mercoledì 15 gennaio 2020

Ed's Corner: Beyond the image, journey through the hidden meaning of movies - Eraserhead

Buon mercoledì! Oggi il blog ha un ospite: Edoardo Romanella, che cura la rubrica Oltre l'immagine su Il buio in sala dell'amico Giuseppe, all'interno della quale approfondisce il significato di alcuni film non tra i più facili. Ora quegli stessi articoli compariranno anche sul Bollalmanacco ma tradotti in inglese, giusto per ricordare che non amo solo il cinema, i fumetti, il Giappone e le cose nerdissime ma anche le lingue. Diamo quindi un caloroso benvenuto a Edoardo, che ha scelto di cominciare con un film di David Lynch che ancora, colpevolmente, mi manca, scritto e diretto dal regista nel 1977. ENJOY! 

Before I’ll start talking about the film, I should spend some word about the plot, but to be honest doing that will be almost useless, because this is a complete deconstructed, non-linear and oniric film, from the beginning to the end.
So the ones who have already seen the film know that, for the others I’m going to write down a few lines: a couple, Henry (Jack Nance) and Mary, have a baby born with a deformity, he looks more like a tadpole than a boy. Strange characters are introduced to us during the events: a machinist partially burned by the machine’s sparks, a woman with deformed cheeks, Mary’s bizarre parents, a bleeding chicken, etc…

David Lynch, the master of surrealism, after a series of short films arrived on the big screen with this masterpiece (1977), and with one and only one purpose: disorientate and anguish the viewer. For this film the cinematographic prophet of dreams (actually not really the prophet as we’ll see) designed a black and white photography, which increments the atmosphere of anxiety. Here the film shows us the desperation of the main character, his depression, topics those that have Lynch as one of the most important and representative artists (who has seen his paintings knows what I’m talking about).
From the beginning to the end he tells us a dream, we are inside Henry’s mind: his girlfriend had an unexpected pregnancy, and the birth of the baby has marked him irreversibly. Henry is upset, just like his dreams and his life are, and inside a dream his mood manifests itself: anger, agony, fear.
That is the explanation, every single element of the film shows that: from the woman with deformed cheeks that steps on embryos, to the bleeding chicken, from the inhuman baby, to Henry’s own head that separates from the body and gets used to make erasers (here’s the title, Eraser-Head). Every element shows his desire to have back his life as it was before. And the crying of the baby, that obsessive and piercing noise that torments the viewer, and poisons Henry’s existence.

With this spectacular debut, the film maker perfectly reaches his goal of disorientate and upset, and even if everything will become even better in Blue Velvet, Lost Highways, Mulholland Drive and INLAND EMPIRE, nothing is taken away from Eraserhead, which remains a milestone of its genre.
As said before, Lynch is not the prophet of this way of making films. Surrealism, symbolism, deconstruction, dreams, all those concepts were already used by another genius of the camera: Luis Bunuel (the chicken scene is a not-too-much-hidden tribute to El Angel Exterminador).
Despite Bunuel cleverness though, Lynch has made more, way more. His images are stronger, the technique is pushed to highest levels, with a very personal style and an intensity such that he is without any doubt one of the greatest film makers in the history of cinematography, and to me he is the very best for what concerns the so-called weird genre.


Special thanks to Alessandro Cardena and Glenda Fontana for the translation.

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