David Lynch’s ‘Blue Velvet’ Will Return to Cinemas for its 30th Anniversary

‘Blue Velvet’ 30th Anniversary Poster

David Lynch’s 1984 film noir classic Blue Velvet will celebrate its 30-year anniversary with a rerelease to select cinemas in the United States and United Kingdom. Starting March 25th through March 31st, the Kyle MacLachlan-led movie is scheduled to be shown at NYC’s Film Forum, with more screenings coming to theaters before its big September birthday. With a freshly designed poster, above, and an official reissue trailer, below, Blue Velvet is getting the accolades a Lynchian standard deserves.

 

Watch David Lynch’s Perfume Ads Inspired By Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and D.H. Lawrence

As one of David Lynch’s many idiosyncrasies, the fact that he absolutely detests cooking smells seems fitting of the beloved auteur. “The smell of cooking – when you have drawings, or even writings – that smell would go all over my work. So I eat things that you don’t have to light a fire for. Or else I order a pizza,” he once said. “The speed at which I eat it, it doesn’t smell up the place too bad. The smell doesn’t last too long.” Hell, it’s even rumored that he ended his beautiful affair with Isabella Rossellini because she loved to cook in their home and he simply couldn’t stand it any longer.

But when it comes to the sweet scents of perfumery, Lynch doesn’t seem so staunchly opposed. And in 1988, just after having made Blue Velvet, Lynch embarked on a series of four commercials for Calvin Klein’s perfume Obsession—a fitting theme for the haunting and heartbreaking artist. But as Lynch is wont to stray from the usual identity of classic advertisements, these commercials featured passages from literary titans D.H. Lawrence, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Gustave Flaubert. Melding Klein’s established black and white aesthetic beauty with that Lychian sense of mystery and thrill, you can now view three of the ads—courtesy of Open Culture.

In the Hemingway spot, we see a man lying shirtless tossing in the night while a passage from The Sun Also Rises is read:

 I lay awake thinking and my mind jumping around. Then I couldn’t keep away from it, and I started to think about Brett. I was thinking about Brett and my mind started to go in sort of smooth waves. Then all of a sudden I started to cry. After a while it was better and I lay in bed and listened to the heavy trams go by.. and then I went to sleep.

For Lawrence, we see a beautiful woman caressing her and that of her lover, as a passage from Women in Love is read:

Her fingers went over the mould of his face, over his features. How perfect and foreign he was—ah how dangerous! Her soul thrilled with complete knowledge. This was the glistening, forbidden apple … She kissed him, putting her fingers over his face, his eyes, his nostrils, over his brows and his ears, to his neck, to know him, to gather him in by touch.

And for the Fitzgerald, Benicio del Toro and Heather Graham stare at one another and slowly go in for a passionate kiss, while a passage from The Great Gatsby is read:

He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning-fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete.

Sadly, the Flaubert commercial is not on YouTube, but OC notes that in Chris Rodley’s Lynch on Lynch, the director expressed his views on commercial work, saying that he thinks of creating the ads as, “little bitty films, and I always learn something by doing them.”

Check out more commercials by your favorite directors HERE.

A Brief Look Back on the Mysterious World of David Lynch’s ‘Blue Velvet’

In the 1996 article “David Lynch Keeps His Head” David Foster Wallace outlines an academic definition of the term “Lynchian.” Referring to David Lynch’s aesthetic and psychological affinities, as well as his cinematic inclinations, Wallace goes on to speak about the juxtaposition of absurd humor and chilling horror in Lynch’s work, digging into the subconscious worlds where Lynch resides. He amalgamates beauty and fright, luring you in with placid worlds and slowly exposing you to their dark underbelly and the salacious nature haunting inside. There’s always a sense of mystery in Lynch’s work, a tempting pull just behind the doorway of the stairs, teasing you with its presence. But these Lynchian ideas and themes we associate with the director would never have existed if it wasn’t for his 1986 masterpiece, Blue Velvet.

Sure, Eraserhead established Lynch’s skill for worming his way into your psyche , penetrating al those things lying dormant in your mind—the things that frighten you or excite you or expose your the most—but in a way that feels almost tranquil in it’s psychological invasion, inducing a dreamlike state lying somewhere between the grotesque and familiar. However, the Lynchian motifs of small towns with their idyllic facades and veneer of pristine 1950s perfection, juxtaposed by the worms and filth that make up their foundation, which are so prevalent in his later work, were first established here, in a film that’s part mystery, part love story, and all staggeringly wonderful.

Blue Velvet also marked the beginning of Lynch’s work with composer Angelo Badamlamenti, who would go on to score the rest of Lynch’s films and bring his musicality to life. And rather than simply adding the sonic flourishes and dramatic pushes to drive the films’ narratives along, Badalamenti’s music has become engrained with the Lynchian landscape, a staple character of its own in all his work. Watch this video of him creating the Twin Peaks Love Theme to get a better taste of their process.

So today,  the good folks over at Cinephilia and Beyond posted some wonderful videos and photos that take us deeper into the production of Blue Velvet. Speaking to catalyst for the film, the intial moment when Jeffrey Beaumont finds a lone ear in a field, Lynch said:

The ear is like a canal, it’s like an opening, little egress into another place… It’s like a ticket to another world that he finds. If he hadn’t found it, you know, he would have kept on going home and that would have been the end of it. But the fascination with this, once found, drew him into something he needed to discover and work through.”

We’re also reminded of Jeffrey Schwartz’s Mysteries of Love documentary that includes clips from Blue Velvet, as well as footage and photographs from behind the scenes, and interviews with Lynch, Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper and others. Watch the doc below and for more visit HERE.

A Look Back at the Wonderfully Strange Career of Kyle MacLachlan on His 54th Birthday

Let’s be real: who doesn’t love Kyle Maclachlan? No one? Correct. The bizarre and dashing actor has been gracing both our television and film screens for over 30 years now, and like the fine wine he so enjoys, only gets better with age. As a fresh-faced young weirdo, we saw him emboy the leading roles in two of David Lynch’s most iconic films as Blue Velvet‘s amateur detective Jeffrey Beaumont and Twin Peaks’ Special Agent Dale Cooper—whom you could look at as simply an extension of young Jeffrey. We later saw Kyle in a series of female-driven television hits as an impotent and/or sociopathic husbands that you could not help but love in absrudity. And now he’s back on televison and oh no, we’re not complaining. So, as today is his 54th birthday, let’s take a look back on some his most wonderous and strange roles. Enjoy.

Dune, Paul Atreides

 

Blue Velvet, Jeffrey Beaumont

 

Twin Peaks, Dale Cooper

 

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, Dale Cooper

 

Sex and the City, Trey McDougal

 

Desperate Housewives, Orson Hodge

 

Hamlet, Claudis

Portlandia, Mayor

See Your Favorite Movies on Google Street View

Today in blogs I wish I thought of: Google Street Scene mashes up scenes from popular movies ranging from Goodfellas (at left), Back to the Future, and Blue Velvet, among others, with the street view feature on Google Maps. Remember how David Lynch bitched about watching movies on "your fucking telephone"? I can’t imagine he’d be too thrilled about this new artistic development. It’s a good resource to find the settings of your favorite movies, at the very least. [via Gawker]

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Cinematic Panic: Diving Into The Dark Unknown With David Lynch’s ‘Eraserhead’

Welcome to Cinematic Panic, a new column in which I anxiously watch all of the Criterion Collection films that have either slipped under my radar or have fueled my film obsession and then share my personal rambling insights as to what makes them so damn good. Enjoy.

I’ve always had a very special relationship with David Lynch. He’s the man who sparked my cinematic interest and made realize that watching a film could be an experience—a physiological, visceral experience that takes you out of yourself and brings you into another world. The first time I saw one his films was during a particularly frigid winter, post-Christmas, post-first real heartbreak. I was a tear-stained mess of a person who hadn’t eaten or vacated her bathrobe in about two weeks. On a whim, I signed up for a class called "The Cinema of David Lynch," and having only watched Eraserhead on mute while some Radiohead album played an attic bedroom years before, I decided it might be best to watch one of his films in its entirety. I popped in Mulholland Drive and suddenly something started to change. As I sat in the dark on my couch, a strange thing took hold of me in a way I hadn’t experienced from a simple film viewing before, and I checked myself at the door and entered his nightmarish dreamscape never to return. The second the film ended, I called my mother downstairs and made her watch it with me again. Obviously, she didn’t share the same reaction, but this time I felt it even more. The next day I rented Blue Velvet, then Wild at Heart, then Lost Highway, and I spent the better part of the next month watching all of Twin Peaks.

 

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It’s been a long while since then but his films have become a part of me, his world a place I call home. Last year, I got the chance to meet David briefly and when I asked for a photo with him, his response was, "For a girl that looks like you, anything." My mind interpreted those words as Mulholland Drive‘s infamous "This is the girl." But the moment was brief and I went back to my reality not quite knowing if that was all just a dream. But for his dark and winding oeuvre, it’s his 1977 first feature Eraserhead that is pure Lynch at its core—stripped of any Hollywood glamor and star power, just a raw synthesized portal into the brain of one of cinema’s most beloved and enigmatic directors. 

The last time I saw Eraserhead I was sick to my stomach—not from the film, but from some stomach virus I acquired—but I still couldn’t refuse a midnight screening of the film (and the sickness might have made it even better). Sitting in the pitch-black tiny theatre at IFC Center, it was the first time I had seen the film on the big screen, and once again I checked myself at the door and entered David Lynch’s twisted world of wonder.

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When you think of the great directors of the 1970s, David Lynch doesn’t typically come to mind. But it was then that Lynch spent five years giving birth to the idea that became Eraserhead. At that point in his life, he was living in a dangerous neighborhood in Philadelphia—the city where he says he got his "first thrilling thought." Perhaps that thrill arose from fear, as he dealt with numerous robberies and break-ins (and lived across the street from a morgue). Violence, hate, and filth were all around him and embedded those fears into his subconscious, sparking an artistic inclanation towards the beauty in the morbid side of life. Speaking to his obsession with the morgue across the street, Lynch says, "The [body] bags had a big zipper, and they’d open the zipper and shoot water into the bags with big hoses. With the zipper open and the bags sagging on the pegs, it looked like these big smiles. I called them the smiling bags of death."

Inspired by the troubling world around him, as well as his own fear of fatherhood, Lynch began writing Eraserhead, which was to be green-lit by AFI in 1971 but suffered financial troubles throughout. Lynch delivered newspapers during the film’s principal photography to bring in more money. There were long stretches of time when shooting had to stop for lack of income. But Lynch was determined to press on, even if it meant creating scenes out of miniature dioramas and filming them if need be. Having always been inspired by numerous artists who dealt with anxiety and the macabre side of life is a surreal way, he was influenced greatly by the work of artist Francis Bacon and writer Franz Kafka.

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The script for the film was only 20 pages long, which is no surprise seeing as the majority of the film’s content lives in the textures, sounds, and images presented rather than the sparse dialogue. Starring Jack Nance, Lynch originally described the film as “a dream of dark and troubling things"—and that it is. The structure is simple and vaguely linear, with elements that dive into the subconscious and venture off into the surreal. It’s a claustrophobic film about a man named Henry Spencer (with a now infamous coiffure of hair) and set in an unknown post-apocalpytic industrial landscape—the stoic, solid, sterile machinery almost mocking of his crumbling life. Henry lives in a tiny dilapidated apartment in an old building alone but soon learns that his girlfriend Mary has given birth to what appears to be his offspring. He’s pressured into taking care of the child, which is more of a reptilian, alien creature than a baby and whose cry is akin to a piercing, strangled squawk. Mary is horrified at their child and leaves Henry to deal with the situation. His sense of anxiety grows even further into a nigthmare world full of guilt and sinful dillusion.

What Lynch does best is worming his way into the viewer’s psyche, penetrating all those things lying dormant in your subconscious: the things that frighten you or excite you or expose you the most. But rather than scare you (which is, by the way, why I don’t understand films like this being classified as "horror"), he wraps you in a sense of tranquility or a dream-like state, lying somewhere between the grotesque and the familiar. Eraserhead is film that is clearly the visual interpretation of Henry and Lynch’s shared subconscious boiling to the surface, allowing you to journey inside. Lynch will never analyze his films or explain their meaning, saying it’s how they "strike each person" that matters. He says, "it means other things to other people, and that’s great."

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Henry is an observer, just as we are observers watching the film, taking it in as he does. Through the twisted and distorted visuals of the film mixed with the twitching, doomed industrial sounds we hear, we are made to feel completely ill at ease—mimicking Henry’s anxiety as our own. The film is an abstract study that’s portrayed in verses rather than paragraphs of text, like the sketch of something yet to be unearthed. We search the film for clues to unlock its mysterious nature, but even as we study each moment with precision there will always be the feeling that what this world meant to Lynch will always be unknown. And as with most of his films, it’s so much more about the feelings evoked and psychological state it enduces than the trite satisfaction of being able to say, "Oh, I know what this is about!"

Probably the most famous scene of the film is the "Lady in the Radiator" scene, in which Henry falls asleep dreaming of a deformed woman with swollen cheeks on a stage singing "In Heaven Everything is Fine." "The Lady in the Radiator was not in the original script at all," says Lynch. "It was a very dark film until she came along." Dreams and how they compare to waking life is present in almost all of Lynch’s films, paralleling his obsession with the unconscious mind. The act of the performance also makes its way into the majority of his work, perhaps perfected in Mulholland Drive‘s Club Silencio scene when Rebecca del Rio sings (or does not sing) a frighteningly beautiful a cappella version of Roy Orbison’s "Crying" that echoes the entire sentiment of the film. And just as the Lady in the Radiator sings "In Heaven Everything Is Fine," Dean Stockwell’s performance of "In Dreams" in Blue Velvet simultaneously takes us out of the world of the characters in the film and allows us to become more entrenched in their own psychological journey. The staged performance speaks to who we are inside the deepest caverns of our mind and who we are to the world, who we present and tell ourselves we are, and what’s really looming just beneath.

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What’s interesting about Eraserhead is how inherently and distinctively Lynchian it feels without the signature traits of David Lynch that people associate with him nowadays. Those who have a Netflix account and have watched various episodes of Twin Peaks will claim their love for David Lynch with proclamations about doughnuts and coffee and cherry pie, oh my. And yes, his fascination with food—especially of the saccharine variety—has a lot to do with his ideas about indulgence and sex and are central to his work, but Eraserhead is void of all that. It’s the bare-bones Lynchian aesthetic that established him as one of the most revolutionary independent filmmakers of all time. It has been almost seven years since his last film, Inland Empire (which got back to that very stripped, essential cinematic quality that was deeply imbedded in the frightening corners of the mind), and his interests appear to lie elsewhere these days. Who knows if he’ll ever make another film. But if he doesn’t, it’s at least safe to say that you could watch his films your entire life and still become excited and have questions, always stumbling through the woods into a red room of the mind.

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I’m Very Concerned About Lana Del Rey’s Vagina

Lana Del Rey has one album under her belt, but because the music industry is generally in the shitter, the weirdo singer-songwriter is set to release a deluxe edition of her debut album—the full title being Born to Die: Paradise Edition—on November 12. We don’t have to wait that long to hear the new tracks, however, as the chanteause has uploaded a YouTube montage of clips from the album. 

The special edition / reissue will include the original fifteen tracks from "Born to Die" as well as a second disc of nine songs. One is, naturally, her cover of "Blue Velvet," which I can only assume she thought was written by David Lynch. More importantly, there’s a song titled, aptly, "Pussy," which includes the classic line, "My pussy tastes like Pepsi cola." Being a Coke man (and someone who is more into penises than vaginas), I can only say that I am a little concerned. Will too much of Lana Del Rey’s vagina give you cavities? I, for one, can’t imagine it’s particularly good for you, but I have yet to ask my dentist. (That does, however, remind me that I should make an appointment.)

Pre-order the album from iTunes today, and listen to clips from the bonus tracks below:

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Lana Del Rey! “Blue Velvet!” H&M! Blouses!

H&M’s new spot combines two figures that have been all over the Internet for the past couple of weeks — Lana Del Rey, who was named British GQ’s Woman of the Year (and posed nude on the cover, sparking some rather heated reactions about objectification, the double standard of how male and female entertainers are presented and other things that it’s pretty unbelievable that we still have to talk about them in 2012), and filmmaker David Lynch, who appeared on Louie as a talk show host and made film and television nerds everywhere explode with joy in 140-character spurts.

The clip pays homage to Lynch’s opus Blue Velvet, in which Del Rey performs a rather compelling version of the film’s title track to an audience of creepy, Lynchian figures. Sadly, the ad is not actually directed by David Lynch, who has his own share of unsettling but memorable advertising work, most notably the ad he did once for home pregnancy tests.

I don’t know about you, but now I really want a new blouse. Well played, H&M.

Where to See a Movie (And What to See) This Weekend in NYC

Well, it’s Friday the 13th again and statistically speaking, that means 21 million Americans are spending their day paralyzed by fear, running around like Melancholia-esque Charlotte Gainsbourgs. But what better way to hide from the demons clawing at your brain or the things that go bump in the night than to sink yourself into a cinema seat and enter someone else’s world for a few hours? There’s something about seeing a midnight movie or even a late night film alone that feels like the ultimate escape from all that’s been plaguing you throughout the week, so we’ve rounded up our favorite films showing throughout the city. Now you have somewhere to hide whether you’re in the company of friends after one too many whiskeys or simply alone and on the run.

IFC Center midnight screenings:

Battle Royale
Blue Velvet
Mannequin
Silence of the Lambs

Film Forum:

Annie Hall
Cape Fear (1962)
Easy Money
 

Landmark Sunshine:

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Drive (midnight showing)
The Imposter
Take This Waltz

BAM Rose Cinema:
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Moonrise Kingdom
Rear Window