Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Lured in by Lynch & Rivette: a retrospective at Lincoln Center (+ status update for the coming weeks)


Over the coming two weeks, I will be reviewing every double feature in the Lynch/Rivette retrospective at Lincoln Center. Reviews will be going up as soon as I am able to write them, alongside my usual Monday-Wednesday-Friday at 7am routine. To kick off the retrospective, I am sharing the intro & a link to an essay I wrote for Fandor Keyframe (where my videos will resume in the new year). By coincidence, Fandor's head video essayist, Kevin B. Lee, also produced a new video related to the retrospective which premiered tonight at Lincoln Center, alongside a talk by Dennis Lim, who programmed the series with Dan Sullivan, and Melissa Anderson.

In addition to my pieces on each Lynch/Rivette screening, the coming weeks will feature interviews with two authors of recent Lynch/Twin Peaks literature: Dennis Lim - who, in addition to programming the retrospective, also just published David Lynch: The Man From Another Place - and Andreas Halskov, whose new book TV Peaks covers the influence, innovation, and fan culture of Twin Peaks. And before I give way to the Fandor piece, I also want to point you to James Cooray Smith's thoughtful, nuanced article on the Star Wars prequels for the New Statesman (despite the provocative title, his perspective is more exploratory than polemical). Not only is it a great read, he very generously shouted out my Journey Through Twin Peaks videos!

Ok, on with the show...

• • •
For thirteen days in December, the Film Society of Lincoln Center turns its screening room into a rabbit hole. American auteur David Lynch and French filmmaker Jacques Rivette are the subjects of a fifteen-film retrospective marked by split narratives, double characters and entangled locations. The surrealist directors are themselves defined by duality, with some viewers celebrating them as truth-tellers while others dismiss (or appreciate) them as tricksters. Their films thrive on this uncertainty, projecting an aura of dreamlike mystery punctuated by playful interludes and violent epiphanies.
It isn’t hard to see why programmer Dan Sullivan and Dennis Lim, author of the brand new Lynch book The Man From Another Place, are placing Lynch and Rivette side by side in a series of double features (although tickets are available for each film individually, the heart of the retrospective’s approach is in these pairings). The program notes feature many convergences between the cowboy and the Frenchman: “secrets, conspiracies, and paranoia; women in trouble; the supernatural manifesting itself within the everyday; the nature of performance and the stage as an arena for transformation; the uncanny sense of narrative as a puzzle without a solution, a force with a life of its own.”

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