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A collection of visionary director David Lynch’s short films from the first 29 years of his career is accompanied by a special introduction to each film by the director himself.
Before he was a filmmaker, David Lynch was an art student, a painter. His film work grew out of painting, not cinephilia, and his first film, Six Men Getting Sick (1967) is in a very real sense, a “motion picture”. Lynch’s early shorts are fascinating because they’re not indebted to conventional movies. They are explorations of shape and light, texture, form and sound, and they open up the first crack into the feverish anxieties, the abiding sense of dread and disgust that runs as a malevolent undercurrent throughout Lynch’s cinema.
SIX MEN GETTING SICK (1967, 4 min)
“Made over Lynch’s 1967 semester at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, this nearly one-minute short film packs more transfixing oddities than most experimental features could ever dream of… Deceptively simple and abstractly grotesque.” – INDIEWIRE
THE ALPHABET (1968, 4 min)
A woman’s dark and absurdist nightmare vision comprising a continuous recitation of the alphabet and bizarre living representations of each letter in this animated short.
THE GRANDMOTHER (1970, 34 min)
“The first film Lynch ever made with the American Film Institute (he received a grant for $5,000 based on a script treatment he wrote for the film and the success of his 1968 short ‘The Alphabet’), this 35-minute short is more or less the first major film the director made given its length and style. He imaginatively blends live action filmmaking with animation to weave a tale about childhood innocence and parental bonding… What is proven by this short is Lynch’s mastery of tone. Completely dialogue-free, THE GRANDMOTHER is carried by its aural landscape, from meditative musical cues to moaning character screeches that rattle, awaken and disorient the viewer at every turn.” – INDIEWIRE
THE AMPUTEE, VERSION 1 & VERSION 2 (1974, 10 mins)
David Lynch was one year into the three it would take to complete his feature film debut, Eraserhead (1977), when funding ran out and he was forced to suspend production. Depressed over the shutdown, Lynch felt hope reignited when fellow American Film Institute student Frederick Elmes was assigned to test two brands of black-and-white video tape that the AFI was considering buying in bulk. Though Elmes had intended on shooting the comparison with test patterns, Lynch convinced him to make a short film, twice, once for each brand of stock. The result was THE AMPUTEE (1974), which Lynch wrote over the course of a single night and which marked his first fully live action short subject. A static shot of a woman, a double amputee who sits composing an angry letter while a male nurse irrigates and dresses her stumps.
PREMONITIONS FOLLOWING AN EVIL DEED (1995, 2 min)
A short film about the events following a murder created for the anthology film LUMIÈRE AND COMPANY.
I TOUCH A RED BUTTON MAN (2011, 6 min)
An animated short created by Lynch to accompany Interpol’s song “Lights” from their self-titled fourth album, I TOUCH A RED BUTTON MAN is a hallucinatory black, white and red all over lo-fi extravaganza.