Surrealist genius: five David Lynch films that reveal all the director's talents
On January 25, a film by the genius of surrealist cinema, David Lynch, is released in Ukraine. This year, he turns 78, and his works are recognizable for their strangeness and originality across the decades. As part of the Winter Retrospective by Arthouse Traffic, Lost Highway will return to the big screens after 27 years. On this occasion, the Observer has collected five Lynch films that you should definitely watch at least once.
The Elephant Man (1980)
Where to watch: The Elephant Man is the second film director David Lynch made after Rubberhead. In his recognizable style and imitation of, for example, the artist Francis Bacon, he turns the usual idea of the ugly and scary upside down. The story is based on the true story of John Merrick, who had a deformed body from birth, which led to him being bullied and nicknamed the Elephant Man.
The story is set in Victorian London, late 19th century. It is a time and place where the culture of freak shows is developing as entertainment for the common people. At one of these fairs, where people with developmental disabilities are displayed in cages like animals, a surgeon at the Royal Hospital (Anthony Hopkins) notices the main "exhibit" - the Elephant Man. He rescues him from circus slavery and realizes that behind the monster's mask is a vulnerable soul who quotes passages from the Bible by heart.
The Lost Highway (1997)
Where to watch: in theaters from January 25 The main character, saxophonist Fred Madison (Bill Pullman - Independence Day), suspects his wife (Patricia Arquette - Youth) of infidelity. When she is found dead, the blame immediately falls on her husband. Fred is sentenced to death, but he mysteriously disappears from death row. In his place is an innocent young man named Pete, who has no idea how he ended up in prison. But the real madness is just beginning.
This is the plot of the movie, the restored version of which will be released on Ukrainian cinema screens. In the 90s, Lynch was at the peak of his career, from Twin Peaks and the Palme d'Or in Cannes to the not-so-successful but still made Dune. The non-linear plot and intricate detective-noir story did not allow the film to make money, but it is still one of the most discussed films by the director.
Mulholland Drive (2001), where to watch: Megogo
After a car accident, a girl who has lost her memory chooses a name from a movie poster - Rita (Laura Herring - Gossip Girl). She starts a new life in Hollywood, but she has to find out who the two dead men who were in the car with her were. She also has to deal with the secret motivation of the young actress Betty (Naomi Watts - 21 Grams) to be constantly by her side.
Another non-linear plot, surrealistic character and the film's non-recognition by critics. Although it was for Mulholland Drive, which was financed by a French company, that Lynch won the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival.
Where to watch: Youtube
According to the director, Rabbits is a web movie with elements of a sitcom. In 2002, David Lynch filmed eight episodes where people dressed as rabbits, in the author's traditional surrealist manner, have conversations with each other. The film features some of his favorite actors, including Naomi Watts, Scott Coffey, Laura Gerring, and Rebecca del Rio.
Although they are not visible. Parts of the series are available on his Youtube channel, along with videos of the weather and other strange works of Lynch from the 2000s.
Inland Empire (2006).
Where to watch: Megogo
The three-hour film, shot on a digital camera, is the director's last feature film to date. It combines everything strange that Lynch is famous for. Actors Nikki Grace and Devon Burke take up the filming of a new movie, On High in Blue Tomorrows. This changes Nikki's life: she doesn't know where reality ends and the movie begins. She learns about the past performers of her role who were mysteriously murdered.