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David Lynch shorts (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on September 23, 2014

I hadn’t seen any of these in at least 10 years, it was quite a treat to revisit them.

Six Figures Getting Sick – Lynch’s first work is an animated loop, less than a minute in length.  Certainly bizarre and kind of amusing.  Surprising use of color.  It’s really not bad for what it is, but what it is isn’t a whole lot.  Rating: Good (70)

The Alphabet – More animation, with some live action also in the mix.  Lynch doesn’t get enough credit for his sense of humor.  Strange and nightmarish but also funny in the unexpected directions it goes.  Pure dream logic in how it unfolds, impenetrable but fascinating.  The crying baby sounds look forward to Eraserhead.  Rating: Good (79)

The Grandmother – A childhood escape fantasy gone awry.  I love to imagine Lynch sculpting the, uh, “pod” in its various stages of development.  Amazing and often hilarious sound design.  You can really see the connection from Lynch to Guy Maddin with this one.  By far the longest of these shorts, and perhaps it wears out its welcome in a few spots, but overall a nice glimpse at budding greatness.  Rating: Very Good (83)

The Amputee – Something whipped together in a day, for the purposes of testing two different black and white video stocks.  For a gross-out gag it’s actually kinda funny, but still it’s just the one gag.  However, it’s a hoot to see Lynch in nurse drag, and Catherine Coulson long before her memorable role as the “Log Lady”.  Rating: Fair (66)

Premonitions Following an Evil Deed – Lynch’s contribution to the omnibus film Lumière and Company, in which 40 filmmakers were given a camera originally used by the pioneering brothers and asked to make a film no more than 55 seconds long, with no sync sound, no more than 3 takes, and (according to Lynch) without doing any editing.  I’ve never seen the complete film, but it seems like most people agree Lynch’s segment is the best.  It certainly is beautiful and given the restrictions seems to be masterfully planned and executed.  I should really get around to checking out the whole thing one day, there are some interesting directors involved (Greenaway, Chahine, Lee, Kiarostami, Zhang and Ullmann especially).  Rating: Very Good (86)

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