A magnet moves on a floor. A moth beats against a window. A doll child watches the magnet; threads of metal filings gather around the magnet. The doll, who's sitting at a table, looks in a ... See full summary »
A man closes up a lecture hall; he reaches into a box and snips the string holding a gaunt puppet. Released, the puppet warily explores the darkened rooms about him. Screws twist out of ... See full summary »
To a song of love lost and rediscovered, a woman sees and undergoes surreal transformations. Her lover's face melts off, she dons a dress from the shadow of a bell and becomes a dandelion, ... See full summary »
Since September of last year, I have been borrowing four to six films each week from the Harold Washington Library, which boasts an impressive DVD collection. (The HWL truly is a circulating library: three-quarters of its films are out at any given time!) Recently, I was thrilled to find The Short Films of David Lynch. Yesterday, knowing little about the animated series, I picked up Dumbland. I'm here to report that, for David Lynch fans, watching the eight episodes is half an hour well-spent.
The most remarkable feature of these brief pieces are their soundtracks. Each episode has its own rhythm. Respiratory and digestive systems provide percussion. Outrageous voices accent pauses' ends. Physical violence supplies the beats. Chirping birds and buzzing sockets brush along the edges. Many other elements fill out the orchestra. The pacing of the crude animation often keeps in sync with the sound, but the soundtrack itself struck me as Lynch's primary interest in creating and disseminating this work. In a way, these eight shorts are unique Lynchian rhythms.
That said, the situations are odd, ugly, profound, dumb and funny as hell. And there's enough space within them to reflect on how absurd we humans can be. I can't say that I'll watch the collection again, but for anyone who revelled in the movements that is the suite Inland Empire, Dumbland is worth half an hour of your time.
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