Originally Posted by Arbogast
So I went to the screening of Eraserhead last night, and it was a thrill to see one of my favourite movies on the big screen for the first time and with the incredible sound quality at the Lightbox. Natali gave a good little introduction to Lynch and his signature style at the beginning, but the discussion/Q&A at the end between him and Jesse Wente and audience members was disappointing. Everybody seemed terrified to discuss the content of the film at anything beyond a superficial level. At several points people tried to bring up questions like "What is this movie about?", to which Natali and Wente would only kind of shrug their shoulders, and Natali actually said at one point "I have no idea what it's about". I have a feeling this was just an on-the-spot thing and his initial presentation did offer some ideas about themes, but neither he or Wente went beyond naming them. For example, they made some perfunctory comments about sexuality and what not but didn't really say anything other than "sexuality is a theme in the movie." Surely there's more to say?
This brings me to an issue with David Lynch and the way people speak about him and his movies that I have a real problem with. People like to talk about how weird his movies are and treat them sometimes as utter abstractions, which I think is a major disservice to the man. Eraserhead is not a bunch of random weirdness with no meaning or purpose. Yes, it's surrealistic, but that doesn't mean there's nothing we can hold on to or that there's no meaningful or interesting commentary happening. I think Eraserhead makes INCREDIBLY profound and fascinating insights about things like reproduction, desire, isolation, and on and on. There are many ways to interpret it, and seeing it again last night gave me some new ideas about it and I found it more interesting than ever. But to suggest that it's inherently meaningless and that it can only be experienced at the level of the unconscious really doesn't give Lynch credit for making very intelligent and thoughtful films. Eraserhead taps into some of our deepest fears and anxieties, and not in a strictly unconscious or abstract way - despite the superficial weirdness (which is a joy in itself to revel in) there really is a narrative going on, and it's a fascinating one. I think because Lynch's style is so unique and unconventional people somehow tune out of the actual content and focus their attention on appearances. This is certainly understandable and that's probably been the way I engaged with most of Lynch's films on the first go because the style and appearances are so mesmerizing, but repeat viewings reveal incredible richness of theme and character. I'd be interested in discussing this movie more if people want to offer their own ideas and interpretations, but basically this event made me think that David Lynch somehow still doesn't get the respect he deserves, even when people are praising him.
I totally agree with Arbogast and me being "that asshole LaMort"
let me take it a step further.
First i wanna say that i really like Vincenzo Natali
. He comes across as a really great guy you just wanna hang and geek out with. He has also made some great films too, but after the Black Museum
lecture on THE ARCHITECTURE OF FEAR
i also attended last week, i must state whole heartedly, i disagree with some of the statements he made last week and yesterday.
Yes, yes i know it's completely a matter of opinion in both these cases but i am pretty sure i can prove some, not all of Vincenzo's statements may be wrong. Yesterday i had a problem with a few things he stating but not to bore you guy i will focus on the fact that Vincenzo thought ERASERHEAD
is the first piece of Industrial music and or score in a film. He also said he wasn't sure about that but he couldn't find or think of anything that came before this 1977 film.
As soon as i heard that in the intro i wanted to point out how wrong that statement is, but i patiently waited till the Q&A after the film. I must say the print looked GEORGEOUS and i actually went home and compared it to my bluray and I am pretty sure that was the same print they used for the new bluray. They mentioned that they burrowed the print form My Lynch himself!!
In the Q&A i tried to explain that Michelangelo Antonioni
's 1964 film THE RED DESSERT
is the first film to have an industrial score and this film is the basis of Industrial Music and the idea of that existential horror that comes from living in such a modern dystopian society. There is a sick child in this film, whose mother (actress Monica Vitti) is having a hard time dealing with this and is suicidal. There is a lot of similarities between the two films. The Red Dessert created the idea industrial living and it's short coming which Throbbing Gristle in 75-76 turned into their framework of their music. They started a record label called INDUSTRIAL RECORDS with the tagline "INDUSTRIAL MUSIC FOR INDUSTRIAL PEOPLE"
. Throbbing Gristle
though had added a rock vibe to the sounds of Music Croncrete artists like the German Kluster
, whose early early albums 71-72 sound a LOT like the score of ERASERHEAD.
The reply i got was Vincenzo thought just because this stuff existed doesn't mean David Lynch had seen or heard it. While there is a chance Natali is right, i personally have a very hard time believing when David Lynch was living in Hollywood making ERASERHEAD for the American Film Institute
and was completely unaware of Antonioni's film. That was another thing that i disagreed with, not as much about Lynch bring industrial to the mainstream, but i didn't agree with Natali's comments that Lynch didn't take idea's from other film makers. Lynch has stated many times he is a lover of film and anyone who has seen Blake Edward's excellent 1962 thriller EXPERIMENT IN TERROR
and The Red Dessert knows Lynch lifted ideas from other films.
I also agree that Natali and the host were avoiding the questions during the Q&A like Arbogast has stated. Sometimes i wondered if the sex and the idea of expressing the idea of orgasm, getting off and cumming was a bit embarrassing for them. Many idea's were brought up and they just seemed to change the subject with there answers it was very weird.
Anyways i still had a great time at the screening and met Tara the other person who won tix for this sold out screening. I only wish to sit down and talk movies with Natali someday and we are both the same age and very similar interests yet i find myself not understanding where he is coming from some times. I don't think that is a bad thing as it just makes me more interested with this man who grew up in the same neighborhood as me.