"As a filmmaker, I ask questions but don't have answers. Moviemaking is a philosophical exploration. I invite the audience to come on the journey and discover what they think and feel," says visionary filmmaker David Cronenberg, who has been thrilling cinema-goers and winning accolades for his hard-hitting dramas and hi-tech horror films since the Sixties.
The director's philosophy obviously strikes a chord with both cinema goers and his industry peers, bringing international acclaim and numerous awards for the Canadian talent.
David was born in Toronto, Ontario, on March 15, 1943, to creative parents his mother was a piano player with the National Ballet, his father owned a bookstore and wrote for a local newspaper. When he first showed his own artistic abilities, it was in music rather than writing that he initially excelled, becoming a proficient classical guitar player before he was 12. It wasn't long, however, before he'd followed in his dad's literary footsteps by beginning to write and publish short stories.
A childhood fascination with insects - which was to make its way into his films - may have contributed to a decision to study science at the University of Toronto, where he enrolled in 1963. His interest in writing prevailed, however, leading him to switch courses and graduate with a degree in literature.
But it was when he ended up collaborating with a pal on student flick Winter Kept Us Warm in 1965, that the 22-year-old discovered a passion for making films. "I was stunned, shocked, exhilarated," says David of his life-changing initiation. "That won't happen to kids now because they've got video cameras and everybody has made 12 films by the time they've reached puberty. But then it was unprecedented. I said, 'I've got to try this!'."
A year later he had directed his first short film Transfer and went on to form, in the late Sixties, the Toronto Film Co-op.
His first big screen horror flick, Shivers, came in 1975, followed two years later by Rabid, which he wrote the script for and directed. But it was mid-Eighties films like Stephen King adaptation The Dead Zone and the multi-award-winning The Fly which cemented his movie-making credentials.
With a clutch of international movie honours under his belt, including a win at Cannes and a People's Choice Award in 2007 for Eastern Promises, the director is very much a part of mainstream Hollywood. That hasn't swayed him from the hard-hitting nature of his work, however. "My parents never tried to candy-coat the truth, to give me a false optimism that everything will be okay when we die," he explains."That's why my characters must confront life's tears: they must earn their peace."
In 1970, David married Margaret Hindson with whom he has a daughter, Cassandra. The couple's marriage foundered seven years later, however, and they divorced. He found love again in 1979 with his current wife Caroline Zeifman, with whom he has two children, daughter Caitlin born in 1984 and son Brandon, born a year later.
These days, although he directs Tinseltown names such as Ralph Fiennes, who starred in his 2002 thriller Spider, Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts, he has lost none of the passion and vision of approach which marked his earlier work. "I have no rules. For me, it's a full, full experience to make a movie," he says. "You're looking for every shot in the movie to have resonance and want it to be something you can see a second time, and then I'd like it to be something you can see ten years later, and it becomes a different movie, because you're a different person."