How can the duo of red and green, the charming pair that conjures up Christmas cheer possibly be associated with something as dark as heroin addiction? On the color wheel, red and green are complimentary colors, meaning when used together, achieve the highest level of intensity and contrast. Typically, I shy away from the use of red and green in my artwork because the viewer’s association with Christmas is so instantaneous and unavoidable. It is an immense undertaking to reassign that symbolic association, but director David Cronenberg succeeds in appropriating red and green as a device to illustrate the effects of heroin in the film adaptation of Naked Lunch (also a feat in itself as the novel by William S. Burroughs was billed as “unfilmable.”)
Tag: Naked Lunch
“Hustlers of the world, there is a mark you cannot beat: the mark inside.”
-William S. Burroughs
And with that opening epitaph, we willingly immerse ourselves in the private nightmare of exterminator/secret agent William Lee in Naked Lunch, a watermark achievement in David Cronenberg’s body of work, and an event that in retrospect seems inevitable. William Burroughs penchant for the grotesque and absurd melds with Cronenberg’s compulsion to “Show the unshowable, speak the unspeakable,” and results in a repulsive and brilliant thriller that explores identity, addiction at large, and what it really means to be a writer.