Lynch and Kiarostami

Two interesting articles with perhaps only a tenuous connection: they both feature critics talking about the cinema which excites them.

In this Guardian piece Peter Bradshaw talks about Blue Velvet, and why 25 years after first seeing the film it still captivates him. There is much I admire in David Lynch’s work (though certainly not everything) and Blue Velvet represents all that’s best about him. The famous, unforgettably strange and disquieting opening sequence, is enough on its own to mark this film out as something extraordinary. Bradshaw describes how he:-

…sat down to watch the film again on DVD, intending merely to watch the opening “picket fence” sequence – and, of course, wound up watching the whole thing.

He finds that:-

Watched again over 25 years later, Blue Velvet looks even more bizarre than ever, a disorientating palimpsest of moods and eras and genres.

Now that’s something you can’t say about many films! And so I find that my DVD of Blue Velvet has moved quickly to the top of my pile of films to re-watch.

As an aside, it’s nice to see Bradshaw mention the “Arts Cinema in Cambridge”, where he saw the film in his student days, and which is the old incarnation of my favourite cinema, the Arts Picturehouse.

Bradshaw’s article is partly prompted by a new season of Lynch films at the BFI, where the interviewee in the other article I want to mention (a piece on Ehsan Khoshbakht’s Notes on Cinematograph blog) is the Head of Programming. Geoff Andrew is a critic whose writing I much admire, and whose book on Abbas Kiarostami’s film 10 is superb. In this interview he talks about Kiarostami’s work as being:-

…the cinema of uncertainties. I’m not original in this. A friend of mine who is a teacher, Laura Mulvey, she wrote an article maybe 15 years ago it was called the “uncertainty principle”. It’s there in every film he has made. From Bread and the Alley, to the present. Abbas often says that you need to tell lies to reach the truth, and of course any film maker tells lies, just making a film is a lie, it’s not reality, it’s a representation of reality. So even documentaries are lies. they are not truth. But at least, Abbas is open about it, and he tells interesting lies.


I think Abbas looks at the world from a slightly different angle.

Which could also be Lynch, of course.


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