Peter Reavy

The Short Films of David Lynch

Posted in films by Peter Reavy on August 29, 2007

I more or less enjoyed the DVD of The Short Films of David Lynch. The films on it are:

  • Six Figures Getting Sick (Six Times)
    • This is very short. A sort of painting animated on loop. It reminded me of Duchamp’s Large Glass. You can see that something is happening according to a set of rules, but you don’t know what the rules are. So, although it’s crude, it certainly has something of latter-day Lynch.
  • The Alphabet
    • Quite imaginative combinations of live action and animation. Unsettling, but slightly pointless.
  • The Grandmother
    • Clearly he’s headed for Eraserhead at this point with the creepy, organic model of the embryonic grandmother looking very like the Baby.
  • The Amputee
    • Notable for mainly for Lynch’s taste in dialogue, as very little happens on screen. But there wasn’t much talking at all in his films until this point, and the dialogue here could just as easily have cropped on in Inland Empire.
  • The Cowboy and the Frenchman
    • At this point, we leave the early work behind, for this half-hearted effort from 1988.
  • Premonitions Following an Evil Deed
    • Lynch’s 1 minute contribution to Lumière et compagnie is imaginative within a very narrow brief. It repays multiple viewings.

The films are greatly enriched by watching Lynch’s introductions to each one. Since I am interested in his thoughts and creative process, I enjoyed the DVD, but it would not make a great introduction to David Lynch. Next on my list is likely to be Eraserhead, which I have not seen for many years.

In Lynch’s more recent work, he has become superb at creating a certain uncanny atmosphere. This is one of his great strengths but doesn’t seem to be present at all here. I wonder where the earliest example of it occurs.



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