David Lynch

If Jean Cocteau and Luis Buñuel mastered the art of committing dreams to film, David Lynch too the form deep into the dark recesses of nightmare. His early shorts, such as 'The Grandmother', hinted at what was to come. But even then, 'Eraserhead' (1977) surprised. What followed confounded. Mel Brooks' inspired decision to bring Lynch on board as the director of 'The Elephant Man' (1980) brought a strangeness that kept any hints of sentimentality in check. If 'Dune' (1984) was a grand folly, moments still inspire awe, from the sight of the giant worms to the grotesqueness of Kenneth McMillan's Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. But 'Blue Velvet' (1986) was a masterpiece – a deconstruction of American values and a deeply disturbing black comedy. 'Wild at Heart' (1990) was more outrageous – it also won the filmmaker the Palme d'Or at Cannes – but cruder and in its worst moments boorish. A segue into television produced 'Twin Peaks' (1990-91) and the excellent prequel feature 'Fire Walk with Me' (1992). Like the subsequent 'Lost Highway' (1997) and 'Mulholland Drive' (2001), Lynch perfected his nightmare worlds where logic was jettisoned in favour of his own perception of the world. They are a stark contrast to the sweet, fable-like 'The Straight Story' (1999), a lovely, eccentric tale of sibling rivalry and forgiveness. In the last decade, Lynch has made music videos, been the subject of documentaries, reprised 'Twin Peaks' and even opened a club in Paris. He has made just one film 'Inland Empire', that may just be far ahead of its time, or just so strange as to be of another world entirely.

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