The Grandmother (1970) Apr 15, 2017 14:21:11 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Apr 15, 2017 14:21:11 GMT -5
The Grandmother (1970)
Directed by: David Lynch
Directed by: David Lynch
NOTE: This film was recommended to me by Brendan Kolar for "Steve Pulaski Sees It," a month where I watch twenty-five films requested by friends, fans, and readers.
David Lynch's ongoing quest to be the least definable or classifiable filmmaker in the history of the medium is a wonderful streak that he continues with his several short films, specifically those included on a 2002 DVD collection. One of the inclusions is The Grandmother, a testament to his aforementioned trait, which was only a screenplay at the time Lynch sent his previous short film, The Alphabet, to the American Film Institute. The AFI promptly called Lynch back, curious if he could make The Grandmother for $5,000. It commenced and materialized with a $7,200 budget.
In thirty-three minutes, with no dialog but simply ambient noise and haunting synths, Lynch tells the story of a young boy (Richard White) with an abusive and repulsive set of parents (Robert Chadwick and Virginia Maitland). The boy also frequently wets the bed, mostly on the count of his nightmares and his frightening vision of the world, which Lynch captures with heavily saturated film-stock to compliment his almost total emphasis on dark, pitch-black cinematography.
One day, the young boy decides to plant seeds on his bed, burying them in soil, which, in turn, produce a grandmother (Dorothy McGinnis), who is loving and nurturing, something the boy never got to experience. His experiences with his grandmother are largely ambiguous and vague, but even the mood around her feels lighter and more positive, a sharp contrast to the misery and emptiness he feels with his parents.
Lynch details a nightmarish blend of reality and imagination, and by never fully characterizing anybody in this film via narration, dialog, or even clarity, we're given a twisted sense of what's real and what's not. Perhaps the boy's nocturnal enuresis is a result of planting seeds and growing a grandmother on his bed, which is all part of a recurring dream. Perhaps this film really does take place in a new and unheard-of plane of reality. We're never entirely sure, but really, when are we ever when it comes to Lynch?
The Grandmother is artistically great and uniquely compelling almost entirely in a visual sense. Its narrative juxtapositions are also something to watch for, so you don't always feel like you're staring at a screen almost entirely comprised of darkness. I'm glad that Lynch kept this at barely over a half an hour - any longer without dialog or without explicit visual clarity could have easily soiled the experience with redundant emphasis in the wrong places. It's a short that was meant to be a short, and functions as a strong exercise in the dark and macabre that Lynch has predicated himself on for years.
Starring: Richard White, Dorothy McGinnis, Robert Chadwick, and Virginia Maitland. Directed by: David Lynch.