The Fly

dir. David Cronenberg

The Fly

dir. David Cronenberg

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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David Cronenberg's remake of the fondly remembered 1950s creature feature — about a brilliant, eccentric scientist (Jeff Goldblum) who finds himself undergoing a hideous transformation following a botched teleportation experiment — is one of the signature films in his oeuvre.

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Cronenberg's remake of the fondly remembered 1958 creature feature (his second Hollywood film and second adaptation) was his biggest critical and box-office success to date, and remains a signature film in his oeuvre. Brilliant, eccentric scientist Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) meets journalist Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) at a press conference, and soon reveals to her his top-secret project: a teleportation device that can instantaneously transport matter from one location to another. Shortly after he and Veronica become romantically involved, Brundle impulsively decides to use himself as the first human test subject for the "telepod." The trial is a success — until Brundle begins to realize that a housefly went through the teleportation with him and fused with his cells, which is slowly, gruesomely transforming him into a new kind of organism ("Brundlefly"). A powerful allegory for the physical ravages of disease, The Fly also sees the culmination of Cronenberg's visionary-scientist archetype in Brundle, with the crucial difference that the site of experimentation is now his own body; scientist and subject have fused into one, and Brundle's simultaneous terror of and fascination with his phsyical mutation (and the frightening psychological changes that accompany it) is perhaps Cronenberg's most moving depiction of the human cost of "progress."