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Nine years, that’s how long it has been since the release of Inland Empire David Lynch’s last film; it’s been nearly a century since the silver screen was graced with the unsettling and isolating joys of the American director’s undeniably unique cinematic style. While we’re on the subject of time passing, this month marks the 25th Anniversary of the premier of Lynch’s cult TV series Twin Peaks. To celebrate, The Dukes is holding a weekly screening of one of his films, ranging from his directorial debut Eraserhead to his neo-noir mystery Blue Velvet.
“All the movies are about strange worlds that you can’t go into unless you build them and film them, that’s what’s so important about film to me. I just like going into strange worlds” – one of David Lynch’s most famous quotes which really does largely sum up his incredible body of work. Each of his films explores a strange world, often ones that appear familiar but have a dark twist, from the gritty and grimy streets of Victorian London to the glitzy and glamorous facade of Hollywood life.
Held in high esteem by far too many critics to name, Lynch is revered for his surreal approach and unflinching desire to remain true to his artistic vision, regardless of its effect on the films commercial appeal. His humble beginnings were in 1977 with Eraserhead a low budget affair filmed in black and white about a young male’s struggle to cope with his deformed baby who drove him to the edge of insanity. It’s a truly marvelous film, one of my personal favourites of Lynch’s, a work of art that repulses yet effortlessly manages to suck audience members into the industrial wasteland these characters inhabit.
If you’re looking for an entry point into the hazy often nightmare filled world of David Lynch then may I suggest Blue Velvet, which is being shown at The Dukes Wednesday, week 3. Earning him his second nomination for Best Director at the Academy Awards, Blue Velvet unearths the seedy underbelly of a supposed idyllic American suburb. Gaining only a small theatrical run upon its initial release over time the film has gained a reputation most can only dream of, being regarded as one of the most influential and well-crafted films of all time.
If however you’re looking to throw yourself fully into one of the director’s strange worlds then look no further than Mullholland Drive, which is being screened Wednesday, week 6. There’s good reason as to why The Dukes have chosen this particular film as the climax of its David Lynch season; it’s often proclaimed as his best work, praise I most definitely agree with. Following a car crash a young woman is left with no idea who she is and, with the help of an aspiring actress, tries to piece together her identity. It’s a confusing but altogether wonderful journey through a heightened world of casting directors and palm trees.
The Dukes are offering a rare opportunity for audience’s members, both those unfamiliar with David Lynch’s world and those who have already fallen down the rabbit hole, to experience one of the best directors of all times work on the big screen. You’d be crazy to miss it.
Visit The Dukes’ website for the full schedule of films being shown.