Monthly Archives: May 2009

Victim of a Lynchin’

I’m currently reading the Faber and Faber book: Lynch on Lynch.

As the title might suggest, we’re taken into the mind of the man who is occasionally referred to as Jimmy Stewart from Mars. I love that nickname and it fits perfectly. Jimmy Stewart was, in his early career certainly, the all American boy that any girl could take home to their mom. One only has to think of his persona in YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU, MR SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON or THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER. David Lynch also deals with the portrayal of middle America in many of his films but this is a world where there is a constant underlying darkness barely suppressing an unsettling vibration that threatens to manifest itself at any given moment. . . . It’s the unspoken fear we all have when interacting with this world gone mad.

I’ve had the 1990 film WILD AT HEART knocking about in my collection for a while and decided last night to give it a spin. This is Lynch at his darkest; I’d go so far to say that this film eclipses BLUE VELVET in the shock stakes, an opinion that was shared by many on the pictures release.

Wild at heart

Although the violence, sex and madness is pretty relentless there’s some great stuff going on in this movie. Diane Ladd’s portrayal of Marietta Fortune is something to witness, I wonder if Ellen Burstyn looked at this picture before shooting REQUIEM FOR A DREAM. Then you’ve got Willem Defoe popping up as the repulsive Benny Peru “As in the country”. There’s one particular scene with Laura Dern in the motel room that really has you squirming, Lynch literally has the audience in the palm of his hands here. This film also suits Nick Cage’s monotone drawl, he’s not bad in this movie at all.

Visually the picture is as you’d expect from Lynch. We have the recurring visual motif of the striking match, the extreme close ups of cigarettes being smoked, the regular references to the Wizard of Oz with flashback sequences being used to great effect. Despite the horror of the situation, Lynch draws us into the intimate world Sailor and Lulu have created for themselves. In a sea of freaks, Lula seems almost normal, a woman attracted to a man with the capacity to kill, she finds comfort in that misguided strength however.

Wild19
Benny Peru

Have a look at one of the tamer scenes below. It may not have any sex or physical violence but it’s saturated with that Lynch atmosphere. It’s also a good demonstration of the relationship between Sailor and Lulu, there are many moments like this is the picture which reinforces this paradox of tenderness being heightened by horror.

No one, of course, can explain David Lynch films like David Lynch. Here the interviewer quizzes him about the negative press:

Did those bad reactions to the film surprise you?

“A little bit. Everybody has a line that they won’t cross over, but it’s different for each person. I didn’t think I’d pushed it to the point where people would turn on the picture. But, looking back, I think it was pretty close. But that was part of what Wild at Heart was about: really insane and sick and twisted stuff going on. Just like in real life you know?
I don’t want to give the impression that I sit around thinking up horrible things. I get all kinds of different ideas and feelings. If I’m lucky, they start organizing themselves into a story – then maybe some ideas come along that are too eerie, too violent, or too funny, and they don’t fit that story. So you write them down and save them for two or three projects down the road. There’s nowhere you can’t go in a film – if you think of it, you can go there.”

The film is not an easy watch, not by any means but therein lays the fun. You know you’re going somewhere that will lead to strange thoughts or confusion, or gentle dread when you put on a David Lynch film, STRAIGHT STORY aside of course.

Summer Lovin’

The sun is out and the darkness has gone. It only seems like yesterday that we were huddled round a cigarette in the grips of winter, wondering with pleading eyes if we’d see another dawn.

Things have been busy and posting has been as sparse as a good Guy Ritchie movie. Notice how I don’t tag Guy Ritchie on this post, the man is loathsome. THE THREE TENNERS is now at the latter stages of post production. This evening I’ve been creeping around the streets of Ravelston (the place where I live) like Walter Murch trying to find the wonderful nuance of sound that will bring my film to life. Where in this picture can I find a place for a boiler sparking into life? I swear to god it’s like a post apocalyptic rescue ship taking off from the dusty, barren remains of the earth, or at least it sounds like it.

murch_fcp
Murch at work

Last night I returned to watching films like a Charlton Heston slurping water unknowingly from Jesus in BEN HUR. It was a magic feast which included the following picture.

8 1-2 poster

Now this to me was a bit of an achievement. YES Fellini is one of the finest, most technically gifted filmmakers to have ever walked the earth, YES 8 1/2 is always in the top five, usually top 2 of the best films ever but do you think I could get through this thing without falling asleep?….. No. it may be that there is some kind of subliminal hypnotic thing going on with his pacing, lighting and camera moves because his films always have a valium type affect on me. Last night I pumped myself with enough caffeine to keep an elephant awake and sat through it……… The picture is tremendous.

8 1-2]

Marcello Mastroianni is Guido, a film director trying to get to grips with his creativity, His many women and the array “guiding” voices that surround him, confusing his work with either simplistic babbling or pretentious over analysis. He slips into many dreams of childhood exposure to sex, religion and his experience of life with dazzling imagery and incredibly staged scenes. This is truly filmmaker’s film. I found myself rewinding scenes, playing them slow, examining cuts, moves and lighting with intense precision. I can feel a Fellini spell coming on which could blow my admiration gaskets after just coming out of a Josef Von Sternberg marathon. Incredible stuff, seriously, get a hold of it, you WON’T be disappointed.

I have to show a scene and what better than a big old slice of Saraghina. The only shame about this clip is you don’t see the horrific dressing down Guido suffers after satisfying his boyish curiosity. The priests are not as harsh as his Mother who comes close to disowning the boy. And what about Saraghina herself?? What a woman!! There she is just hanging about the beach doing the rumba for anyone who happens to be carrying some change. She reminds me of an ex I once had, the only difference is she’d rumba for free.

I’d love to post some more of this film as there’s so much great stuff. I don’t have the time so we’re on Youtube existing stock tonight folks, do enjoy though…….