Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Short Films of David Lynch

Last night, I decided to begin watching all the short films of great American director David Lynch.  He is known for dark, surreal movies like Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, and the amazing TV series Twin Peaks.  Throughout his career, beginning when he was an art student, Lynch has also made a series of short films.  They are almost all on youtube, and so I decided to compile them into a sort of playlist for easy viewing. I did a little research on each one, as a kind of intro.  Here they are, in chronological order:

1.) Six Men Getting Sick (1966).  This is a one-minute short film of an animated painting Lynch made while he was an art student in Philadelphia.

2.) The Alphabet (1968).  Combines animation and live action.  It was based on a bad dream his wife had when she started saying the alphabet in her sleep in a tormented way.

3.) The Grandmother (1970).  Combines live action and animation.  Tells a surreal story about a boy who grows a grandmother to escape his abusive parents.

4.) The Amputee (1973).  Made while Lynch's first feature film Eraserhead was in financial limbo, the film is a single shot about a woman with no legs writing a letter while a nurse attends to her stumps.

5.) The Cowboy and the Frenchman (1988).  Significant time elapsed between "The Amputee" and "The Cowboy and the Frenchman."  In this time, Lynch had become a successful and critically-acclaimed feature filmmaker.  I could not find the full film online, but this clip is pretty awesome, featuring Harry Dean Stanton as a cowboy confused by the possessions of a Frenchman.

6.) Industrial Symphony No 1: The Dream of the Brokenhearted (1990).  This is an avant-garde musical play by Lynch and musician Angelo Badalamenti, who composed the music for many of Lynch's films.  It was performed live on stage, and features Laura Dern, Nicolas Cage, and Julee Cruise.

7.) Premonition Following an Evil Deed (1995).  This is a segment from the longer film Lumiere and Company (1995), featuring several short films by international directors, all using the Cinematographe created by the Lumiere Brothers, the inventors of cinema.

8.) Darkened Room (2002).  Shot on digital video, this film is about three unique women.

9.) Dumbland (2002).  This is perhaps my favorite of Lynch's short films.  This is an 8-episode crudely animated series about a really fucked-up family.

10.) Out Yonder (2002).  This is a strange film featuring David Lynch and his son Austin Jack Lynch, as they sit in their backyard, speaking in a very strange form of English, and are visited by a large "neighbor boy" who wants milk.

11.) Rabbits (2002).  David Lynch refers to this four-episode film as a "sitcom."  It features three humanoid rabbits in their living room, with an occasional laugh track.  The show was featured in Lynch's feature film Inland Empire.

12.) Ballerina (2007). An experiment in digital video aesthetics about a dancing ballerina, a shortened version of this was featured on Lynch's digital video epic, Inland Empire.

13.) Absurda (2007).  A group of teens walk into a theater and are greeted by a giant pair of scissors, and surreal, nightmarish images on the screen.  This was shown at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.

14.) Bug Crawls (2007).  Shot on digital video and reminiscent of his first feature Eraserhead, this film features a bug slowly crawling over a building in a dark, industrial landscape.

15.) Industrial Soundscape (2007).  I'm not sure what to say about this one.

16.) Blue Green (2007).  Another ambient surrealist film, capturing the mood and tone of a large industrial setting.

17.) Dream #7 (2009).  From a series called One Dream Rush, in which 42 filmmakers make short films about their dreams.  This is based on a real dream David Lynch had.

18.) Lady Blue Shanghai (2010).  This was actually a promotional film for Dior, but its pretty cool and stars the lovely Marion Cotillard.

19.) The 3 Rs (2011).  This was made by Lynch for the Vienna International Film Festival.

20.) Idem Paris (2013). A documentary short about a lithographic printing studio in Paris.


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