Above The Line/ Crash at Withington Public Hall Institute

Tom Grieve, Cinema Editor

Above The Line/ Crash at Withington Public Hall Institute, Manchester 20 June 2021 Tickets from £4.69 — Book now

Cult Canadian film director David Cronenberg found something like his ideal text in J.G. Ballard’s Crash. Preoccupied with the same mix of violence, sex, technology and bodily modification that characterised such films as Videodrome, Naked Lunch and The Fly, Ballard’s account of a sub-culture of automobile freaks, who get off on the mangled flesh and metal of car accidents, was not an obvious candidate adaptation for the big screen — but it did make perfect sense as a Cronenberg film.

Entwining the two artists’ sensibilities, the film version of Crash stars James Spader and Deborah Kara Unger as married couple James and Catherine Ballard. Bored with their already adventurous sex lives, the two find renewed vitality when a deadly collision leads to a meeting with a group of car crash fetishists led by battered stunt driver Vaughan (Elias Koteas), who stages reenactments of famous accidents and carries a folder full of gruesome medical photographs.

The film has a coldness and sterility to it. The characters cruise the Toronto freeways, finding new sexual configurations as the camera lingers on crumpled metal, ripped leather and torn skin. The car, such an integral part of the functioning of the modern world, has become an extension of the human body: thus rendering the on-screen transgressions a perfectly rational progression. Today, in an era of smartphones and augmented reality, this perverse blend of body and technology is only increasingly familiar.

As with Ballard’s novel in the 1970s, Cronenberg’s Crash was intensely and viscerally rejected by popular society when it was released in 1996, with Westminster City Council going as far to ban the film from screening in its borough. Above The Line’s screening allows audiences another shot at seeing this exhilarating, challenging work of cinema with a crowd.

Above The Line/ Crash at Withington Public Hall Institute, Manchester 20 June 2021 Tickets from £4.69 Book now

Where to go near Above The Line/ Crash at Withington Public Hall Institute

Manchester
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Fuel Cafe

Withington is home to Fuel Cafe, who serve only vegetarian and vegan food, as well as hosting quiz nights and lively open mics. They are well known for their hangover busting, meat free, full breakfast menu, and the decor is pleasantly found-object-eclectic.

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Libertine

Libertine is a wonderful new restaurant and bar based in an old bank, from the talented team behind Cottonopolis and Edinburgh Castle.

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Ice Shack

The first all-vegan desserts parlour in the North, also sold at high-profile venues such as the Deaf Institute, Greens, Croma and more.

City Centre
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Monkey Trio

Manchester’s first ever Japanese sake bar, Monkey Trio, is unique in the city. Visit for an evening of quiet luxury.

Burton Road, West Didsbury
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Sofra

Authentic Mediterranean food, including Greek and Lebanese classics, at the heart of Didsbury’s bustling Burton Road.

A Taste of Honey
Manchester
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A Taste of Honey

A Taste Of Honey is a charming deli (and CBD store) based in West Didsbury on the popular Burton Road.

Greens Didsbury
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Greens Didsbury

Simon Rimmer’s Greens is one of the most well-known and respected veggie restaurants in Manchester and the North. 

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