DOWSE guide to the movies                                                                                         

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the net guide for creative minds


DOWSE Guide to the Movies
by Tony Lee editor of Pigasus Press

Killing Time With Mr Eraserhead
A Tribute to David Lynch
by Dawn Andrews

"Fate plays the biggest part." - David Lynch

From the first moment I was in love. With both of you, but my passion for Mr. Lynch has proved to be lasting and true. It has an intensity of longing and horror that makes the desire to stay win out over the need to run. (To switch off.)
 On the screen the planet draws closer, its surface gleaming and pitted. The man in the planet, suffering, diseased, controls - what exactly? The mercurial pool, into which deformed sperm, born from Henry's mute scream, fall.
 You had that leather armchair we sprawled on, to watch films. We were like a couple of stray cats who had found refuge. Everything, the whole world, felt temporary, it remade itself as we slept, it depended upon our moods. Fragile or metallic, tender or dangerous.
 The room was so small it made the chair seem huge. It could not contain us, we spilled out, into the hallways, into the town, pub-crawling, video and book collecting. Taking everything back to gloat over, to feast upon.

"In heaven, everything is fine,
In heaven, everything is fine.
You've got your good things and I've got mine."
(song of the Lady in the Radiator.)

We entered the wasteland. Spoil heaps, broken windows.

Henry, a tragicomic figure, pens and pencils in his top pocket, is in a state of constant anxiety. The ride in the lift, his encounter with an enigmatic and beautiful neighbour, all fuel his state of extreme unease.
 Temptation and desire are always to be avoided, as Henry avoids the seductive eyes of his neighbour. No other filmmaker fears temptation as openly as David Lynch. Yet he has created some of the most perverse and erotically-charged scenes ever captured on film.

"I like to make films because I like to go into another world. I like to get lost in another world and film to me is a magical medium that allows you to dream in the dark." - David Lynch.

Eyes open, lost in the dark.

Pile of earth on the chest of drawers, reminder of The Grandmother, as is the tree growing by the bed. Within a drawer lies the discarded torn photograph of Mary, who hasn't been around, lately.

Echo of a childishly fretful voice.

"You're late, Henry."

The light is always cast upwards by powerful lamps, creating twisted shadows and eerie bleached faces. Despair and absurdity of dinner with the parents from hell, who has not experienced such moments of alienation? Although extreme there are naturalistic elements to all of Lynch's films, and that is what truly unsettles, that erasure of the boundaries between dreams and waking nightmares.

"Well Henry, what do you know?"

Baby chickens spouting blood are a taste of things to come. Poor Henry! What does he know? Tangled in the hopelessness, with a repulsive offspring and an idiot bride. The 'baby' conjures intense revulsion and pity, its gleaming eyes and moist skin nauseating yet touching, as are the bandages that cocoon it tightly.
 Mary, still a dependent child herself, runs home. Returns, runs away again. (as runaway children do.)

Henry is seduced by his neighbour. They sink into a milky pool, the baby mewling weakly in the background. The neighbour however is out of her depth in the substances that make up his world. She envisages the head of the baby in the place of Henry's and backs away, horrified.
 Henry and eraserhead, one and the same. An artist tends to fixate on the tools of his/her trade, and David Lynch is multitalented, cartoonist, graphic artist, painter. He has used raw meat in his paintings, maggots, utilized on the processes of decay, mortification.
 The Lady in the Radiator, with her absurd pouched cheeks and shy gestures, is now Henry's only salvation, his release. Her song, inane and cloying, her dance, as she crushes the nauseous wriggling sperm beneath her shoes, is what he yearns for. The innocence and lack of threat, all fear of paternity oozing out beneath her feet.
 To reach his dream, the pathetic and malformed offspring must be erased. The mistake, the blunder, rubbed out. White light, white paper.

"I keep hoping people will like distractions, space to dream, consider things that don't necessarily add up." - David Lynch.

The number of Henry's room is 26. At the Lost Highway motel the room where Mr. Eddy/Laurent is laid by Renee and taken prisoner by Fred is No. 26.

No adding up is necessary.

Dawn Andrews

Famous Lines from Famous Movies

"The life of the mind.
There's no road map for that territory."

- John Turturro, to John Goodman, in
written by Ethan and Joel Coen, directed by Joel Coen

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