Naked Lunch

1991, Canada/U.K./Japan, 115m, 4K DCP

Showtimes & Tickets

Screened September 21, 2023

Part of the program

Welcome to Interzone as Cronenberg blends the life of the Beat Generation’s godfather William S. Burroughs with the junk-fuelled hallucinations of the author’s most famous work. Peter Weller plays William Lee, a writer and exterminator addicted to his own bug powder. After accidentally killing his wife Joan (Judy Davis), Lee escapes to Interzone at the suggestion of his typewriter (a giant talking roach) and the Mugwump (a hideous humanoid creature) — who are both counter-agents to the conspiracy of Interzone, Inc. Lee tumbles into this conspiracy, marred by the nefarious Dr. Benway (Roy Scheider), fugue states, love interests, black centipedes, sexual typewriters, and a whole kaleidoscope of hallucinations that will infect your subconscious if you let them.

Jeremy Thomas: I met Cronenberg after a screening of “Bad Timing” at Toronto Film Festival. I knew all his films intimately. I asked him, “Is there anything you want to make, as I’d love to work with you,” and he said, “Naked Lunch”. Like a flash of lightning: Burroughs and Cronenberg, yes I want to do that. I got the rights from Burroughs and his husband James Grauerholtz, and seven years later we were in Tangiers in the land of mugwumps. How great to pull a film like that off, impossible today.

A film by David Cronenberg