Thursday, January 19, 2017

Directorial Debut: David Lynch's ERASERHEAD

Welcome to a new installment of DIRECTORIAL DEBUTS, where we look at some of the best, most interesting, and iconic directors and the films that started their careers. This week we take a look at the surreal masterpiece that is David Lynch's ERASERHEAD!

Eraserhead is a complex film filled with symbolism and some convoluted hidden messages. Surrounding a man named Henry Spencer, and what you could call his mid-life crisis, Henry goes through a series of difficult trials and tribulations of sorts. He deals with his difficult industrial job, his difficult girlfriend and the deformity that is his child. Like most of Lynch's films the plot becomes lost in the visuals and symbolisms.

One thing thats impressive about Eraserhead over other Lynch projects is the fact that this is his first feature. He did have several short films before this, but his first feature still proves his brilliance early on. Tackling not only some rather disturbing subject matter but also proving the amount of overall film knowledge that Lynch possesses. One thing Lynch has flawlessly utilized throughout his career is his editing. The theory popularized by Sergei Eisenstein and Kuleshov have become necessary tools in a directors toolbox. The theory of placing two images side by side and creating a third meaning. Lynch utilizes this almost exclusively. Sometimes he will even place both images in the same frame and literally mix the two. Forcing us to create a third meaning, all the while making Lynch that much more exciting.

Eraserhead is among Lynch's more weird works. The deformity that is Henry Spencer's son is terrifying to look at. The guttering tones of Spencer's family is also quite horrific. Specifically in scenes when we see his mother and father interact. Several of the characters in Lynch's world utilize a dark and demented type voice. In The Elephant Man, it's used for us to identify the monster, in Lost Highway it's used to heighten the off-putting feeling that The Mystery Man gives us. Even though Lynch is one of the most visually talented directors he really likes to create an audible horror as well. He gives us all the reasons to be terrified along with his characters or be just as confused with his characters. And he masters this style visually, but audibly he brings even more to the table. Whether it be the audio in dialogue, the music, or even his use of silence he manages to heighten a moment even more so.

Lynch's work has always been rather polarizing and Eraserhead is no different. Working in a complex realm of elusiveness. Always showing the audience a fork in the road and letting them decide which path to go down. Lynch heightens his audiences fears and desires with his visual and audible talents as a director. As if Lynch didn't prove reason enough that he is a fantastic director, his debut feature is among his best work. Eraserhead gives us the diverse and powerful deeper meanings that we come to see in his later works. Yet it still manages to send shivers up our spine and worship the brilliance that is displayed.

Joshua's Score: 10/10


No comments:

Post a Comment