|Index||7 reviews in total|
For Lynch fans in particular, I'm sure this would be an amazing treat.
Essentially a collection of Lynch's early student films, it also
features newly-recorded (2002) introductions from Lynch himself as he
explains his feelings for each piece of his work. He also provides some
trivia tidbits and anecdotes.
These are all very bizarre, some better than others. The strangest is probably "The Amputee," which was filmed to test the difference between two different kinds of stock footage supposedly. Lynch plays a nurse who walks into a room and replaces an amputee woman's leg wrap. Blood begins to spurt everywhere almost comically and as the nurse begins to panic she remains totally unaware of his presence. Very weird.
They're not all very good but they're interesting merely for the sake of being an insightful look at a great director's early work.
Recommended - and highly recommended to Lynch fans.
It's really nice having this collection around. Lynch's short films are
important because they are a more potent and unabridged form of his
style and work--he has a lot more freedom with the form, and thus can
do basically whatever comes to mind, versus making things feature
length which also means making them feature-like.
Some are better than others. Some are wildly out there. Overall they're great fun to show to friends for that whole, "What the--?" value when they're unfamiliar with who you're presenting, and anybody who is familiar with the material will enjoy it anyway.
I don't know where I stand on Lynch's introductions, though. On one hand, it's nice to have a back story so that the viewer knows not only what he's watching, but how it came to be and thus, to a degree, what it means. However, some of it gets pretty tedious. I relate to a lot of Lynch's emotions when he describes the processes and events that got him into film, but still, I'd rather just get to the film. The DVD this comes with has the nice ability to go right to the films from the menues, but there's no "play all without introduction" so that can be tedious too.
But overall, definitely worth the time and effort to find and watch this.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Short Films of David Lynch is just the thing for all those who have
enjoyed his other work. Ranging from his first, art installation Six
Men Getting Sick, over the deep and visually wonderful The Grandmother,
to The Cowboy and the Frenchman and Lumière and Company, this
collection gives a deep insight in and nicely rounds off Lynch's
Six Men Getting Sick, a one-minute 'scene' originally presented in an infinite loop, and The Alphabeth clearly mirror Lynch's background as a painter and give an idea of the visuality as well as the structural and colour quality of his art.
Some of the unique, disturbing and fascinating elements of his later films and television series Twin Peaks are foreshadowed in his ambiguous and highly aesthetic Grandmother, his third attempt at using moving images. Be it the rapid and sometimes unsettling, disorienting cuts, the dropping of frames, dark, under-lit interiors, associative combination of images and scenes, characters moving and uttering themselves in animalic ways Lynch succeeds in telling a story that, far from being realistically filmed, moves, rings true, refrains from offering clear answers and positions, and that is extremely close to its protagonists.
Seeing these early pieces of his work one cannot help but wonder whether entering the outskirts of mainstream film-making did not compromise his unique artistic vision, his particular quality and outstanding talent to too great an extent.
The Amputee, purportedly conceived spontaneously when given the opportunity to test some new film material, is more Lynch then one would assume. As the subject of this technically simple one-shot is both an unexcited letter about some partnership/friendship conflicts and a medical doctor checking on the fresh amputation stumps of the letter-writer, the clip is a fine demonstration about what happens to the spectator as soon as basic conventions of film-making and focus setting are deviated from. The mind reels, trying to come to terms with the realistically portrayed medical operations on the amputated leg and the turns of the letter's story given in calm and detached voice over by the completely unimpressed amputee. The sound is awfully reminiscent of the matter-of-fact splattering and splurging of, for instance, Eraserhead and final relief only sets in, when the doctor himself flees from his eerily non-chalant patient and her blood-spouting stump.
The Cowboy and the Frenchman is a piece of lighthearted comedy, and one soon comes to regret that such projects as Life of the Bovine have not made it beyond the initial stages of conceptualization. Here, the fabric of the story is woven out of the obvious stereotypes of the down-to-earth Westerner and the refined, gourmet Frenchman, tossing in the inevitable Indian as well as a bunch of Southern chicks. The ideas of liberté, égalité, and sister- rather than brotherhood eventually help bridge the cultural gap and lead to a shared drunken night with song and dance. Vive la France!
From the point of view of style, final Lumière and Company is probably the absurdest piece in the collection. Shot in the style of the pre-twentieth century short-shorts of brothers Lumière, Lynch's take has a decidedly Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet feel to it, including a disturbing fade to white. Set in what appears to be small town America, the four takes present us with the story of a murder linked to some obscure and no doubt secret operation involving masked men and a naked woman set up in a laboratory environment.
On the whole, these short films do not only illustrate the range of Lynch's artistic abilities and one would wish for him to indulge in that format more often; together with his paintings, they are also a great means to come closer to the mind and eyes of one of the most unconventional and visionary contemporary filmmakers.
31 Days of Spookoween: DAY FIFTEEN
Film #15: The Short Films of David Lynch (2002)
Review: Although I had already seen most of these short films, I felt like it was necessary to watch the entirety of this collection at once, and, as it turns out, this selection of David Lynch's shorter works is best viewed as a collective whole. Each of the films ranged from being pretty decent to straight up fantastic, and below I will briefly sum up my overall thoughts on each of them:
Six Men Getting Sick (1966)-The entire idea behind this film is simply the fact that Lynch wanted to see a painting move, and it just so happens that this very moving painting is CLASSIC Lynch. The visuals are surreal and demented, creating an aesthetically pleasing, if somewhat grotesque experience.
The Alphabet (1968)-A short that is chilling and scary and magnificently mesmerizing; a perfect example of "a nightmare caught on film". It's just simply...not of this earth.
The Grandmother (1970)-The longest short in the collection, and also one of the very best. It borders on "masterpiece" levels of filmmaking despite being such an early work in the director's oeuvre. It feels like a precursor to "Eraserhead", and not only because of its heavy atmosphere and unique, unconventional, and experimental way of telling a loose and surrealist narrative, but also because the tragic boy "hero" at the film's core feels almost like a younger version of Henry. His disturbed, anxious, yet mostly straight faced mannerisms and depressing, creepy, and bizarre overall life situation are both traits that would be explored even further and even superior in the later Lynch film.
The Amputee-Although this is definitely the least of the films in the collection, it is still quite good. It's quite comical (particularly in comparison to the three shorts that come before it), and the concept is a classic combination of Lynch's knack for black humor and surreal horror.
The Cowboy and the Frenchman-This is the only film in the collection I had yet to see before this viewing...and it's also my favorite as of now! It's so, so, so, SO funny! I laughed my ass off while watching this awkward, quirky, and absurdist joy of a comedy. With this jovial gem, Lynch proves himself to be a man capable of creating art that is not only humorous, but lighthearted and happy. For Lynch, feel good movies are very rare, but when he makes them, he sure does make them right! The performances are all great as well, and it contains a few Lynch regulars (Stanton, Nance, and Michael Horse, who'd later have a major role in "Twin Peaks"); Harry Dean Stanton is particularly hilarious and great in the film.
Premonition Following an Evil Deed (1995)-Extremely brief (Lynch remarks that he wishes the film was 55 minutes as opposed to 55 seconds, and I agree with him), but still heavy enough on atmosphere and scares to be a welcomed and impressive addition to Lynch's filmography.
The movie is a collection of short movies, cut with nice black and
white slides that say the name of the short film, David Lynch, and the
name of the actors.
Six Men Getting Sick I can't talk about this one, because when I walked in the theater late
The Alphabet Very cute and charming stop motion animation film. Felt cut outs on a black screen..
The Grandmother There is too much stress in this silent film. The actors wear white makeup, and the father acts like a Nazi, abusing his son. In fear, the son lays on his bed, and he plants a bed tree that amazes viewers. Only grandmother shows love to the boy, when she is only shown smiling and giving the boy kisses. The stop motion felt illustrations of the boy screaming blood were good. The movie was inspiring.
The Amputee, Version 1 and Version 2 This Tape of a woman griping who doesn't have a leg to stand on p, after saying all the negative things she has on her mind, is really a great work of art. However, it is bad that Version one and Version two are both included, because it makes the movie seem redundant. Lots of people walked out after that, and I was among them.
Premonitions Following An Evil Deed
I Touch A Red Man Button
I love David Lynch, so of course I was so excited when I got this. As much as I thought it was decently OK, I really just think that maybe my expectation of the short films were too high. The worst of the bunch by far is the one about the cowboy and the frenchman. The frenchman is quite attractive though, I must say. Overall, it's pretty dull, but still watchable. My favorite of the group is probably "The Alphabet." It's a total nightmare and very original, creative, and spooky, I do declare. I think probably the only people that would benefit from this DVD are real Lynch fans, like myself. Oh, and "The Grandmother" is really great too.
I was so excited when I discovered this was available! I couldn't wait to see it. What a waste of energy! It's kind of like that rarities CD by your favorite band you found in the back of the rack at your local music store. Being a hard core fan you were certain that it was a valuable discovery. But once you heard it it became obvious why these dogs never made it onto a real album. This DVD is only recommended for 'completionists' who must have everything Lynch has done. "Six Men Getting Sick" is somewhat visually interesting but short and repetitive. It lacks the power of Lynch's later work "The Grandmother" is quite simply an immature work. It's tedious and looks like a student film. But it was the 70's...It's interesting only if you hope to psychoanalyze the director. But you can see, briefly, the seeds of some of his trademark images and sounds. "The Alpahabet" is forgettable (No really! I can't remember this one at all!) "The Amputee" is pointless. "The Cowboy and the Frenchman" is just plain silly. "Lumiere" is the only worthwhile one in the bunch. Without dialog Lynch tells a disturbing tale comparable with his best work. I had to watch this one several times. But it runs less than 2 minutes. Hardly worth the trouble of renting or buying the DVD.
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