Following on from our ‘Hollywood Babylon’ double–bill of Rabbit's Moon and Lost Highway back in February, ENTHUSIASM returns to the sun-bleached driveways of Los Angeles with a special 16mm presentation of Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid’s landmark experimental film Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) - followed by a rare 35mm screening of David Lynch’s misunderstood masterpiece Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992).
One of the most important and influential films to come out of the American avant garde, Meshes of the Afternoon’s strange dream logic and swirling investigations into the subjective psychological landscape have left an indelible mark on American cinema. Whilst perhaps the more logical pairing would have been with Lynch’s 2001 magnum opus Mulholland Drive, which references Deren/Hammid’s piece in a decidedly overt and explicit manner – with its looming palm trees, winding hillside driveways, doppelgängers and spiralling dreams within dreams – UK audiences will be able to rediscover that cinematic monument on the big screen later in the month, when it is re-released in a brand new digital restoration courtesy of StudioCanal and the Independent Cinema Office.
Meanwhile here are ENTHUSIAM we like to wander a little further off the garden path, and felt that with all the impending brouhaha surrounding the long awaited Showtime revival of Lynch’s seminal television series, it was high time to revisit one of his most complex, challenging, divisive and visually arresting cinematic offerings.
Eschewing audience expectations following the abrupt cancellation of Twin Peaks after its remarkably avant garde series finale, rather than tying up any of the loose ends left dangling by that devastatingly inconclusive closing, with Fire Walk With Me Lynch opted to create a complex and multi-layered portrait of Laura Palmer, the 17 year old homecoming queen whose murder formed the catalyst and central mystery within the TV show. Whereas she is an eerily absent presence looming over the sleepy Pacific Northwestern town throughout the original series, here Lynch presents us with an unflinching portrayal of Palmer’s chaotic, tortured and kaleidoscopic lived experience in the final days of her life – complimented by an utterly fearless performance from the young Sheryl Lee – resulting in some of his most accomplished, poignant and formally daring work to date, one well worthy of reappraisal.