Wednesday, September 2, 2009

That's a human ear all right

So it's been a week or more since my entry on that top 100 films list, and looking back at it I realised that I recently saw another film from it. That film is Blue Velvet.

The first time I heard about this film was probably year 11 in media, at a time when we were studying The Elephant Man, which is directed by David Lynch. My teacher mentioned some of the films Lynch had made, and off the list there was Blue Velvet (in fact, I had probably heard about this film even before that because it somehow resonated a lot with me). It sounded intriguing, but its R rating sort of turned me off (I automatically imagined the film would be explicitly violent and very adult, and well I wasn't ready for that).

And so it wasn't until this year, through cinema studies, that my curiosity of the film re-surfaced. This time it was because we were talking about avante-garde filmmaking and how more mainstream films borrowed from it. And so as an example we saw a film clip from Blue Velvet, of a man (played by Kyle McLachlan, these days he is probably most famous for his role on Desperate Housewives, where he places Bree Van DeCamp's second husband) finds a severed ear that has ants crawling out of it. Again I thought I wouldn't like to see the rest of the film because it felt as if it would get worse from there, and even potentially horrific.

Well I watched it on the weekend that's just passed (--I was only coaxed into doing it because I was in a kind of emo mood and I thought that this film would surely distract me from my crankiness--) and I can say that for all the expectations I got from its R rating, well, it was pretty watchable. That's not to say its impact was any less, just that I could handle it more than I originally estimated.

But anyway, maybe more about the film. I would definitely want to see it again, I felt that there was probably a lot more I could get from a second viewing. It just felt pretty rich and the whole atmosphere of it was--dare I start saying it?--very much all in a vein of Lynch's own. The film was great at unsettlingly juxtaposing the pleasant side and the unpleasant side of suburban life. It slightly made me think of Edward Scissorhands--with the contrast of the picture-perfect suburban life and the dark tower at the end of it. Except Lynch's film seems more real (and it wasn't what you'd call a fairytale). Actually, and now I'm going to contradict myself, I find Lynch's film, in an affectionate way, strange and unreal. Which doesn't mean that its depictions of sadism and crime (otherwise known as the unpleasant side of humanity) are unreal, but the way that it presents these things--through its editing, cinematography and use of music among other things--makes them seem somewhat surreal. And I think that's the most truest way of getting to reality, because reality is actually usually stranger than fiction.

So anyway, I must say I'm very fond of this film. It's almost a cult film in a way, because it has all those quotable lines and scenes that make their way into pop culture, but at the same time I'll be already toting it as a veritable classic. At any rate, it's unique and it's the kind of film that one would wish they had made. I might be starting to understand what it is about Lynch that my year 11 media teacher and countless others admire.

Now I gotta get myself a copy of Mulholland Drive...and while I'm there I'd like to start watching Twin Peaks...

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