It’s easy to be pessimistic about the state of David Lynch‘s film career at this point. Outside the occasional fashion ad, music video or (admittedly pretty awesome) short film, the guy doesn’t now fall back to the movie camera as his primary creative device.

But there are signs that he’s not done with film yet. One is the revelation that he’s working on a new feature script. And the other is that his occasional acting resume will be bolstered with an appearance in the new film from his daughter, Jennifer Lynch. Read More »

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David Lynch got his filmmaking start with short films, and of late the short form seems to be what he’s most interested in whenever he goes back to the moving image. One of his latest works is a short called Idem Paris. Like his early film shorts, it represents an intersection between the worlds of film and art, albeit in a different form.

Anyone looking for a narrative experience here is going to be disappointed, as the film is essentially a documentary, free of any narration, that watches lithographic printmakers at work in a facility in Paris.

But those who appreciate Lynch’s affinity for tone may welcome this short. The high-contrast black and white images, the focus on specific machinery, and the clanking and hissing array of sounds within all call back to Lynch’s early shorts, and his feature debut Eraserhead. Read More »

Every once in a while a strong rumor surfaces about the possible return of Twin Peaks, which was a TV smash in 1990 and then fizzled out in a truncated, unresolved second season the following year. Despite the fact that David Lynch seems more interested in music than anything else of late, recent comments from his Peaks co-producer Mark Frost vaguely suggested a possible return for the show.

Then, on New Year’s Eve, an anonymous comment on 4chan (yeah, seriously) led to a widespread rumor that Lynch and Frost had met with NBC about reviving the show. (Despite the fact that ABC originally aired the series.)

Now Frost has spoken up to push the rumor way back from reality — the reality being that Peaks is still dead and likely to stay that way. Read More »

I’ve ingested a lot of Twin Peaks trivia over the years, but this is a tasty new morsel: evidently Steven Spielberg was such a fan of the show’s first season that he got into some talks to direct the second season opener. What happened? Series co-creator David Lynch wanted to do the episode himself, and did.

As it turned out that was a good call. That episode features some of the show’s best ‘Lynchian’ moments, such as the first appearance of “senior droolcup” (venerable Western character actor Hank Worden) and his giant analog (Carel Struycken). It also pushed the show deeper into pure soap opera territory, but that was balanced by the vision of the horrifying death of Laura Palmer in the train car, which is still one of the freakiest damn things ever broadcast on television.

After the break, get the quote from Peaks producer Harley Peyton about Spielberg’s brush with the show. Read More »

It’s easy to overlook the fact that David Lynch‘s career is inexorably linked to Mel Brooks. The two men don’t seem to have much in common. But  when Lynch’s first feature Eraserhead was on screens, one of Brooks’ producers, Stuart Cornfeld, saw the film and recommended Lynch as someone to work with. That ended up leading to The Elephant Man, which landed Lynch a Best Director Oscar nomination and established him as a filmmaker who could do more than outrageously weird stories.

Lynch had also been part of AFI’s class of 1970 — Eraserhead was made during Lynch’s tenure at the school — and yesterday AFI honored both Lynch and Brooks with honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts degrees. That’s one shot of the two men at the ceremony, above, but there is a much better image of the two grads below. Read More »

The technology used to make films has been changing at a rapid pace for the past twenty years. Digital video has gone from being an upstart media to a primary means for creating movies. Major companies are no longer producing new film cameras. Native 3D requires shooting on digital, but the popularity of IMAX keeps some film purists going. Companies like Kodak are experiencing tougher times than ever.

Side by Side is a documentary directed by Chris Kenneally in which Keanu Reeves (who also produced) talks about film and video with a wide variety of filmmakers, including Steven Soderbergh, James Cameron, David Lynch, Richard Linklater, Martin Scorsese, Andy & Lana Wachowski, Christopher Nolan, Walter Pfister, David Fincher and many, many more.

See a trailer below. Read More »

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This is as good a Friday treat as we’re ever likely to offer. Just as I celebrated the 25th anniversary of the film this summer, it was announced that fifty minutes of deleted scenes had been recovered for David Lynch‘s seminal 1986 film Blue Velvet. Those scenes are available on the film’s new Blu-ray disc release, which streets next week, on November 8. I just watched a handful of the ‘new’ scenes, and while I haven’t yet seen them in full blu-ray resolution, what I did see suggested that the mastering and color correction all supervised by Lynch, were done with a meticulous attention to detail.

But don’t take my word for it. Below you’ll find a scene featuring Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper) threatening one of his ‘friends’ as Jeffrey Beaumont and Dorothy Vallens (Kyle MacLachlan and Isabella Rossellini) look on in horror. The clip is considered NSFW due to language and nudity, but given that this is a Frank Booth scene, I’m sure that does not come as a surprise.

Oh, and this features the infamous lost ‘woman lighting her nipples on fire’ moment, which Lynch has called a favorite scene. It has been discussed by many Lynch fans, but seen by few people. I’ve wanted to see this scene for many, many years. Read More »

Last week a new piece of film arrived from David Lynch. Like much of his recent film work, it is a commercial, but in this case it’s a commercial for something closely related to movies. The 70-second film, The 3 Rs, is a trailer for the 2011 Vienna International Film Festival.

This is a weird, possibly amusing little stopgap piece that channels the spirit of Lynch’s paintings and absurdist humor. Since it seems unlikely that we’ll get any new narrative features from Lynch in the near future, those of us who enjoy his output will have to make do with this. Read More »

Twenty-five years ago, David Lynch held a crystal clear mirror up to the face of America. Blue Velvet, which had played festivals in Montreal and Toronto, opened in the US on September 19, 1986. It was mainstream America’s real introduction to the private world of David Lynch. Eraserhead was still a cult film. While many people had seen The Elephant Man and some (not many) had seen Dune, few were prepared for the deeply idiosyncratic dreamscape Americana seen in Blue Velvet. Attacked for depicting a savage sexuality rarely seen on screen, the movie attracted no shortage of negative attention, but it quickly became regarded as a classic.

After twenty-five years Blue Velvet’s mysterious and musical vision of middle-American life remains seductive and powerful. Its gallows humor still earns laughs, and a peculiar clash of of classical Hollywood and noirish styles draws viewers in to Lynch’s unique world. The classic and noir impulses came out of Lynch’s own fondness for movies, but combined with his depiction of raw, violent sexuality they suggested something specific. That is, the deranged sexual power games in Blue Velvet aren’t anomalies; they’re what was always going on when the camera panned away in movies of the past.

The film established the career of Laura Dern and prevented Kyle MacLachlan’s image from being lost in the sandstorm of Dune. (MacLachlan’s look as the young Jeffrey Beaumont was actually based on Lynch’s own sartorial manner.) More than anything else it gave Dennis Hopper a framework in which to create one of the strongest, ugliest and most frightening characters ever seen on the silver screen: the raging gangster and sexual manchild Frank Booth.

The film’s twenty-fifth birthday is something to celebrate. As Jeffrey says when making a toast in the film, “here’s to an interesting experience.” Read More »