THE ELEPHANT MAN
1980, Paramount, 124 min, Dir: David Lynch

Based on two books about the real-life Elephant Man, John Merrick, director David Lynch recounts this severely deformed man’s perilous life in Victorian England in breathtaking black-and-white. Sir Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins) rescues Merrick from a circus freak show where he is assumed to be retarded, takes him to a hospital for tests and discovers that Merrick, in fact, has great intellect and capacity for emotion. John Hurt’s ability to project Merrick’s humanity earned him a Best Actor Oscar nomination, along with the film’s seven other nominations including Best Picture and Best Director. Lynch’s use of costumes, makeup, Freddie Francis’ cinematography and John Morris’ score remain commendably understated, allowing the sadness of the film to avoid sentimentalism. With Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller. "ELEPHANT MAN has the power and some of the dream logic of a silent film, yet there are also wrenching, pulsating sounds -the hissing steam and the pounding of the start of the industrial age. It's Dickensian London, with perhaps a glimpse of the process that gave rise to Cubism." - Pauline Kael.


LOST HIGHWAY
1997, Focus Features, 135 min, France, USA, Dir: David Lynch

Did jazzman Fred Madison (Bill Pullman) murder his wife? Drawing on many of noir’s most familiar themes - the crumbling of a guilty psyche, the distrust between men and women, the erotic allure of the dark side - LOST HIGHWAY brazenly deconstructs a noir narrative and reconfigures it all as balls-to-the-wall cinematic poetry. With Patricia Arquette, Balthazar Getty.


ERASERHEAD
1977, Janus Films, 89 min, USA, Dir: David Lynch

Filmmaker and artist David Lynch burst on the scene in the late ’70s with this disturbing avant-garde masterpiece. Put-upon Everyman Henry (Jack Nance) – he with the Brillo hairdo – shambles resignedly through a dark, industrial urban landscape. When he joins Mary X (Charlotte Stewart) in a nightmare parody of working-class connubial bliss, and she subsequently gives birth to their mutant calf child, we realize there is no return ticket from this descent down the rabbit hole. “May be the greatest debut by an American director after CITIZEN KANE.” - Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid; “Nerds in space. Mutant babies. Domestic derangement. Radiator ladies. Inexplicable seizures. Enigmatic orifices. Weird routines. The hardcore bizarre and ineffably beautiful. … Awesome. … One must also hear it … the soundscape of ERASERHEAD opened a vast new dimension.” - Nathan Lee, The Village Voice.


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