Film series: David Lynch

image from the film BLUE VELVET

“Film is a physical process, dependent on the interaction of light and chemistry. Video is by definition more remote, more spectral, a cluster of data in the electronic ether. And while mortality is a defining trait of film, a medium that degrades and disintegrates over time, video—quickly and endlessly reproducible—conjures a spooky sense of the infinite.” (Dennis Lim, The Man from Another Place)

The above quote from Dennis Lim’s consummate book on David Lynch’s career as a filmmaker is just about the most perfect summation of Lynch’s body of work one can find. Consciously or not, David Lynch’s work exemplifies the inherent qualities of the different moving image mediums (film vs. digital), with the grainy celluloid photography of his early masterpieces like Eraserhead and The Elephant Man standing in stark contrast to his digital video works Inland Empire and Twin Peaks: The Return. That “spooky sense of the infinite” not only describes the ouroboros quality of Inland Empire, but also the mechanics of the camcorder in the hands of Robert Blake’s mystery man in Lost Highway

For this short series, we will present an increasingly rare opportunity to view Eraserhead on 35mm, which is, in our opinion, the only way to see David Lynch’s masterful debut film.

Several recent transfers of Lynch’s films to digital formats will screen this September, including a 4K transfer of his exemplary Blue Velvet and a new 4K transfer of Lost Highway, made from the original 35mm camera negatives and with 5.1 audio from the original 35mm magnetic soundtrack, all supervised by David Lynch.

Inland Empire, which was shot on MiniDV but released theatrically on 35mm back in 2006, has been completely remastered, using a new Artificial Intelligence program to upscale the low-resolution digital video master to 4K video. This was quite an involved process, and we highly recommend you read the remastering notes written for this presentation,  as they provide an excellent insight into how this work is done while offering a fascinating example for a possible future of film/video restoration. 

Related films

Scene from the film Eraserhead



Scene from the film Blue Velvet

Blue Velvet


Scene from the film Lost Highway

Lost Highway


Scene from the film Inland Empire

Inland Empire