David Cronenberg brings the dead to life with his film “The Shrouds”

At the Cannes Festival, the enigmatic American director David Cronenberg presented his latest film, “The Shrouds.” The title sets the tone. In this highly autobiographical work, the director tackles themes of absence and loss. A connected cemetery, AI… David Cronenberg keeps up with the times and also discusses the pitfalls of technology in the grieving process. Needless to say, here at Death Chronicles, we are very intrigued… and we can’t wait to see the film.

Grief, a universal yet deeply personal experience, raises heart-wrenching questions about how to survive the loss of a loved one. David Cronenberg’s film “The Shrouds,” exploring this theme with a unique and controversial approach, offers a singular perspective on how technology can influence our relationship with death and absence. Does it resonate with you? It does with us!

Karsh and GraveTech: a morbid response to loss

The central character, Karsh (played by Vincent Cassel), a former industrial videographer, answers these questions with a most morbid pragmatism. After losing his wife Becca (Diane Kruger) to cancer, Karsh invents a high-tech shroud that allows continuous filming of the decomposition of corpses. Through an app, families can follow in real time and in 3D the decomposition of their deceased loved ones.

This project, named GraveTech, is described as “a cemetery of the future.” Karsh, as both the founder and client of his own invention, finds paradoxical comfort in contemplating his wife’s skeleton. “Contemplating her skeleton comforts him,” a mindset that hardly reassures women considering sharing his life, except for Terry, Becca’s twin sister, who seems to understand him.

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The plot thickens when he notices the appearance of strange nodules on his wife’s skull, coinciding with several grave desecrations. This discovery drives Karsh into a spiral of paranoia, making him doubt his colleagues and even the artificial intelligence that serves as his personal assistant.

A partly autobiographical work

“The Shrouds,” written by David Cronenberg following the death of his own wife, weaves in many recurring themes from his oeuvre: death, twinship, physical mutations, and technology. Initially developed for Netflix as a series, the project, ultimately rejected by the platform, was transformed into a film with the support of Saint Laurent Productions.

The film is both a technical and emotional exploration. At 81 years old, David Cronenberg has created a deeply personal work. He explains in the press kit: “This drama touched me very deeply, and what was supposed to be a technical exploration gradually became an emotional and personal exploration.”

The film is imbued with a “floating beauty,” as one critic described it, following the journey of Karsh, “a slender figure with silver hair,” who almost mirrors Cronenberg himself.

The theme isn’t new since, for example, companies in Japan already offer AI-based technology to communicate with the deceased.

When reality meets fiction…

We will have to wait until September 25th to discover Cronenberg’s film…

Melissa T, a journalist and web writer, is the curious mind behind "Death Chronicles," an original blog that approaches death in a unique and unconventional way. Driven by a passion for the subject since her youth, she launched this blog to demystify death, providing accurate information with a touch of humor and irreverence. Melissa explores all aspects of death, from historical and cultural perspectives to medical advancements, while also addressing sensitive topics such as grief and funeral rituals. Her sensitive and empathetic approach gives a voice to those often forgotten in the narrative of death, and "Death Chronicles" has become an invaluable resource for those seeking to understand and celebrate the inevitable end of our earthly journey.

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