Bizarre, bold and brilliant – David Lynch has a temporary home at HOME this summer for the duration of MIF19. Featuring an extensive selection of art, film, music and more, this unique take-over promises something for everyone, from Lynchian fanatics to first-timers. Take a look at our roundup of cult classics from the avant-garde artist that you simply can’t miss…

Eraserhead (1977)
In 1977, Lynch stormed the cinema landscape with his first full-feature film, the shocking and sinister Eraserhead. Filmed entirely in black and white, it tells the story of Henry Spencer, a man who navigates a surreal and imposing world whilst trying to raise his terrifying, monster son. Chaotic, dark and disturbing, Eraserhead is influenced by the intensely fearful mood of Philadelphia at the time, where Lynch himself lived among high crime and extreme poverty. This creepy classic has enjoyed endless cult success and positioned Lynch as one of the most original and innovative filmmakers in contemporary film, dawning a new, unapologetically unsettling and experimental age for cinema. You can catch it at HOME on Friday 16 August.

The Elephant Man (1980)
Undoubtedly one of Lynch’s most commercially successful (and arguably conventional) films, The Elephant Man is a historical drama that follows John Merrick (played sensationally by John Hurt), a severely deformed man who becomes a figure of curiosity and ridicule in Victorian London freakshows. Merrick is taken under the care of Doctor Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins) and through a series of searching conversations and powerful outbursts, his sense of humanity is provoked, nurtured and ultimately restored. Taking viewers from dread, to sympathy, to compassion as they navigate Lynch’s cruelly misunderstood protagonist, the film crescendos with Merrick’s now infamous outburst about people fearing what they don’t understand, which still rings eerily true today. It’s impossible not to be moved by his pain: “I am not an elephant. I am not an animal. I am a human being…I am a man!” The Elephant Man is showing at HOME on Sunday 14 July.

Blue Velvet (1986)
It’s hard not to think of this incredibly cool 80’s drama without first crediting its soundtrack. A perfect blend of pop, original score and distinctly Lynchian sounds, the impressive and unsettling use of Roy Orbison’s ‘In Dreams’ echoes throughout the film, teasing and aggravating the line between reality and illusion (oh so Lynch!). Blue Velvet follows college student Jeffrey Beaumont (played by Lynch favourite Kyle MacLachlan) who returns to his sweetly suburban home after his father falls ill. The film encapsulates Lynch’s obsession with the 1950’s American dream – white picket fences and infuriating ignorance – and the darkness that festers beneath it. A battle between the light and the dark ensues, both visually and metaphorically, as Beaumont tackles the toxic underworld of small-town America. Don’t miss the premiere on Sunday 18 August at HOME.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me + Intro (1992)
We couldn’t do a Lynch round-up without a nod to the Peaks, could we? Except this psychological horror isn’t actually set in Twin Peaks. Deer Meadows is an equally debauched town that serves as another Lynch metaphor for America’s suburban underbelly. A prequel to the television series, Special Agent Dale Cooper is back, along with most of the original cast, to investigate the murder of Teresa Banks and the last week in the life of high-school student Laura Palmer. Released to largely negative reviews, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me has since undergone a critical reappraisal with the release of the new tv series and is now considered to be a movie must for all Lynch fans. Oh, and look out for David Bowie’s cameo appearance as an FBI agent! This screening will be introduced by Bren O’Callaghan, Curator at HOME on Sunday 7 July.

Mulholland Drive (2001)
A love story in the city of dreams, Mulholland drive follows aspiring actress Betty Elms, who meets and befriends Rita, a woman recovering from a car accident. Far from the shining Hollywood stereotype – because this is Lynch, right? – the destructive nature of Los Angeles is revealed through muddled, fantasy scenes paralleling Betty’s dream world and her depressing reality. A hazy, non-linear cascade of shocking human interactions ensues and even Lynch has been cagey about revealing the hidden meanings in this film. Originally intended as a television pilot, everything is an illusion on Mulholland drive, so get ready for a confusing, and intensely beautiful, emotional rollercoaster. Mulholland Drive is screening at HOME on Saturday 24 August.

You can catch all of these Lynchian classics and more from the director at HOME Manchester for the duration of MIF and beyond, from Sat 6 July – Sunday 29 September 2019. Head here for the full line up.

HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place, First Street, Manchester, M15 4FN, Tel: 0161 200 1500, Times and prices vary,

Sat 6 Jul - Sun 29 Sep
Grace Fleming
Published on:
Mon 2 Sep 2019