Cannes 2012: David, Brandon Cronenberg Share Stories, Jokes at Panel

 

The Festival de Cannes may have accidentally birthed the next great comedic double act: The Cronenbergs. Or perhaps Dave and Bran.

Filmmakers David and his son Brandon Cronenberg played out a humorous double act as they talked about being the first father and son team to bring movies to the festival at the same time in the French event's storied history.

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Cronenberg senior, whose Cosmopolis opens In Competition later this week, acted the fatherly fool while Brandon, whose Un Certain Regard entry Antiviral has unspooled did laconic.

The conversation between the two, moderated by Toronto International Film Festival artistic director Cameron Bailey, opened the door for the jokes early.

Asked to respond to what it felt like for the pair to both have a film showing at the Festival de Cannes it went to David, who batted it back to Brandon who went back to David, forcing the senior member of the panel to come up with something.

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"It is pretty great to see Brandon going up the red carpet," Cronenberg said. "I said to people it took me 20 years to get to Cannes and look, here he [Brandon] is with his first film. It was very touching and terrific."

Brandon followed, eventually, deadpanning, "It was all really adorable and quite emotional."

It set the tone for a packed event organized by Telefilm Canada titled Master & Son: The Cronenbergs at Cannes.

Cronenberg junior explained how he was "probably" deliberately not interested in filmmaking for a while, largely "because people approached me with all sorts of preconceptions" because of his father, "and that was sort of obnoxious."

But eventually, around the age of 24, "Bran" as David Cronenberg calls him, decided to make a film because it provided the perfect place to collect the various arts forms he enjoys -- writing, visual art and the technical discipline required to produce things -- in one place. But it was the father and son dynamic that constantly provided the laughs.

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When asked if they had watched films together, Brandon said he couldn't really remember. His father dove in to assist him, reminding him it had been spoof disaster laugher Airplane. "He didn't laugh though," said Cronenberg senior, pausing before adding "which I thought was interesting."

So had Brandon taken any inspiration from his father's oeuvre?

"I don't think he's seen any of my movies," David said.

Brandon corrected him immediately. "I think I watched Fast Company once," he said. "Which is about drag racing."

Said David: "Not my usual kind of movie but one I am very proud of."

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About half way through the event itself began to take on a very Cronenberg-esq atmosphere as a woman's eerie screaming got louder and louder and more and more intense outside the hotel venue the conference was being held in.

Neither Cronenberg reacted to the blood-curdling screams that eventually faded, dealing with issues of parenting instead.

Asked if his father had offered script notes for what became his big screen debut, Brandon said: "I kept shoving the script under my bedroom door but he wouldn't take them and I couldn't get out."

"We'll talk about that later," David said, adopting a faux stern manner.

One thing father Cronenberg did insist on throughout the entertaining event was that most of his decisions came down to "lazy parenting."

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