Here at ÉCU we are huge fans of the brilliant director David Lynch and we were therefore very surprised to realise that we had not yet dedicated our Friday’s spotlight article to him, hence why this week he is our character of choice.
David Keith Lynch, born January 20th 1946 is a man of many talents, known primarily as a director of wonderfully strange and surreal films, he is also a screenwriter, visual artist, musician, actor and author. He began his pathway into film after studying painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where he then transitioned to making short films. He attributes his influences to many European filmmakers such as Stanely Kubrick, Federico Fellini, Werner Herzog and Jacques Tati.
In 1977, Lynch directed and produced his first feature film, ERASERHEAD, a surrealist horror that became a cult classic on the midnight movie circuit. Following this cult success he then went on to film the award winning classic, THE ELEPHANT MAN in 1980, a film about the life of Joseph merrick, a deformed man being treated in a London hospital. After earning mainstream recognition, Lynch made many other films, such as, DUNE (1984) BLUE VELVET (1986), TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME (1992), WILD AT HEART (1990), THE STRAIGHT BOY (1999), LOST HIGHWAY (1997), MULHOLLAND DRIVE (2001), INLAND EMPIRE (2006).
His artistic background is evident in his unique cinematic style. BLUE VELVET (1986) was a critically acclaimed film, which stood out for its bizarre and psychological traits and individual cinematic aesthetic. The film is about a student, Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle McLachlan), who finds a severed ear in a field, which he later discovers is connected to a gang of criminals. These criminals are led by a psychopath, played by the brilliant Dennis Hopper, who has kidnapped the husband and child of a singer played by Isabella Rosellini. The subject of violence comes up again and again in his films as a way not only to disturb the onscreen characters but to also “disturb, offend or mystify” audiences. Sweet 1950s pop songs are juxtaposed with the bizarre imagery in the film to give the film its distinctive eerie character. Songs such as “In Dreams” by Roy Orbison and the infamous “Blue Velvet” by Bobby Vinton became synonymous with the film and its theme of darkness lurking behind the closed doors of suburban America. In fact Lynch stated that “It was the song that sparked the movie … There was something mysterious about it. It made me think about things. And the first things I thought about were lawns – lawns and the neighbourhood.” Blue Velvet was nominated for an Academy Award that year.
The recurrent themes of mystery, dreams, psychological state, sexuality and violence have permeated Lynch’s oeuvres. MULHOLLAND DRIVE (2001) is another one of his stand out films, functioning on a non-linear logic that disturbs conceptions of time and space. The film portrays a darker side of Hollywood through several unrelated vignettes that eventually connect but still shake the viewer. The film performed relatively well at the box office but it performed even better critically. The film won the Best Director prize at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival and was also nominated for best director at the academy awards.
In keeping with his style, he also created a television series, TWIN PEAKS (1990-1991) with Mark Frost, dealing again with a darker side to mid town suburban America. The story follows an FBI special agent who is investigating the murder and rape of a popular high school student. This film attracted a huge cult fan base not only because of the supernatural and surreal elements the detective unearths but also the corruption and dark secrets of the local town people. The series was very successful but only lasted two seasons when the killer was revealed too early due to network executives decisions. Lynch refused to let this be the end of the series and ended the final episode with a cliff hanger and to our delight it was announced in 2014 that he would be making a third season!!
You don’t know how happy this makes us at ÉCU! We are all very excited and eagerly await for the weird and wonderful world of Lynch’s TWIN PEAKS to be back on our screen. If you love the weird and wonderful, send us in your weird and wonderful films, we bet they will be wonderfully weird!!