Lynch (auteur theory)

Now that you’ve seen Eraserhead (1977) and Blue Velvet (1986), consider the connections between the two films.  We will leave the issue of internal meaning behind for now.  Instead, let’s focus on personal style.  What thematic and aesthetic continuities exist between these two David Lynch films?  Please reply in the required number of words and by Thursday’s deadline as indicated on the course syllabus.

41 thoughts on “Lynch (auteur theory)

  1. In both films, Lynch likes getting a close-up of unnerving sounds—specifically the diegetic variety (which I suppose is what makes the sounds so unnerving since you’re forced to face it). In Blue Velvet, when Frank is huffing his helium/amyl/whatever, it’s very comparable to the hissing of the radiator (and crying baby) in Eraserhead with it’s seemingly lead-in to uncomfortable scenes. Those sounds (and the scenes they accompany) seem to follow some theme of fear or unknown… or both. As with most Lynch stuff, both of these films have a scene that stands out from every other scene and that’s the odd, out of place musical number, and in the case of these two, the theme of dreams shine through—the song in Blue Velvet being about dreams and the song in Eraserhead taking place in a dream. And both protags have a bunch of dreams throughout their films and there’s weird parental units in both and plenty of other stylistic Lynch stuff and 50 words isn’t enough for these blogs, so, yeah.

  2. Throughout Blue Velvet and Eraser Head, I noticed that Lynch uses cuts in unnecessary situations. From time to time, the audience is confused as to where the cut has moved the scene to. For example, in Blue Velvet, when Jeffery and Sandy are walking down the street in the beginning of the movie, there are cuts to the trees and then back to the characters. In addition to cuts, Lynch’s use of non diegetic music is also meant to make the audience feel uncomfortable. In Eraser Head we see that in quite a few scenes towards the end when the focus is more on the baby. In comparing the two films, the storylines are confusing to follow and at times the audience is wondering how to scenes and cuts are connected. Immediately at the opening of Blue Velvet, I noticed the similarities of the zooms of the camera to objects that might make some audience members confused and uncomfortable. There are scenes similar to that in Eraser Head which is how I may have guessed, that it was a David Lynch Film, had I been unaware.

  3. Just like in Eraserhead, the peculiarity of Blue Velvet had my brain over analyzing the scenes in an attempt to find clues to construct the deeper, internal meaning of the movie. Mostly unaware that I was doing this tells me that this is a part of Lynch’s style. I also could not help but notice unsettling pieces of flesh acting as motifs in both films.

  4. David Lynch has a very engrossing personal style for his films that tend to always display gruesome themes. In both films, Lynch uses similar odd images and scenes. For example in Eraserhead, the awkward dinner scene with the moving chicken and in Blue Velvet, when Frank kept saying “baby wants blue velvet” are two examples of how Lynch has a preference to include either unreal or uncomfortable, awkward scenes that make his films unique. Both films also had complicated and peculiar plots that show how Lynch has a type of strangeness style for his films as seen in both of these movies.

  5. David Lynch used his personal style, I would identify as idiosyncratic when creating films such as, Blue Velvet and Eraserhead. I noticed in both films there is a montage sequence of images reoccuring at times of stress. I believe Lynch uses his films to poke fun at American culture and make his viewers question values, and their own sense of awareness.

  6. In both films, the atmosphere is mysterious and surreal. Low ambient sound is common in both and gives a sense of isolation and tension, which seems very much like Lynch’s style. Long shots also build suspense, particularly when the main characters are traveling in dark areas with low key lighting. Both have story lines that can leave viewers contemplating on what the message is truly about.

  7. Both Eraserhead (1977) and Blue Velvet (1986) possess the use of diegetic sounds that one does not normally hear such as the “cackling” of the flame in Blue Velvet and the scratching of the eye in Eraserhead. This use of ambient sound is a trademark of his directing style. Both times I felt a sense of uneasiness engulf my mind almost as if I was expecting something to happen or jump out from the screen.

  8. David Lynch has a very unique style in his films that some can call uncomfortable and gruesome. He has underlying features like sexual undertones, smooth jazz, strange noises that don’t go with the object, and mentioning the Title in the movie. David Lynch’s Eraserhead and Blue Velvet have several features that are similar. Just like Eraserhead, Blue Velvet has the overly loud noises that don’t seem to fit the shot they are in. The noises also don’t make sense to the item or movement they are supposed to be for. Another similarity is the awkward conversations the characters have with each other. The conversations seem out of place and they don’t flow like a normal conversation would. Both movies have smooth jazz playing on the background.

  9. In both Blue Velvet and Eraserhead, Lynch likes to use unnerving sounds accompanied with a close up of disturbing images that unnerves the audience as they move into the next scene. At the beginning of Eraserhead this is used with the radiator, and in the beginning of Blue Velvet this technique is used with the bug under the ground. Lynch uses this sense of unease to keep the audience acutely aware of what is going on in the film, as well as keeping them off balance throughout the film.

  10. Eraserhead and Blue Velvet are different in story, but similar in style. In both films, it’s hard to not have a feeling of uneasiness at some point. Whether it be the relationship between Dorothy and Frank in Blue Velvet or the imagery in Eraserhead. This was achieved by the storyline itself or the cinematography as a whole. Besides the style shown in the story, David Lynch works with the main actor in Eraserhead, Jack Nance, in Blue Velvet. In class, we discussed how other auteurs, Sofia Coppola and Tim Burton, work with the same actors they had worked with in the past.

  11. I feel Lynch loves to throw the audience curve balls to demand deeper thinking in order for those viewing to grasp what it going on in the specific scene/entirety of the film. For instance the dying flame the is briefly displayed on screen when Jeffery and Miss Valley were being promiscuous; to being that of a massive inferno seconds later (Blue velvet), or the man with boils all over his body controlling things within Henry’s life. Additionally I feel Lynch prefers his scenes to be completely void of background noise in order for viewers to fully focus on what he wants to be seen (aside from some diegetic/non diegetic uses of sound within blue velvet). Essentially I would say Lynch prefers to have a firm grasp on those who view his work.

  12. David Lynch often uses white noise in the background of many scenes to create a tone of unease in the environment, as well as add characters with unorthodox mannerisms. The use of music in specific points of the story add to the story, like the Woman in the Radiator singing her song to the camera or Dorothea singing “Blue Velvet.”

  13. I found that both films have a dark and strange aesthetic theme to them that matched Lynch’s style where I found myself uncomfortable by what was happening. Various sounds, like that of the constant crying baby alien in Eraserhead and Dorothy’s screams in Blue Velvet, were heightened and gave the movie a darker and unnerving feel.

  14. After watching both films, I found that they’re both very strange and weird. There are scenes that make you a bit uncomfortable, like when Frank went to Dorothy’s house the first time and sexually assault her. In both films Lynch uses Diegetic music to make you feel uneasy and a little bit sad at times. He also uses lots of long silent scenes, close ups, and dark backgrounds/settings to get you intrigued and to add to the importance/seriousness of the scene.

  15. One thing that stood out to me about David Lynch’s personal style was his use of light (or lack thereof) and characters. This speaks to his thematic and aesthetic continuities throughout his two films Eraserhead and Blue Velvet because he shows many characters emerging/exiting into the light and out of the darkness. For example The Lady in The Radiator from Eraserhead would disappear into both darkness and light in different shots from different scenes. In Blue Velvet, Lynch uses shadows to completely cover Dorothy, as well as others, and then lifts the light to reveal them.

  16. After watching both Eraserhead and Blue Velvet, I believe that David Lynch uses various techniques to make his viewers uncomfortable as part of his personal style. For example, he uses many disturbing sounds, both diegetic and nondiegetic, and disturbing close up images. Lynch’s style is both strange and unsettling which is exactly the way he directs these films.

  17. After watching Eraserhead and Blue Velvet, I found that they both exhibited a strange and mysterious theme and style. David Lynch tends to leave his views over examining the meaning behind what is going on in his films. He seems to highlight certain sounds, images, and conversations amongst the characters that create a feeling of confusion and uneasiness to the viewers. Examples of this is the rubbing of the eye in Eraserhead and the sound of the fire in Blue Velvet. Another example would be the graphic image of the baby dying in Eraserhead and the sexual assault of Dorothy in Blue Velvet

  18. In both Blue Velvet and Eraserhead, David Lynch has a very specific way of portraying the meaning of his stories. He uses disturbing and unsettling sounds and images that make you really take the time to re-watch scenes to determine your own outlook of the meanings. These methods are almost too disturbing to watch at times but he somehow keeps the viewer glued to the screen out of curiosity. His movies require attention to detail such as the background and lighting making the meaning of his work very mysterious.

  19. Blue Velvet and Eraserhead certainly share many thematic and artistic similarities. The use of diegetic sound and stylistic visuals creates a sense of disorientation for its viewers in both of the films. The two films use a lack of non-diegetic music to create tension. This tactic is used in Eraserhead when Henry speaks to Mary’s father at dinner making the dialogue feel uncomfortable and awkward. In Blue Velvet, the dialogue between Frank and Jeffery before they go on a joy ride lacks any non-diegetic music which is used to communicate a level of tension and discomfort to the audience.

  20. While Blue Velvet has a much more linear and cohesive narrative than Eraserhead, David Lynch’s personal style is still readily apparent between the two films. The use of sexual themes are present in both (although they are more implicit in Eraserhead relative to the graphic sexual encounters present in Blue Velvet). This along with the disconcerting iconography (like insects and sperm creatures) as well as the presence of disturbing and explicit sequences draw parallels between the two works despite their multitude of differences.

  21. David Lynch’s personal style is clear to see after watching the films. Both employ similar mise-en-scene elements, as well as similar explorations of themes. Considering the mise-en-scene we see a fascination with sounds. In both, the scene of Dorothy singing “Blue Velvet” and the Radiator Woman singing about heaven, the context and connotation of the words being sung is both unsettling and saddening. His style also typically includes themes of Sex and Women. Eraserhead was riddled with sexual imagery and an obsession with the pleasure of the human body, and in Blue Velvet, we see this also in Jefferey’s view of Dorothy and Sandy. One woman is virtuous and the other not. David Lynch does an amazing job of taking one’s greatest fears and relaying it through cinema in an unsettling yet captivating experience.

  22. Just like Eraserhead, David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet” has an understandable story line, but has scenes where it is very hard for the audience to interpret what is going on. While Blue Velvet was filmed in color and Eraserhead is in black and white, there are many similar aspects between the two movies. One aspect in particular is the explosion/white noise sound that appears several times throughout both movies. Another aspect is the extreme closeups on individual characters faces. One very strong similarity that I noticed immediately were both movies had almost the exact same scene. In Eraserhead, you can see what appears to be the moon or some sort of rocky planet, accompanied with that loud white noise in the background. In Blue Velvet, you can see almost this same scene, but with the ear taking the place of that rocky planet accompanied by the white noise.

  23. In both David Lynch’s Eraserhead and Blue Velvet, there’s a sense of uneasiness through the use of sound. A lot of the scenes have diegetic noises that don’t sound like what they’re supposed to be. Both movies make you overthink everything going on which helps make the story flow.

  24. The similarities between the two films seem to be lighting and non-diegetic sound. These two play a large part in both Eraserhead and Bluevelet in creating a disturbing feeling via shadow play with characters and non-diegetic sound in many scenes. In a manner that seems to be unique to Lynch.

  25. There were several conditions of Lynch’s style shown in both films including loud diegetic sounds, sexual situations, cheating, the image of a radiator, and others. To illustrate, both films open with a disturbing yet mysterious beginning. In Eraserhead, we see Henry in a horizontal view, which cuts to a mysterious lizard-like man living on a strange planet. While in Blue Velvet, we begin with a man suddenly dying while watering his yard. The scene then cuts to a close-up view of bugs.

  26. Lynch uses sound and an obsession with the strange as his signature choices in the two films we’ve seen so far from him. For instance in both there is an ominous sound in both films that gives a strange tone for the viewer. The strangeness obsession also comes out in both films as the baby in Eraserhead and the shot of the bugs in this film as well as the cut off ear. I also think the theme of sex is prevalent in both films. Although not directly explored like in Eraserhead, but more of the consequences of sex, this movie is very sexual in nature as Jeffrey is lured into a sexual encounter that, in Lynch fashion, is very strange.

  27. As one can see in both Lynch movies, the director often displays very gruesome themes that are conveyed in different ways. This is for the most part done so with the use of diegetic sounds and often gruesome themes. In his own style, David Lynch tends to use montage sequences of images as well as a number of establishing shots as we see in both films. There is also a very somber and mysterious atmosphere that seems to serve as a way to have the audience a bit on edge and feeling uneasy while watching the movie. Both movies have different stories and yet very similar styles which is one of the things we mentioned in class when looking at Sofia Coppola’s films.

  28. Both films by David Lynch seem to use diegetic sounds in order to instill a feeling of uneasiness within the viewer. In the film Eraserhead it was sounds such as Mary rubbing her eyes and making the rubbery sound while she slept, and in Blue Velvet for example it was the sound of Frank huffing on whatever he was huffing on (I assume that it was nitrous oxide). there was also a interesting part of the movie where Dorothy hides the knife in the radiator, which relates to his use of the woman in the radiator in Eraserhead.

  29. David Lynch seems to love the use of sound and how it can make an audience feel. For example, the eye rubbing scene in Eraserhead that just makes really anyone watching that scene uncomfortable and uneasy and just like Ethan above pointed out the “huffing” coming from Frank in Blue Velvet makes the audience feel weird. I would say that his use of sound is really what makes Lynch unique as a director and is sort of his “trademark” when making a film.

  30. Eraserhead and Blue Velvet have exaggerated sounds and close up shots in common. They both feature scenes where an action is shot close up and the diegetic sound is more amplified in a sense, making it uncomfortably noticeable. While Blue Velvet did contain some bloody elements, it was not nearly as visually gruesome as Eraserhead. Both movies have very dark themes. In Eraserhead, the protagonist kills his child while in Blue Velvet, the protagonist sees the act of sexual abuse.

  31. Lynch has certain quirks and qualities that follow him as an auteur throughout his films. One such quirk is the use of distortion. Whether he is distorting images or sound, as is in the case of the stage scene in Eraserhead, Lynch uses distortion as a means to convey themes of alienation and isolation as well as to provide commentary on social issues and society.

  32. In Eraser Head and Blue Velvet, the setting David Lynch used in both beginnings were a bit zany, to create a surreal looking environment. Lynch used several establishing/long shots in both films. The main characters resembled in personality, the females being a little quirky, and the males both being kind of odd. Lynch used diegetic/nondiegetic sound in both films. Lynch showed a lot of his style to create a theme and used technique.

  33. Both these movies feel like you are watching someone else’s dream. It’s like a strange twisted version of normal american towns. There are similar themes of a troubled family and characters being uncomfortable with sexuality. The film style is also similar with a lot of long close shots of people’s faces. Lynch also seems to have a liking for strange and often disturbing imagery.

  34. Between Eraserhead and Blue Velvet one can see similarities in Lynch’s personal style. Lynch draws a great amount of inspiration from surrealism, from its shocking imagery to its usage of juxtaposition, he does so in a manner that contradicts the fundamental conceit of surrealism: the rejection of normalcy. Lynch’s abstraction of the facets of our everyday life is a thematic continuity which can be seen in his take on a nuclear family in Eraserhead, and the framing of the town Lumberton in Blue Velvet. In both films Lynch’s specialization of sound and imagery simultaneously disorients and connects the viewer to a specific feeling or emotion. Lynch uses hard, high key lighting in both films to emphasize literal and symbolic juxtapositions. Another continuity between Lynch’s films is heavy symbolism, which can be seen in both Eraserhead and Blue Velvet. David Lynch creates surreal, bizarre, dream-like realities that he is able to suspend audiences in for the duration of his films.

  35. Two aspects of theme and design constant in both films are a main character (Jeffery) wrestling with his inner demons just as Henry was in Eraserhead, and the sudden use of dramatic and exaggerated lighting to put the viewer on edge. Even though Blue Velvet is filmed using color film, it still manages to get the same aesthetic and tone as seen in Eraserhead across to the viewer with high contrast low key lights.

  36. Blue Velvet and Eraserhead have dark and unnerving undertones that to fit director David Lynch’s personal style. Lynch achieves this aesthetic through the emphasis of diegetic sound, such as white noise and screaming and using characters who are alienated from society or have bizarre behaviors to create tensions and angst.

  37. Eraserhead and Blue Velvet are films that are designed to go beyond the scope of normality to highlight real life issues/struggles.. They are eerie and take the audience through an uneasy journey by the use of strange exaggerated sounds and scene setup. Both movies show Lynch’s fascination with dark elements that are strategically used to convey difficult social issues from a unique perspective. These elements are what provide a commonality among his films.

  38. Personal Style is something that is very prevalent in both Blue Velvet, and Eraserhead, by David Lynch. It seems that David Lynch loves working with characters that suffer/struggle internally as that is the case for both Jeffrey and Henry. Lynch does this very well with the use of dramatic lighting and sound. These elements that he uses strategically provide the audience with jarring views on society.

  39. The two films “Eraserhead” and “Blue Velvet” are incredibly characteristic of the directorial work of David Lynch. Many comparisons can be clearly seen between the films regarding the cinematographic and thematic elements used. For instance, in each film, most of the scenes involve the use of low-key lighting, non-diegetic sound which provides a certain ambience intended to add a degree of discomfort/eeriness to the scene, and places many shots that are long in duration. Thematically, each film has the recurrence of a song with lyrical allusion to the plot, sung by a woman, with the focus solely on her.

  40. One connection that I can clearly make between Eraserhead and Blue Velvet is the use of diegetic sounds. In Eraser head, there is a consistent eerie feeling throughout the entire movie and David Lynch did almost exactly the same thing with Blue velvet. I beleive that Lynch uses the sounds in order to create a darker and more ominous mood to his films.

  41. In David Lynch’s Eraserhead, there were many different shots with sound infidelity that were diegetic. This was also prevalent in Blue Velvet and both of the films had a rather uncanny feeling to them. There was a lot of darkness in both films and I found that to be a personal artistic choice of Lynch. It is fitting how the films are both so uneasy and odd yet work because of Lynch’s style.

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