26 Nov 2009

The Short Films Of David Lynch

I love David Lynch. I think Twin Peaks is one of the greatest TV shows ever made, and the subsequent movie adaptation is equally impressive, albeit for completely different reasons. I defy anyone to find a more moving film than The Elephant Man (ditto The Straight Story), while Blue Velvet pulls off the uncanny double-act of being hysterically funny and unbelievably disturbing at the same time. Mulholland Drive is arguably the finest American film made since the millennium and Lost Highway is an underrated classic that deserves to be seen by a far larger audience. Yeah, it's pretty safe to say I love David Lynch, which is why it pains me to say that The Short Films Of David Lynch, a recently-released DVD collection of his student work and other assorted rarities, will not be jumping straight to the top of my Christmas wish-list. As impressive as some of them are (The Grandmother is an understated work of genius and The Cowboy And The Frenchmen is hysterically funny, particularly for including what must be the first recorded instance of Harry Dean Stanton wearing a beret) others, Six Men Getting Sick and the other animation-heavy early efforts in particular, achieve little more than inducing nausea and a headache of almost atomic proportions. The crown jewel of the collection, the stunningly abstract Lumiere: Premonitions Following An Evil Deed finishes things in spectacular style, but therein lies the rub. The best thing on this DVD is only 52 seconds long. As much as one wants to revel in the artistry and incredible craft involved to produce some of these shorts, the very nature of them being short films ultimately ends up being to their detriment, as the chances of watching them over and over again is minimal. Lynch aficionados and other film buffs should track down a copy, as they will find much to admire and adore within it, but when you get in from work on a cold winters night and want to unwind in front of your big-screen TV, don't bet on this being the first disc that you reach for.

Matthew Kleebauer (dated 2008)

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