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Top 20 Alternative Picks for Cannes 2012: Brandon Cronenberg’s Antiviral

Antiviral – Brandon Cronenberg

Buzz: While it’s easy to get a nepotistic whiff from this film’s inclusion in the festival, all eyes (perhaps literally) will be on Brandon’s big unveiling to see how his brand of horror stacks up with his dad’s. Is it a tad obnoxious that this looks and sounds just like a film that Daddy Cronenberg would make? Sort of. But Cronenberg Sr. has an uncanny, god-given knack for getting under peoples’ skin, and we can only hope that these skills were somehow able to sneak their way into Brandon’s genetic make-up on that fateful night some 20 or 30-odd years ago . It’d be downright Cronenbergian.

The Gist: An expansion of themes and ideas from his short Broken Tulips, Antiviral is a biting satire of celebrity culture that takes its cues from the elder Cronenberg’s tradition of body horror and the ultra-realistic techno-futurism of latter day William Gibson. The picture is set in a near future world very similar to our own with the exception that celebrity obsession has now reached such a scale that the very famous are striking deals with scientific labs who culture their viral infections and sell them to fans desperate for a more intimate connection to their idols. You want to carry the exact strain of herpes that your favorite pop star is infected with? They can do that.

Blake Williams is an avant-garde filmmaker born in Houston, currently living and working in Toronto. He recently entered the PhD program at University of Toronto's Cinema Studies Institute, and has screened his video work at TIFF (2011 & '12), Tribeca (2013), Images Festival (2012), Jihlava (2012), and the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley. Blake has contributed to's coverage for film festivals such as Cannes, TIFF, and Hot Docs. Top Films From Contemporary Film Auteurs: Almodóvar (Talk to Her), Coen Bros. (Fargo), Dardennes (Rosetta), Haneke (Code Unknown), Hsiao-Hsien (Flight of the Red Balloon), Kar-wai (Happy Together), Kiarostami (Where is the Friend's Home?), Lynch (INLAND EMPIRE), Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs), Van Sant (Last Days), Von Trier (The Idiots)

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