The list author says: "We had the opportunity to ask David Cronenberg to tell us some of his favorite books and movies. He was nice enough to oblige us with the list below along with his comments. With his latest movie "Eastern Promises" hitting theaters, it's no surprise that that was foremost on his mind. His response:"
"I thought it would be more interesting if I listed some things that I read and watched in preparation for the making of "Eastern Promises" than just listing a random bunch of things that I like. Among these are "The Mark of Cain," by Alix Lambert, not yet available on DVD. A companion piece to the Russian Criminal Tattoo books, this a very courageous documentary on the tattooing subculture in Russian prisons. I donÂt know how it ever got made, but itÂs beautiful, scary, and heartbreaking.""
"Cronenberg says: 'A masterpiece. A study of RussiaÂs most recent decade by a brilliant American journalist, who seems to have travelled and lived everywhere in Russian. Scary, depressing, shocking and beautiful.'"
"Cronenberg says: 'This new translation by Pevear and Volokhonsky of a book whose title is traditionally rendered as ÂThe PossessedÂ, delivers a raw, cruder, even more powerful Dostoevsky as he delves into the political chaos of Russia in the late 19th century. It is like an transparent egg in which one can see the Stalinist era preparing to hatch.'"
"Cronenberg says: 'A dry treatise by a sociologist whose subject is perfectly described by its title. Among other things, explains why many criminal Russian gangs in the early 1990s were originally sports teams.'"
"Cronenberg says: 'Fantastic, mind-blowing photo and graphics books documenting the subculture of tattooing in Russian prisons. These books altered the course of the script of ÂEastern PromisesÂ during re-writing.'"
"Cronenberg says: 'A photo essay of travels through Russia in winter. You will be depressed after looking at only the first three photos in this book. Brilliant and provocative. And, yes, depressing.'"
"Cronenberg says: 'A criminal mastermind controls Berlin from within an insane asylum. Made in 1933, the year that Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, it subtly equates Mabuse with Hitler, criminals with politicians. A classic German noir film.'"
"Cronenberg says: 'A Russian neo-noir (1997) about a young soldier who becomes a hit-man for a criminal gang. Classical in style, ultra-realistic and unsentimental. Reputedly held in high esteem by Russian criminals for its rare accuracy.'"
"Cronenberg says: 'A difficult but rewarding pseudo-sci-fi movie which manages to be more revealing of Russia in 1979 than any documentary. You will visit The Zone, and you will have a hard time leaving it.'"
"Cronenberg says: '"Stalker" features a lot of long takes with no cutting, but this movie, all 96 minutes of it, is a single, unedited shot that moves through 300 years of Russian history. How is that possible? You have to see it. Wonderful.'"