Cronenberg’s “The Fly”

November 16th, 2006 — 2:50pm

I turned in to the last 15 minutes of KQED Forum today, and heard the film critic Kenneth Turan from the LA Times talk about his new book “Now in Theaters Everywhere.”

One caller asked him what he thought about David Cronenberg’s “The Fly,” and Turan dismissed it.
This might be the first time I actually wanted to call into Forum (but I was driving and didn’t have the 800 number). What I would have said to him was that The Fly is one of the most beautiful, heartbreaking films ever made on what it means to be human, and to love, knowing that you and everything around you will inevitably decay.

It’s been a decade since I last watched the movie, but I remember how deeply affected I was. I was so moved by it, but I wouldn’t have been able then to explain to you why. Until one day, my friend, the movie critic David Edelstein told me that Cronenberg’s father was dying (or had died — my memory isn’t entirely clear on this ) of a degenerative illness, as he filmed Jeff Goldblum turn into an insect. My own father, died of a degenerative illness when I was in my early twenties. And somehow, because of Cronenberg’s talent, I felt this viscerally.

I know Cronenberg has his detractors, but I think he’s remarkable.

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