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Filmed in black and white on the Scarborough campus of the University of Toronto, Cronenberg's first short feature announced the arrival of a powerful new cinematic imagination.
Cronenberg's first short feature — filmed on the Scarborough campus of the University of Toronto, in black-and-white 35mm with no sync sound — is about seven young adults who volunteer for an experiment conducted by parapsychologist Luther Stringfellow (Ronald Mlodzik) at the fictional Canadian Academy of Erotic Inquiry. After having their telepathic potential augmented through brain surgery, the subjects are isolated in a stark, modernist building, where researchers encourage them to enhance their abilities through polyamorous sexual exploration. But as the volunteers' abilities develop, their overseers find the experiment slipping ever further out of their control... Making clever use of the unviersity's brutalist architecture, Stereo features numerous motifs that would reappear in Cronenberg's later work — sex and sexuality, arrogantly overreaching scientists, and speculative visions of a potential posthumanist future — and announced the arrival of a powerful new cinematic imagination.