its delayed West Coast showing.
An adaptation of British writer JG Ballard's novel, "Crash", won a prize for "audacity" at last year's Cannes Film Festival but has had a harder time just getting to the screen.
In Britan, censors agreed the film could be shown, uncut, but it is still to be given a release date.
Cronenberg appears somewhat bemused by the controversy, particularly in England. He describes his film as a meditation on sex, technology and mortality.
But its subject matter is so extreme that many find the idea of the film a major turn-off.
James Spader plays James Ballard, who with his wife Catherine (Deborah Unger), try to keep their marriage alive through shared infidelities and machine fetishes.
Ballard survives a major car crash and finds himself aroused in his new car with Helen (Holly Hunter), a survivor whose husband was killed in the wreck.
The charismatic Vaughan (Elias Koteas) is an obsessive explorer of the erotic potential of car accidents. He draws Ballard and Helen into his subculture where the fatal smashes of James Dead and Jayne Mansfield are recreated as pornographic performance art.
Ballard is fascinated with Vaughan and his cronies, including Rosanna Arquette. He becomes part of this subculture and looks for ways involve Catherine, plotting to involve her in a car crash.
Hunter had one word for the making of the film - intimidating.
"It was intimidating thinking about doing the movie, it was intimidating doing the movie, it was intimidating seeing it. It's intimidating hearing other people's responses to it," she said.
"Now I'm much more comfortable with the afterlife of the movie which is one of pretty exciting controversy. Yes, it's all been intimidating but very gratifying." Cronenberg attributes most of the controvery in Europe to England and "this weird island mentality".
"It's a seige mentality where they feel they're going to be contaminated by these things coming from the outside world," he told Reuters.
That fear may be extended to London's inner city local council, Westminster, which has blocked "Crash" from being seen in the city's largest West End cinemas.
The film's UK distributors hope that ruling will eventually be overturned.
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