In David Cronenbergs hallucinatory masterpiece, Videodrome, you are what you watch. Working simultaneously as horror, science fiction and media commentary, the film tells the story of mercenary TV executive Max Renns encounter with a brutal television program, the shadowy cabal thats producing it and the bizarre changes that watching it trigger within him. And now that no-plot, all-violence and torture-as-entertainment programming foretold in this 1983 film are part of our everyday media landscape, Videodrome has an eerie resonance that makes its disturbing imagery and brain-twisting ideas all the more frightening and revelatory.
The film is a favorite of Pablo Kjolseth, director of the International Film Series, and he selected it for the Apocalypse and Dystopia Now program because of its themes of apocalypse and transformation. It has both of those elements. The ending has that whole idea that humanity might be converted into the new flesh, he explains. The film seems incredibly prophetic. As a society, our attention spans are getting fragmented. Its getting harder to pay attention to old media. Theres so much information out there, and its getting smaller. Our brains are actually changing how we process information. It changes the wiring. Long live the new flesh, indeed.