The Films of DAVID LYNCH
July 7 - September 7
One of the AFI Conservatory's most celebrated graduates, and the first recipient of AFI’s prestigious
Franklin J. Shaffner Alumni Medal in 1991, David Lynch has been described as "the first populist surrealist—a Frank Capra of dream logic," by critic Pauline Kael. Although it took many years to complete, Lynch began ERASERHEAD, his first feature film, while at AFI. This groundbreaking film, which he directed, wrote and produced, became an instant cult classic. Lynch followed
this success with THE ELEPHANT MAN and received his first Oscar nomination for Best Director. In his next film, the brilliant
and memorable BLUE VELVET, he masterfully blended the American pastoral with urban anomie to create his signature
style and received his second nomination for Best Director. His later works include WILD AT HEART, TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK
WITH ME, LOST HIGHWAY, THE STRAIGHT STORY and MULHOLLAND DR., which capitalized on his themes of memory, identity and duality of personality. Lynch's fearless, intensely personal quest has resulted in a body of work that audiences around the world are richer for having seen: strange and beautiful movies that are thought-provoking and at times awe-inspiring. As Lynch on Lynch author
Chris Rodley put it, "the originality and inventiveness of Lynch's work comes, first and foremost, from an ability to access his own inner life." Lynch will unveil his 10th feature film, INLAND EMPIRE, later this year. Join us this summer in taking a
look back at the dazzling films in his career.
AFI Member Passes will be accepted at all screenings in the David Lynch Series.
THE ELEPHANT MAN
"I am not an animal! I am a human being! I ... am ... a man!" John Hurt is John Merrick aka the Elephant Man, and Anthony Hopkins is London Hospital's Chief Surgeon Dr. Frederick Treves, who purchases John from a sideshow circus only to display him to gawking colleagues. Is he a good-hearted physician or an exploiter of friendship for his own professional advancement? Nominated for eight Academy Awards, including the first of Lynch's three directorial nods.
DIR/SCR David Lynch; SCR Eric Bergren and Christopher DeVore, from the memoir of Sir Frederick Treves and the book by Ashley Montagu; PROD Jonathan Sanger. UK/US, 1980, b&w, 124 min. RATED PG
A cult classic, Lynch began this film as an AFI Fellow. Featuring a man who lives on the moon, a mutant baby and a girl who lives in a radiator, this film obsessively concerns itself with stark,
strange allegories. Lynch’s favorite character actor Jack Nance is Henry, who leads a quiet, desperate life until his girlfriend gives birth to a mutant baby who strangely resembles E.T. A must-see!
DIR/SCR/PROD David Lynch. US, 1977, b&w, 108 min. NOT RATED
This sci-fi cult classic finds an evil emperor presiding over an intergalactic kingdom. In a grasp for ultimate power, he pits the House of Atreides against the House of Harkonnen for control of an all-powerful "spice" found only on the planet Dune. Kyle MacLachlan may be the chosen one to lead an uprising against the evil empire. Stunning visuals compliment the complex narrative rife with Lynchian themes and allegories.
DIR/SCR David Lynch, from the novel by Frank Herbert; PROD Raffaella De Laurentiis. US, 1984, color, 137 min. RATED PG-13
20th Anniversary New 35mm Print
"It's a strange world," says Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan), a nice young man who finds a severed human ear in a grassy meadow. His obsession
with it leads him into the lives of a night club singer (Isabella Rosellini) and her sadistic blackmailer (Dennis Hopper), whose tastes run to Pabst Blue Ribbon, nitrous oxide and Roy Orbison. Lynch earned his second Oscar nomination
for Best Director for what many consider his signature film.
DIR/SCR David Lynch; PROD Fred C. Caruso. US, 1986, color, 120 min. RATED R
In Lynch's 'Velvet,' the real is unreal
By Carina Chocano
LA Times Staff Writer
WILD AT HEART
Absurdist humor punctuates this thriller, cum road movie, cum love story, cum perverse homage to THE WIZARD OF OZ, produced by two
AFI alumni. Laura Dern as Lula and Nicholas Cage as Sailor burn up the screen as Southern fried star-crossed lovers. Lynch vets Jack Nance, Sheryl Lee, Sherilyn Fenn, Isabella Rossellini and Harry Dean Stanton are along for the ride, with Oscar-nominated Diane Ladd as Dern's vengeful mother and Willem Dafoe as ne’er-dowell Bobby Peru. Palme d'Or, 1990 Cannes Film
DIR/SCR David Lynch, from the novel by Barry Gifford; PROD Steve Golin, Monty Montgomery and Sigurjon Sighvatsson.
US, 1990, color, 124 min. RATED R
TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME
This prequel to the popular television series chronicles the last days of Laura Palmer, who spends her days as a popular high school student and her nights as a prostitute. Her two worlds viciously collide when the murderous "Bob" escapes from the cracks of this tenuously balanced, dream-like world. Kyle MacLachlan reprises his role as Agent Cooper, and David Bowie and Chris Issak make appearances as FBI agents.
DIR/SCR David Lynch; SCR Robert Engels; PROD Francis Bouygues and Gregg Fienberg. France/US, 1992, color, 135 min. RATED R
When saxophonist Fred (Bill Pullman) finds a video tape on his front doorstep that depicts him standing over the murdered body of his wife (Patricia
Arquette), he is utterly confused and has no recollection of the events. Eventually jailed for the crime, Fred suffers an intense headache and wakes the next morning as a young auto mechanic named Pete (Balthazar Getty). Then things really start to get strange ...
DIR/SCR David Lynch; SCR Barry Gifford; PROD Deepak Nayar, Tom Sternberg and Mary Sweeney. France/US, 1997, color, 135 min. RATED R
THE STRAIGHT STORY
While this film is the most straightforward of the Lynch oeuvre, it is nevertheless stamped with Lynch's visual flair and quirky humor. Alvin Straight (Richard Farnsworth) takes off on a 370-mile journey on his trusty John Deere lawnmower to visit his estranged brother Lyle (Harry Dean Stanton), who has suffered a stroke. Farnsworth was nominated for an Academy Award for his gentle dignified performance.
DIR David Lynch; SCR John Roach; SCR/PROD Mary Sweeney; PROD Neal Edelstein. France/UK/US, 1999, color, 112 min. RATED G
Amnesiac actress Laura Elena Harring wanders into Hollywood-hopeful Naomi Watts's apartment after surviving an assassination attempt with no recollection of who tried to kill her or why. Playing detective, the two discover some shady doings in the movie biz, a volcanic attraction to one another, and the idea that they may just be two characters in someone else's dream. In many ways the culmination of Lynch's oeuvre, masterfully revisiting his signature themes of identity, desire and dream logic, this surrealistic film noir's subject is nothing less than the allure and danger of Hollywood itself.
DIR/SCR David Lynch; PROD Neal Edelstein, Tony Krantz, Michael Polaire, Alain Sarde and Mary Sweeney. France/US, 2001, color, 147 min. RATED R