One Short A Day: Week Two

My introduction to David Lynch was, unfortunately, at a very young age. I was in elementary school and my mother came home with a VCD (the DVD’s precursor) of The Elephant Man. She thought it was a Chaplin-like black and white film about a man who is also an elephant, a fun film for an 8-year-old. Quickly into the film she realised this was not the case, but it was too late and I was too stubborn to admit I was scared. I had nightmares for days and to this day, I have not rewatched it.

But I came back to Lynch, many years later, during my freshman year of university, with Mulholland Drive. I had no idea what I was about to encounter, but I knew the moment the man started telling his dream at the cafe, that another nightmare filled sleep awaited me. After the film, I went online immediately, as I’m guessing many people do after seeing Mulholland Drive, searching for some explanations. What does it all mean? There were pages and pages of theories, each one making as much sense as the other. I went to sleep, confused and afraid of something I could not name. So I went back, again and again, first to Mulholland, then to his other films, to name what it was that made me feel so afraid, so anxious, and unable to move. I’ve wondered why that fear I felt after watching his films stayed with me longer than any other horror. Why the horrors that made me jump and scream left my mind very shortly, while the word “silencio” is still enough to make me shiver. Why can’t I still watch The Elephant Man, despite not remembering a single shot from the film?

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Catching the Big Fish with David Lynch

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*The following piece is by our guest writer Vikram Zutshi

On Jan 20th, David Lynch, unquestionably the foremost surrealist artist of our times, turns 72. It is as good a time as any to take stock of his eclectic and wide-ranging oeuvre, which includes film, music, art, literature, photography and architecture.

His films take us deep beneath the quotidian surface of small town America, a space he knows intimately, where sublime truths and dark fantasies play out, unhindered by the strictures of consensual reality. Early impressions and memories of an all-American childhood in rural Montana in the 50’s inform much of the artist’s work.

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The Endpoint of Escapism: Twin Peaks (1990-2017)

The following piece includes spoilers.

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Twin Peaks has always been about questions. The murder of Laura Palmer was the ground zero for a much bigger examination of evil, one that undermined the seemingly perfect picket fences of the United States. This description might remind you of Lynch’s early masterpiece Blue Velvet, a film that tackled taboos and its consequences in U.S. society. And in some ways, Twin Peaks always has been a continuation of that theme on a different level, but David Lynch couldn’t fully execute his vision in the first two seasons, due to viewing figures that lead to the show’s distortion into a more viewer-friendly soap/crime narrative and finally to its cancellation. With The Return, an audacious work of art, that blurs the borders of television and film, he was finally able to.

It seems strange to explain why the third season makes the show one of the most staggeringly existential works to ever grace any screen, especially facing the huge amount of slapstick humor and uncompromised weirdness it contains. But on second thought, it makes total sense. Continue reading “The Endpoint of Escapism: Twin Peaks (1990-2017)”