It’s easy to forget a new David Cronenberg film premieres in, let’s say, seven months, perhaps at a film festival, maybe one in the south of France. (Or four months in Berlin, 11 months in Venice.) Whatever and whenever, it’s sure to be one of 2024’s great cinematic happenings, and likely most affecting: I’ve assumed for a bit that The Shrouds––concerning an “innovative businessman and grieving widower who builds a device to connect with the dead inside a burial”––would reflect the passing of his wife, Carolyn, who died in 2017 after 38 years of marriage. The man’s seemed ruminative recently: Crimes of the Future (to my mind) clearly exemplified an artist wondering whether their influence became fruitful or malignant.

Shrouds star Diane Kruger (replacing the once-cast Léa Seydoux) more or less confirmed this much to Variety, telling them it “might be his most personal film, because it talks about him and the passing of his wife.” Elaborating on this point, the actress offered an insight into the filming process: “I knew it was so close to him and he was a little bit detached because of it. I could feel him being so vulnerable.”

The Shrouds will feature Kruger in multiple roles––the wife of Vincent Cassel’s (update your Cronenberg name charts) Karsh, that character’s sister, and “an avatar, a sort of personal assistant.” I’ve also heard, not unreliably, that it’s a tougher sell than the director’s name and known cast suggests: note that no one’s yet bought the film stateside (contra Neon providing financing and securing distribution on Crimes in pre-production) and those who’ve read the script aren’t quite sure what to do with the thing. This, of course, is only the best news: Cronenberg’s is not a sensibility that suffers from dilution or corner-cutting.

Here’s a full synopsis for The Shrouds:

“Karsh’s revolutionary business is on the verge of breaking into the international mainstream when several graves within his cemetery are vandalized and nearly destroyed, including that of his wife. While he struggles to uncover a clear motive for the attack, the mystery of who wrought this havoc, and why, will drive Karsh to reevaluate his business, marriage and fidelity to his late wife’s memory, as well as push him to new beginnings.”

No more articles