A dream of dark and troubling things…. David Lynch’s 1977 debut feature, Eraserhead, is both a lasting cult sensation and a work of extraordinary craft and beauty. With its mesmerizing black-and-white photography by Frederick Elmes and Herbert Cardwell, evocative sound design, and unforgettably enigmatic performance by Jack Nance, this visionary nocturnal odyssey continues to haunt American cinema like no other film.
“Eraserhead was one of a kind: from its dysfunctional hero-introverted Henry Spencer with his upswept Bride of Elvis/Frankenstein hairdo and his skittish girlfriend, Mary X, to its stunningly weird visual style to its wildly askew take on ’70s America. Shot in L.A., but set in a German Expressionist version of Philadelphia (a city writer-director David Lynch, who once lived there, described as “Hell on Earth”), Eraserhead becomes a strange reverse-erotic poem. What makes Eraserhead great and still, perhaps, the best of all Lynch’s films? Intensity. Nightmare clarity. And perhaps also it’s the single-mindedness of its vision; Lynch’s complete control over this material, where, working on a shoestring, he served as director, producer, writer, editor and sound designer. Perhaps also, it’s because Eraserhead is in black and white: a voluptuously bleak, beautifully grim and eerie monochrome reeking of Expressionism’s film noir/horror movie progeny. And perhaps it’s simply because Lynch’s viewpoint is so bizarre, he needs to be completely immersed in his own hermetic world to be, paradoxically, free” —Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune. Unrated. 1978. 89 Min.
Screened as part of the ENERGY/EXHAUSTION 2019/2020 film series, Wednesdays at Railroad Square Cinema — 7:15 p.m. (Oct. – April). Presented by the Colby Center for the Arts and Humanities and Colby Cinema Studies.
FREE ADMISSION for anyone with a Colby College I.D. All others: regular admission prices apply.