cinematic landscape

At a time when black and white characters were pretty much segregated in the cinematic landscape (as they still are), ‘Clueless’ showed us a friendship between a white girl and an African-American girl in which both were strong, supportive equals … In its treatment of gender, race, and sexual orientation, it led by example in a way that Hollywood, even today, rarely manages to follow.
—  Jen Chaney, author of As If!
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Budapest Downtown by Simon Alexander
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_Valley_ by Corentin Schieb

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Wherein Social Media Specialist Marya E. Gates (aka @oldfilmsflicker​) discusses her love of David Lynch and urges you to join us on May 8th at 2am ET for a live tweet of two hours of David Lynch shorts during TCM Underground. 

There are a few things that everyone who knows me (well or even in passing) knows about me: I like pie, I like movies, I LOVE DAVID LYNCH.

In fact, for Halloween a few years ago I dressed as David Lynch:

Little known fact: David Lynch and I have the same face:

So, obviously it was written in the stars I would love David Lynch. His cinema is not for everyone, this is very true. But I think he brings something truly unique to the cinematic landscape. 

In his recent book about Lynch’s cinema “David Lynch: The Man From Another Place”, author Dennis Lim, the director of programming at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, describes Lynch’s place in cinema:

Despite his protestations, and despite having made only ten feature films, Lynch has spent much of his working life in the pantheon of the eponymous, among the very small group of artists who have become household adjectives through the singular force and character of their work. In Lynch’s case, this is a testament not just to his uniqueness but also to the difficulty of accounting for that uniqueness. If “Kafkaesque” implies an atmosphere of ominous illogic and “Borgesian” suggests a garden of forking paths, if “Capraesque” connotes feel-good optimism and “Felliniesque” conjures carnival-like fantasy, “Lynchian” means - well, this is where things get both tricky and interesting. The paradox of the Lynchian sensibility is that it is at once easy to recognize and hard to define.”

I’m gonna throw another quote at you now, one of my favorites from Lynch. You can find it in “Lynch On Lynch” (edited by Chris Rodley):

I love the idea that one thing can be different for different people. Everything’s that way…and then there are films or writings that you could read once and then ten years later read again and get way more from. You’ve changed; the work stays the same. But suddenly it’s got way more meaning for you, depending on where you are. I like things that have a kernel of something in them. They have to be abstract. The more concrete they are, the less likely that this thing will happen. The maker has to feel it and know it in a certain way and be honest to it. Every single decision passes through this one person, and if they judge it and do it correctly, then the work holds together for that one person, and they feel it’s honest and it’s right. And then it’s released, and from that point on there’s not one thing you can do about it. You can talk about it - try to defend it or try to do this or that. It doesn’t work. People still hate it. They hate it. It doesn’t work for them. And you’ve lost them. You’re not going to get them back. Maybe twenty years later they’ll say, “My God! I was wrong.” Or maybe, twenty years later, they’ll hate it when at first they loved it. Who knows? It’s out of your control. 

This, for me, is everything I love about art, be it film, music, books, photography, poetry. You name it. I think we all bring ourselves into the art that we consume and what great art does is reflect itself back in us. I think Lynch understands that, and that is part of why even though his films are so confounding at times, he refuses to explain them. As he says in Angela Ismailos’ documentary THE GREAT DIRECTORS (’09): “The film is the talking!”

So, now that you have a bit of a primer on my love of Lynch, what Lynchian means, and how Lynch approaches art, here’s what we’ve got in store for you on TCM Underground this Saturday: 

  • SIX MEN GETTING SICK (’66)
  • THE AMPUTEE, VERSION 2 (’74)
  • THE GRANDMOTHER (’70)
  • THE AMPUTEE, VERSION 1 (’74)
  • THE ALPHABET (’68)
  • PREMONITION FOLLOWING AN EVIL DEED (’95)
  • DUMBLAND: THE TREADMILL(’02)
  • DUMBLAND: A FRIEND VISITS (’02)
  • DUMBLAND: THE DOCTOR (’02)
  • DUMBLAND: UNCLE BOB (’02)
  • DUMBLAND: GET THE STICK! (’02)
  • DUMBLAND: MY TEETH ARE BLEEDING (’02)
  • DUMBLAND: ANTS (’02)
  • DUMBLAND: THE NEIGHBOR (’02)

Now, I have seen all of his films (many times!), and I’ve seen the first six shorts on the lineup, but I’ve never seen the DumbLand shorts! So half of the live-tweet will be new-to-me as well!

All you night owls, Lynch fans, and those who think they want to get their feet wet in the world of Lynchian cinema, please join me May 8th at 2am ET (or May 7th at 11pm PT because this is scheduled in a perfectly Lynchian rift between time zones and days) on Twitter @TCM and get your live tweet on! 

H/T to @criterioncollection for these stills!

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Elisabeth Bridge by Simon Alexander
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Budapest Downtown by Simon Alexander
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