Close Up

1 - 29 March 2011: Close-Up on David Lynch

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David Lynch’s films expose the horror and turmoil that lurks within the pores of society. Drawing heavily upon dreams, Lynch portrays the pervasive, nefarious influence of the subconscious upon our waking lives. Lynch takes mainstream genres – horror, soap opera, teen movie – and perverts their conventions, making strange the familiar.

Eraserhead
David Lynch
1977 | 85 min | B/W | Digital

David Lynch’s 1977 debut feature, Eraserhead, is both a lasting cult sensation and a work of extraordinary craft and beauty. With its mesmerizing black-and-white photography by Frederick Elmes and Herbert Cardwell, evocative sound design, and unforgettably enigmatic performance by Jack Nance, this visionary nocturnal odyssey continues to haunt American cinema like no other film.

Blue Velvet
David Lynch
1986 | 115 min | Colour | Digital

After the multi-Oscar nominated The Elephant Man and the critically reviled Dune, Lynch directed Blue Velvet, his signature film. Walking home from visiting his father in hospital, Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) discovers a dismembered human ear. Investigating, he follows the movements of a cabaret singer (Isabella Rossellini) and psychopathic criminal Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper). The film reignited Hopper's career and marks the first collaboration between Lynch and composer Angelo Badalamenti.

Lost Highway
David Lynch
1997 | 135 min | Colour | Digital

A jazz musician is pursued by guilt, denial and suspicion of his wife's fidelity. Lost Highway's narrative is non-linear, describing the desperate anguish of the protagonist. Lynch’s first feature following Twin Peaks was inspired in part by the OJ Simpson trial and Simpson's monumental feat of self-trickery: his apparently genuine belief in his innocence.

Mulholland Drive
David Lynch
2001 | 140 min | Colour | Digital

After making The Straight Story for Disney, Lynch returned to a project originally conceived as a TV series pilot. A young actress (Naomi Watts) arrives in LA from small town Ontario with dreams of making it as a film star, instead finding love with woman who has lost her memory (Laura Elena Harring) after a car crash. They fall into an impenetrable mystery, encountering a young hotshot director, a mobster dwarf, a raging tramp and a cowboy with no eyebrows, leaving a hundred loose ends in their wake.

Inland Empire
David Lynch
2007 | 180 min | Colour | Digital

Lynch's most recent film is also his most demanding, an unfathomable epic that benefits from repeated viewings. Actress Nikki Grace lands a part in a Hollywood remake of a Polish film which was unfinished due to an unspeakable tragedy. Through the process of auditions, on-set meetings, rehearsals and TV interviews, her life and the film merge as one. Filming of Inland Empire began without a completed script, Lynch wrote new scenes, handing them to the cast and crew each day, not knowing where it would end.