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Festivalgoers Reportedly Walked Out Of Kristen Stewart’s New Film During Grotesque Scenes

Kristen Stewart has been known by mainstream audiences for playing Bella in the young adult film franchise The Twilight Saga which is now reaching a new generation of fans through Netflix.  She recently got Oscar recognition for being nominated for Best Actress for playing the ill-fated Princess Diana in Spencer. Although Stewart’s latest Cannes project did not exactly have fans staying until the end, as its grotesque scenes caused festival-goers to walk out.

Map to the Stars' David Cronenberg’s new film festival project, Crimes of the Future, had festival-goers running for the hills as they witnessed graphic yet erotic surgery scenes. I never thought that would ever be a combo! Variety reports that the dystopian film stars Viggo Mortensen as a performance artist who publicly showcases the changes in his organs in a pseudo-sexual way. Kristen Stewart plays an employee at the transplant center who, at one point, purrs to him in the trailer, “Surgery is the new sex.” This shocker of a film features a gory child autopsy scene, bloody intestines, orgies after licking each other’s wounds, and a chair shaped like a human spine. I wouldn't eat popcorn while watching this movie.

While the critics stayed for the duration of the film, Variety said that five people left the theater as they could not stomach what was in front of them. However, The New York Times reporter Kyle Buchanan saw a bigger number leave. He tweeted that he counted 15 people who walked out and that “maybe walkouts are the new standing ovation.” 

Kyle Buchanan could have a point as reports of people walking out of a film could intrigue a person’s curiosity and lure them into seeing it. For example, Daniel Radcliffe’s Swiss Army Man had people walking out due to so many scenes of flatulence and masturbation. The same occurred with Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Revenant as a few people walked out due to the overwhelming gore in the film. Clearly, some audiences cannot stomach what is on-screen which can be seen as a compliment to the filmmakers for making the gross factor look so real.

The walkouts did not exactly shock David Cronenberg as he predicted before the film was shown that this would happen. The Fly director spoke to Variety about his reaction towards the walkouts and what the audience of Cannes is actually like.

The audience in Cannes is a very strange audience. It’s not a normal audience. A lot of people are there just for the prestige or for the red carpet. And they’re not cinephiles. They don’t know my films. So they might be walkouts, whereas a normal audience would have no problem with the movie. So who knows?

Despite the people who did not stay from beginning to end, Crimes of the Future still received a seven-minute standing ovation from those who stayed. This proves that while there may be certain scenes that you can’t handle while watching a movie, it is best to stay until the end as the final outcome could be worth it. While I, personally, would stick around for any horror gross-out film, maybe a comedy that just wasn’t funny would be enough for me to leave like walking out of Holmes & Watson. The entertainment factor is my priority for watching a film compared to being bored and looking at my watch for how much time is left.

Kristen Stewart’s career is going nowhere but up as she’s delving into films that take a turn away from the young-adult films we’re used to seeing her in. She’ll be in a new A24 drama about the female bodybuilding world as well as making her directorial debut for The Chronology of Water based on the Lidia Yuknavitch memoir. Doesn’t look like there will be any pseudo-sexual gore that will make people walk out of these upcoming projects. You can watch the upcoming film Crimes of the Future in theaters on June 3rd.

Carly Levy
Carly Levy

Just your average South Floridian cinephile who believes the pen is mightier than the sword.