There's something about car crashes. Traffic slows to a standstill, even if the wreck is thoroughly off the road and out of the way of functional motorists. But, we like to watch. We like to see the destruction, the broken metal. It's a perverse fascination we have as humans. David Cronenberg made a movie about it in 1996, based on the novel by J.G. Ballard, entitled Crash. (This is not the 2004 Oscar winner for Best Picture.) The film, a metaphor for humanity's obsession with technology, is about a group of people who become sexually aroused by car crashes. They drive around looking for wrecks, take pictures, watch videos, even wreck cars themselves, all in an attempt to receive sensual satisfaction. It's a bizarre film, but an excellent film. (Be sure to get the original NC-17 version and not the R-rated cut.)
In the month of April, the Louisville Film Society presents the Car Cine-Club, a weekly series of films having to do with cars, and the first installment is likewise about car crashes orchestrated for sinister purposes. The film is The Cars That Ate Paris, the first feature film by Peter Weir, director of The Truman Show and The Dead Poet's Society.
The Paris of the title is a fictional town in Australia in which the residents cause all passing motorists to crash, then sell off any and all valuables. This is the means to their economy. Then come the brothers Arthur and George, the latter of which is killed in their wreck, but Arthur survives and is taken on as an orderly at the hospital. Conflict escalates as the horrible truth behind the town of Paris becomes clear.
The Louisville Film Society presents The Cars That Ate Paris tomorrow, Tuesday, at the Dreamland Film Center at 7:00. Cine-Club screenings are free but are only open to LFS members; memberships will be sold at the door. Dreamland is located at 810 E. Market Street. Complete information can be found at the LFS website.
Image: Internet Movie Database