I have trouble watching films sometimes because they have no subtitles, so I decided to make a list with links to help anyone who might be interested. I would recommend first of all to check out tommydan55′s channel for the excellent efforts of providing films with the best quality possible. And screw Ultra for not letting us watch all the good movies for free. The list will be updated, if you have any links feel free to reblog and add them (includes films between 1930-1969).
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!
I never thought I’d get torn up as much as I have about Prince passing away. Bowie affected me, Cobain and Jeff Buckley shocked me, MCA and Phife made me incredibly sad. But Prince…I guess I hadn’t realized just how much a part of my life he was. I found myself welling with tears with every tribute I saw today, which just doesn’t happen.
I remember hearing Prince for the first time - or at least paying attention to him - when Purple Rain came out. I was nine years old. I remember seeing the movie and actually laughing at it, because Prince was just so…silly…to a nine year old. Those clothes! The purpleness! But then the title track came, and something just sort of clicked. A few weeks later I bought the cassette at K-Mart, and listened. And listened. And listened. I think for the first time, I felt the weight of drama. Epic emotion.
Prince’s music made me feel a lot of things. A lot of it surrounded with dreaming about girls. About sex. About processing that part of your brain that overrides all other desires. It wasn’t coded or cryptic (wait wait wait Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire” was about masturbation?), I heard a song like “Gett Off” and there were no doubts. I straight up wanted to FUCK Ms. Diamond and Ms. Pearl, both ladies together in 23 positions, all to that grinding bassline. And you know what? Prince made it ok to think that. It wasn’t obscene, it was straight up erotic.
Prince gave me permission to be young. To be brash and aroused. To love and cherish love. Then he writes a song like “Nothing Compares 2 U” and it contextualizes everything. He gives that gift to Sinead O'Connor and she, with a single tear, turned me from a horny young teenager who never experienced actual romantic loss into someone who felt the pains of a broken heart. All through a song.
And then an embarrassing admission - for many years, I didn’t even know Prince was black. He didn’t fit the mould of the black folks around me when I was a kid, I just assumed he was “other.” Once I learned of his ethnicity, he challenged everything I knew about black identity. About model minorities, masculinity and manhood. He opened me up and freed me from archetypes, and I became a part of his tribe. I could claim something so much deeper, for me at least. “Alphabet Street” transforms from a funky ditty to a claim of territory. The man who embodied sex was one of us. I aspired to his confidence. He was my Marvin Gaye, my Smokey Robinson, my Black Elvis.
Kurt Cobain, Blixa Bargeld, PJ Harvey and Trent Reznor all came along and pushed everything that I loved of pop / R&B/ soul deep down inside, revealing a still-bleeding scab of wanting to be noticed. Prince took a back seat to nihilism, but the slabs of guitars from grunge / industrial / metal actually made me appreciate Prince’s guitar virtuosity all the more. I listen to that guitar on “When Doves Cry,” and it sounds metal as fuck. The drum signatures are almost Kraftwerk-ian. In exploring other music, it dawned on me that Prince really could do it all. And again - he was one of us. When my wife and I saw him live in 2001, it all came together in a glorious four hour show that I’ll never, ever forget.
I’ll never turn off a Prince song. There’s always something new going on. Even with constant change, he remained consistent in wanting us to feel love in all its myriad permutations. “Black Sweat” is dope as hell. “Crystal Ball” as epic as any song ever made. And then I learned that he’d lost his newborn son a week after he was born, and that through all of this he remained as prolific as ever. That he tirelessly fought for creative control, for artists rights, for agency. That he committed millions of dollars and his time to social justice.
Then he died.
And with that death, so many of my memories no longer remain fluid. They are now etched in stone, the chapter closed. The reality that I will no longer grow up along with Prince is what makes me most sad. My son will have his art, but it will remain antiquity. Lessons. I only pray that an artistic and creative force emerges in his formative years to say the things he doesn’t want to hear from me, to allow him to feel without restriction, to dream of sensation.
There’s a gift a generation carries. Each has their own. Prince was ours.