David Cronenberg is still sour about how his 1996 classic “Crash” was received upon release.
The controversial thriller, which is being re-released this weekend in a new 4K, won a Special Jury Prize at the ’96 Cannes Film Festival, but at the time, jury head Francis Ford Coppola noted that some jury members didn’t support the film’s recognition.
“Coppola was totally against it,” Cronenberg has now claimed in a new interview with The Canadian Press.
Asked if it was only Coppola who was against the film winning the top prize that year, the Canadian director said, “I think he was the primary one. When I’m asked why [‘Crash’] got this Special Jury Award, well, I think it was the jury’s attempt to get around the Coppola negativity, because they had the power to create their own award without the president’s approval. And that’s how they did it, but it was Coppola who was certainly against it.”
Based on a novel by J.G. Ballard, “Crash” stars James Spader, Holly Hunter and Elias Koteas as a group of people sexually excited by car crashes and injuries sustained during them.
In the years since, Cronenberg has never actually talked to Coppola about his animosity toward the film.
“The strange thing is that I’ve run into him several times at various festivals. Always the first thing he says is: ‘Remember, we gave you this award.’ I swore to myself that the next time he said that, I was going to remind him that he was not amongst those who wanted to give [‘Crash’] a prize,” Cronenberg said. “In fact, during the final closing night ceremony he wouldn’t hand me the award. He had someone else hand it to me. He wouldn’t do it himself.”
Asked if that seemed petty on Coppola’s part, Cronenberg said, “Yeah, I thought so. Because later I was president of the [Cannes] jury as well. You always end up with awards that maybe you don’t think are justified, but your team jury members do. You have to be gracious about it. I don’t think he was very gracious.”