David Cronenberg’s ‘The Shrouds,’ About a Corpse-Obsessed Widow, Gets Polite 3.5-Minute Standing Ovation at Cannes

David Cronenberg’s “The Shrouds,” the horror auteur’s latest film about a widow who invents technology to see inside his late wife’s grave, received a 3.5-minute standing ovation at its Cannes premiere on Monday night.

The crowd showed their respect for the Cannes legend with applause after the credits rolled, but it was lackluster as audience members digested the film, which is a departure from Cronenberg’s usual out-of-the-box body horror. Instead, “The Shrouds” is a thoughtful exploration of grief and technology, and though there are several gross-out moments, the film relies on emotion more than anything.

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“This is the first time I’ve seen the movie with an audience, and it’s completely different,” Cronenberg said after the clapping died down. “I’m very happy that you are all here.”

Described as an arthouse horror film, “The Shrouds” stars Vincent Cassel, Diane Kruger, Guy Pearce and Sandrine Holt. It follows a prominent businessman who has become inconsolable after the death of his wife. He creates a new technology, called GraveTech, which “enables the living to monitor their dear departed in their shrouds,” according to the film’s synopsis. One night, multiple graves are desecrated, and the businessman sets out to find the perpetrators.

Cassel, Kruger, Pearce and Holt were all on hand at the film’s premiere, and each embraced Cronenberg after the movie finished.

In an interview with Variety, Cronenberg said “The Shrouds” is a very personal film for him, having been partly inspired by the death of his wife, Carolyn Cronenberg, in 2017.

“Grief is forever, as far as I’m concerned. It doesn’t go away,” he said. “You can have some distance from it, but I didn’t experience any catharsis making the movie.”

Cronenberg, known as the originator of the body horror genre, has long been a mainstay at Cannes. His 1996 film “Crash” won the festival’s jury prize, and he has had six films play in competition: “Spider” (2002), “A History of Violence” (2005), “Cosmopolis” (2012), “Maps to the Stars” (2014) and “Crimes of the Future” (2022). He was also awarded Directors’ Fortnight’s prestigious Golden Coach award in 2006.

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