The City of Absurdity Lynch Events
LACMA Film Department Presents A David Lynch Retrospective

Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Contact: Angela Dickson, Media and Public Affairs
March 31, 1998, Los Angeles, California


Lynch to speak on May 9 following screening of Lost Highway (report)

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) film department, in association with the Independent Feature Project/West, presents A David Lynch Retrospective. The distinctive visual style and recurrent themes of David Lynch's films place him in a small group of cinema artists including Welles, Hitchcock, Buñuel, and Capra, whose names have become adjectives for specific ways of perceiving and characterizing the physical environment. The term Lynchian immediately calls to mind a world of sunlit exteriors and dark undercurrents, a landscape in which dreams, coincidence, and premonition guide the innocent along a road fraught with violence and sexual duplicity. Also like Hitchcock and Welles, Lynch designs complicated narratives that often defy or confront the accepted reality of everyday life. His brilliantly visual films are puzzles that operate on conscious and subconscious levels. At their most elemental, they are profound and modern horror stories in the narrative tradition of Poe and Conrad.

Lynch's projects—from cult movie to sci-fi epic, from the groundbreaking television series Twin Peaks to the hypnotically beautiful performance-piece/music video Industrial Symphony #1—are informed by his own broad interests and associations. Lynch was trained in the fine arts and still paints; he is also a photographer whose work is in various museum collections (including LACMA's). He acknowledges being influenced by the work of painters such as Francis Bacon, Edward Hopper, and Jackson Pollack.

Throughout his film career, he has collaborated with a gifted group of professionals, including cinematographer Fred Elmes, composer Angelo Badalamenti, novelist and screenwriter Barry Gifford, and actor Kyle MacLachlan. In recent years, he has also begun presenting and executive producing films he admires. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) film department's midcareer retrospective gives audiences a unique opportunity to revisit Lynch's major films and to appreciate, perhaps for the first time, what makes this consummate artist unique.

All films will be screened in 35 mm unless otherwise indicated.

Tickets are $6 for general admission; $4 for museum members, AFI members, and students with valid ID. Tickets for the May 9 program are $15 general admission; $10 museum members. Purchase of a film ticket includes admission to the museum; all films are shown in the Bing Theater and subject to change without notice. For more information, call LACMA at (213) 857-6010.



Friday, May 8, 7:30 pm

Blue Velvet (1986/120 min./color) dir/scr: Lynch; w/ Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern.

This great film goes to the heart of the American psyche, stripping back the bright exterior of small-town America to reveal a terrifying group of psychotic characters caught up in a film noir ritual of sexual sadism and violent greed. Lynch, who was nominated for an Oscar for the film, weaves seductive imagery, blistering performances, and a succession of menacing encounters into a cinematic tapestry few viewers can forget.

Twin Peaks Pilot: European Theatrical Version (1989/110 min./color) dir: Lynch; w/ Kyle MacLachlan, Sheryl Lee, Michael Ontkean, Ray Wise, Grace Zabriskie, Lara Flynn Boyle.

Lynch's groundbreaking television series, featuring Special Agent Cooper and a cast of small town ne'er-do-wells, first existed as a two-hour pilot, the financing of which dictated the creation of a version that could be released as a theatrical feature abroad. This rarely projected "European Version" contains a sequence Lynch considers one of his best: the Red Room scene that closes, without entirely resolving, the mystery surrounding the death of Laura Palmer.


Saturday, May 9, 6 pm

Free screening

Industrial Symphony #1 (1990/video/approx. 50 min./color) dir/scr: Lynch; w/ Laura Dern, Nicolas Cage, Julee Cruise, Lisa Giobbi.

Lynch's three-dimensional "action painting" features singer Cruise as a heartbroken woman in a carnival-like fantasy. Originally performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.


Saturday, May 9, 7:30 pm

Special ticket price: $15, general; $10, museum and IFP members.

Lost Highway (1997/134 min./color) dir: Lynch; scr: Lynch, Barry

Gifford; w/ Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette, Balthazar Getty, Robert Blake.

One of the most beautifully realized and challenging films of the '90s, Lost Highway is Lynch's meditation on the divided self, a reality-defying blend of film noir and sexual intoxication reminiscent of Vertigo.

A Conversation with David Lynch

In person: David Lynch

Elvis Mitchell, host of the radio show "The Treatment" on KCRW, will interview David Lynch. This on-stage discussion will be taped for later broadcast on the Independent Film Channel's "Independent Focus."(report)


Friday, May 15, 7:30 pm

Dune (1984/137 min./color) dir: Lynch; scr: Lynch, from Frank Herbert's novel; w/ Francesca Annis, Josť Ferrer, Sian Phillips, Brad Dourif, Dean Stockwell.

The director endowed Herbert's vision of the planet Dune in the year 10991 with his characteristic Lynchian weirdness and a first-rate production that included seventy-five interior sets, an apocalyptic landscape (in the Mexican desert), giant sand worms, and a boil-covered villain.

Eraserhead (1978/90 min./b&w) dir/scr: Lynch; w/ Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Allen Joseph.

Lynch's remarkable debut, "a Dream of Dark and Troubling Things," renders the morbid and phobic inner world of a geekish everyman trapped in an urban hell. The black-and-white cinematography, enhanced by anatonal soundtrack, gave the film a hallucinatory appeal that launched its career as the most original and influential "midnight movie" ever made.


Saturday, May 16, 7:30 pm

Special guest: Barry Gifford, novelist (Wild at Heart) and screenwriter (Lost Highway, with Lynch)

Wild at Heart (1990/124 min./color) dir: Lynch; scr: Lynch, from Barry Gifford's novel; w/ Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Diane Ladd, Willem Dafoe.

Lynch took Gifford's nonlinear, episodic novel about two white-trash lovers on the run in the Deep South and "made the brighter things a little brighter and the darker things a little darker." The result is part violent road movie, part erotic comedy (complete with references to Elvis Presley and The Wizard of Oz).

The Elephant Man (1980/123 min./b&w) dir: Lynch; scr: Lynch, Christopher DeVore, Eric Bergren; w/ Sir Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, John Gielgud, Anne Bancroft.

Based on the books about the grotesquely deformed John Merrick, Lynch's emotionally gripping film moves beyond the physical revulsion of Eraserhead to discover the rich inner life of the ultimate outsider. His evocation of Victorian London, a labyrinth of rain-soaked alleys and hissing steam pipes, is suitably Lynchian. Nominated for eight Oscars, including Picture, Director, Actor, and Screenplay.

Copyright ©1998 Museum Associates, dba the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Permission to reproduce any text or image on this web site must be obtained from the museum's
Rights and Reproductions Department
at 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036.

back to events
back to David Lynch page
© Mike Hartmann