Stereo (1969) - Rotten Tomatoes

Stereo (1969)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

The first film by director David Cronenberg, the black and white, hour-long feature Stereo is more self-consciously avant-garde, and less visceral, than his later work. Nevertheless, many of the usual Cronenberg concerns are present: a futuristic setting, bizarre scientific experimentation, and an obsessive exploration of perverse forms of sexuality. Stereo borrows the structure of an educational film, masquerading as a documentary record of an experiment performed by The Canadian Academy for Erotic Inquiry, under the guidance of Doctor Luther Stringfellow. (Indeed, the film is almost entirely silent, except for a series of voice-overs by the experimenters.) The project centers around a series of surgical techniques that are designed to create the ability for telepathic communication. The scientists are successful, and proceed to examine the interaction between the experimental subjects, especially the rise to dominance of one of the telepaths. As the study progresses, the researchers introduce the telepaths to various drugs, including aphrodisiacs, to increase the intensity of their bond and induce a state of "omnisexuality." When the telepaths begin to isolate themselves, however, it becomes clear that the experiment has had unforeseen side effects -- effects that ultimately lead to violence. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi

Cast

Critic Reviews for Stereo

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (1)

...doors that won't open, enigmatic card games, long empty corridors and sex on an examination table make it all quite old fashioned, and the images are as formless as scrambled eggs.

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Clinical, sinuous, jagged

Full Review… | April 2, 2010
CinePassion

... essential to Cronenberg fans, (a) dispassionate portraitsof fictional experiments in the mutation of mankind in the near future.

Full Review… | May 19, 2009
Parallax View

Though it gave me a few guarded chuckles it was hardly worth the effort sitting through such a tedious affair.

Full Review… | February 18, 2007
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Difficult viewing, although there are some intriguing nuggets buried within

March 18, 2003
rec.arts.movies.reviews

Audience Reviews for Stereo

½

Cronenberg's first film should only please fans of his work, since it borders on pretentious (it is even hard to know weather it is meant to be taken serious or not) with poorly-edited, seemingly random images accompanied by a voice-over that is pure tedious psychobabble.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

½

It's interesting, but it's a hard watch when there is so much silence in the film. No background music, no dialogue, every once in a while a narration comes around but that's it for the audio. It's a case study of some sort. You can tell that Cronenberg was learning all about shots and the camera in his first film here. There are a lot of interesting shots and a lot of different camera movements and angles, so those are the best things in the movie for me. The narration and the case study are interesting as well. Other than that I wish there was at least some background music, that may have eased the watching experience.

Robert Alley
Robert Alley

Call this one an interesting failure. "Stereo"'s minimalism is compelling -- the film is black and white, and entirely silent (not even music) except for intermittent narration by a variety of speakers. The story involves a scientific study which induces telepathic bonds between a small number of subjects. Sexuality (both hetero- and homo-) comes into play as an enhancement of the telepathy's potency, and eventually this has a side effect of physical violence for reasons which were not all that clear to me. The flat, academic narration becomes a chore to process after awhile, and its intense, deadpan concentration on "big words" hinders efforts to pluck out the central plot advancements (which the visuals can't communicate on their own) . Still, the cinematography is stylish and the emergence of Cronenberg's favored techno-sexual themes is notable.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

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