Close Up

15 April 2017: Take Two: Fire Walk with Me / Laura


Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
David Lynch
1992 | 134 min | Colour | 35mm

“Lynch’s harrowing attempt to close the book on both his signature series and arguably his most memorable and tragic character. A prequel to the television phenomenon surrounding the mysterious death of a 17-year-old homecoming queen, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me plunges into the show’s dark heart and defining trauma, chronicling the final week in the brief life of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) – a film predestined to end with the death of its protagonist. For Lynch, the entire Twin Peaks project was a laboratory where he worked out some ideas that would define his later films. In Fire Walk with Me, the filmmaker experimented with narrative strictures and structures, and moved toward more direct expressions of emotion, as if the time he spent in the Twin Peaks cosmos allowed him to reduce the film counterpart to its essentials: pain and sorrow, hypnotically and heartbreakingly rendered.” – Film Society of Lincoln Centre

“what makes Fire Walk With Me so arresting is how it simultaneously reflects and distorts the series. Far from filling out a story or answering lingering questions, is to restore a sort of innocence lost, commendably endowing the show's principal victim, Laura Palmer, with a voice with which to speak for herself. Twin Peaks was defined, more than anything else, by Laura's pointed absence; Fire Walk With Me is defined by her presence, vivid and terrified and alone. The film offers us an opportunity to experience firsthand a character who had existed through the series only as a recreated fantasy, an imagined emblem of innocence and suffering who, like Otto Preminger's Laura, could only be obsessed over in death. In doing so, the film suggests that the pain endured in her life was more important than the intrigue surrounding her death, and we instead come to know not the mystery of what happened by the tragedy of why it did.” – Callum Marsh

Otto Preminger
1944 | 88 min | B/W | DCP

“One of the most enduring entries in the noir canon, Preminger’s film is a stirring portrait of erotic fascination and an expertly choreographed whodunnit, replete with narrative twists, reversals, and red herrings. Gumshoe Mark McPherson is investigating the recent murder of the eponymous Laura, and everyone’s a suspect, from her aunt to her fiancé to her fey, acid-tongued admirer.” – MOMA

Part of our retrospective on David Lynch