David Lynch VS David Cronenberg

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Pete Martell
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David Lynch VS David Cronenberg

Postby Pete Martell » Sat Dec 01, 2007 9:51 am

Post your thoughts...
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brokentiny
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Postby brokentiny » Mon Dec 03, 2007 7:01 pm

They're both named David.

I'm a fan of both, but for different reasons. Cronenberg is one of my favourate filmmakers, Lynch is one of my favourate artists full stop!

Cronenberg's Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch, Crash, History of Violence, Spider, Videodrome. The man can make films. And he's really transcended his horror film reputation and past. Not that there's anything wrong with horror films, (I like Argento's films too) he's just moved into really interesting areas and I think overall I prefer his later work.

Generally they create quite different moods, Cronenberg's tend to be quite cold, Lynch's character's and situations have more passion. Though they occasionally both create a similar sense of dread in their films.
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Postby Evenreven » Tue Dec 04, 2007 3:59 am

Spider is a really underrated work. Amazing film.

They have some of the darkness in common, I guess, but Cronenberg's darkness has less of the seductive appeal, and he's not as moralistic about it as Lynch either. Cronenberg is more traditional, but not necessarily in a bad way. All in all, I don't think they have that much in common.
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Postby Pete Martell » Tue Dec 04, 2007 1:55 pm

I think that Cronenberg deals more with reality but in a dreamish way.
They both work with the same people for twenty years (editors,composers) but Cronenberg doesn't recast any actor.
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Postby Robin Davies » Thu Dec 06, 2007 12:57 pm

Pete Martell wrote: Cronenberg doesn't recast any actor.

Jeremy Irons? Stephen Lack? Robert Silverman? Ronald Mlodzik?
(OK, I'm being pedantic...)
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Postby Pete Martell » Sat Dec 08, 2007 12:24 am

Okay, i meant that in comparison to Lynch he doesn't recast any actor.
They both deal with the duality of the self in a deeper psychological level.
Finally they both have books on Faber and Faber directors' series.
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Postby Tonya J » Sat Dec 15, 2007 4:29 pm

I considered weighing in on this but wasn't sure quite how. brokentiny, I love your opening salvo: "They're both named David."

Being a horror-film enthusiast, I've always considered Cronenberg's films to be firmly in that genre, and David Lynch's, not. Seems to me Cronenberg is exploring his own squeamishness about sex and the human body, for whatever reasons. When his films were more in Sci-Fi mode like say, Scanners, or Videodrome, The Fly, I enjoy them more. Even though I have a strong stomach, the psychological underpinnings of his horror stuff have been enough to make me look away or cringe inside, Dead Ringers, one of his most repulsive. And even when I say repulsive, it doesn't mean I don't enjoy his craftsmanship, because I do. (Edited for clarity) I'd rather watch 1 Cronenberg film over 20 Wes Craven films any day. The Dead Zone proved to me he was an artist. No one has ever come close to making a definitively good version of a Stephen King novel except Cronenberg. And that particular novel is my favorite and always will be.

But David Lynch, it seems to me, is more interested in realistic high-stakes emotions, presented in unrealistic dreamlike fashion. Cronenberg always seems right in my face and maybe in even up my nostrils at times, getting his point across, while with DL (even if yes, some scenes in his films are equally disturbing) it's like having the most silky paintbrush painting my skin, so pleasurable that my brain is stunned by the images it's receiving, but also sometimes jabbing it with a little sharp painful point as if to say, "Hah! Life can be beautiful but then it takes an awful turn."

I don't know if that makes sense but I think both directors' work is to be highly valued. Just in different ways.
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Postby brokentiny » Sat Dec 22, 2007 4:46 pm

Tonya J wrote:I considered weighing in on this but wasn't sure quite how. brokentiny, I love your opening salvo: "They're both named David."

Being a horror-film enthusiast, I've always considered Cronenberg's films to be firmly in that genre, and David Lynch's, not. Seems to me Cronenberg is exploring his own squeamishness about sex and the human body, for whatever reasons. When his films were more in Sci-Fi mode like say, Scanners, or Videodrome, The Fly, I enjoy them more. Even though I have a strong stomach, the psychological underpinnings of his horror stuff have been enough to make me look away or cringe inside, Dead Ringers, one of his most repulsive. And even when I say repulsive, it doesn't mean I don't enjoy his craftsmanship, because I do. (Edited for clarity) I'd rather watch 1 Cronenberg film over 20 Wes Craven films any day. The Dead Zone proved to me he was an artist. No one has ever come close to making a definitively good version of a Stephen King novel except Cronenberg. And that particular novel is my favorite and always will be.

But David Lynch, it seems to me, is more interested in realistic high-stakes emotions, presented in unrealistic dreamlike fashion. Cronenberg always seems right in my face and maybe in even up my nostrils at times, getting his point across, while with DL (even if yes, some scenes in his films are equally disturbing) it's like having the most silky paintbrush painting my skin, so pleasurable that my brain is stunned by the images it's receiving, but also sometimes jabbing it with a little sharp painful point as if to say, "Hah! Life can be beautiful but then it takes an awful turn."

I don't know if that makes sense but I think both directors' work is to be highly valued. Just in different ways.


Excellent post Tonya J. I would agree pretty much with everything you said here. I agree that Lynch could never be called a horror director per se. The closest might be "Eraserhead" or "Lost Highway", but they are both long stretches. I think he's kind of in a genre of his own.

I would say that Cronenberg is moving away from Horror/Sci Fi yet still retaining his identity and his concepts of the the body and sexuality. I think "Naked Lunch" was probably his last Sci Fi-ish film (even though the book isn't really).
"M Butterfly" onwards have kind of been metaphysical, psychological dramas I think. Even "Crash" which was based on what might be considered a Sci Fi novel by Ballard was more based in drama and psycho-sexual obsession. I really loved "History of Violence" and look forward to seeing his newie.

I did like Cronenberg's "The Dead Zone", but I'm not really a fan of King so I haven't read the book. I think Rob Reiner has done two good King adaptions with "Stand By Me" ('The Body') and "Misery". As far as other horror directors, I think Wes Craven has had some moments but they are way behind him, I was disappointed with George Romero's "Land of the Dead" but look forward to seeing "Diary of the Dead". In fact his take on King with "The Dark Half" was pretty solid I thought. My other fave horror directors would be Dario Argento and Mario Bava, nasty in places, but beautiful to look at.

Back to Lynch and comparisons to other American directors; I think there are some comparisons that could be made to the Coen Brothers better works; especially "Blood Simple", "Barton Fink" and "Fargo", similar atmosphere is created I think. Lynch is also known to be a big Kubrick fan and having been on a big Kubrick kick myself there are touches there. I know a lot of people didn't like "Eyes Wide Shut", but I thought it was pretty good and slightly Lynch-like.
Not Lynch related or an unusual film, but I recommend everyone check out Kubrick's "Paths of Glory". The penultimate scene is heartbreaking!

Sorry to get off topic.
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Postby Tonya J » Sat Dec 22, 2007 8:20 pm

Off topic? Well, it's not like people are crowding in here to have a convo, brokentiny. No, that's great that you bring up Kubrick, who I think would be a much better subject to have a debate on as far as comparing Lynch and another director. And it's interesting you bring up the Coen Brothers as well, though I think they are better on story and not nearly the visual artists that DL is. Kubrick does tend to leave one cold; it's an intellectual chill that is not leavened with the lush sensuality DL brings to his work via his ability to paint beautiful pictures in the midst of angst, terror and pain. However, there have been performances in his films that manage to engage you emotionally despite their meticulously staged backdrops.

I'm with you on liking Eyes Wide Shut, a film that might have been offputting to viewers because of who the stars were; Nicole Kidman at least can act, but the Chipmunk (as I refer to Tom Cruise) is usually only effective in films when his own true persona is used to a director's advantage. That was true in EWS and also true in Spielberg's War of the Worlds, as well as Magnolia where being cocky, strident and vain worked quite well. For me his best work is in Minority Report where Spielberg was somehow more successful in leeching out those negative qualities and making him into a likeable guy who'd suffered a horrible loss. But enough about the Chipmunk.

I would say that Cronenberg is moving away from Horror/Sci Fi yet still retaining his identity and his concepts of the the body and sexuality. I think "Naked Lunch" was probably his last Sci Fi-ish film (even though the book isn't really). "M Butterfly" onwards have kind of been metaphysical, psychological dramas I think. Even "Crash" which was based on what might be considered a Sci Fi novel by Ballard was more based in drama and psycho-sexual obsession. I really loved "History of Violence" and look forward to seeing his newie.

You're quite right of course. Sometimes when I write I don't fully think through the subject at hand because I'm pressed for time or there are certain thoughts I want to get out before I lose them. Loved, loved, loved, A History of Violence and other films that have moved him more into mainstream filmmaking and away from horror. I don't go to movie theatres very often (though I saw Sweeney Todd last night - I had to, it's Sondheim!) so haven't seen Eastern Promises yet. These more naturalistic movies, though violent, are not as in-your-face as some of the horror stuff has been.

I think Rob Reiner has done two good King adaptions with "Stand By Me" ('The Body') and "Misery".

Right again. Stand by Me being more of an accomplishment for Reiner, since it isn't horror in the strictest sense, more adventure/mystery. I'd actually take Delores Claiborne over Misery, both in execution and Bates' performances, but Dead Zone for me is quintessential King.
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Postby Tonya J » Wed Jan 02, 2008 12:02 pm

This is a very nice interview with David Cronenberg on MSN I just found. I thought it would be more about suggestions on DVDs to buy but he ends up talking about the moviegoing v. stay-at-home watching movies experience, which jives nicely with this discussion so far.

Now I just need to find a "David Lynch recommends" article and post that. I imagine DL would like the DVD Cronenberg had in his DVD player at the time of the interview. I need to see that one, actually.

http://movies.msn.com/new-on-dvd/feature-article/?news=289763&Gt1=10792
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Cronenberg CRASH (1996)

Postby mike retter » Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:51 pm

Fire Walk With Me and Eraserhead were the films that influenced me as a teenager. I was truly moved by the two films.

The latest film to have that effect on me is David Cronenberg's CRASH. I disagree that Cronenberg is tied to genre anymore than Lynch. CRASH is not a genre film. There are no bad guys/good guys. Just different perspectives and sides to people. Is the film a thriller? no. It is just a clearly realised vision. If you have not seen CRASH watch it with an open mind and dont judge the characters strait away. If you have seen this film also find Todd Haynes SAFE (1995). What these films share is an existentual focuss and questioning.

I love Lynch and totally exausted his films from the age of 18 to 21. I read books on him and wrote about him. I even did a painting of him in a short film http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYsehfw_9Rg . But David Cronenbergs CRASH based on the book by JG Ballard moved me in a way where I was inspired, not to subcontiously remake or mimic my inspirations, but to find my own voice and create totally new things. Lynch was the first step. He opened me up to cinema and art. I do not beleive Cronenberg is the next step but CRASH was. It is an almost fluke that the right book was directed by the right filmmaker to create a mind blowing film. I look at film differently and proberbly like it less. That is good for a young-want-to-be filmmaker like myself because inspiration should come from life not other films. If it is other films it is imitation. Art should not be imitative. There is too much of that already in post modernism. This comes back to Lynch again in the sense that he is a preacher of "ideas". Take that inspiration from him and dont subcontiously rip-off his aesthetic - curtins, surealism, strobe lights mysterious figures etc. Take his sermon of ideas (literally) because that is the best peice of advice.

The ideas of CRASH came from auther JG Ballard and were faithfully brought to the screen by Cronenberg. I encourage you to see it. Do not confuse it with the recent film Crash with Sandra Bullock. I wish you all well in your creative endevors. Nice pount about both having the first name David.

Mike Retter

check this out
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYsehfw_9Rg
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Re: Cronenberg CRASH (1996)

Postby brokentiny » Wed Apr 02, 2008 2:22 pm

mike retter wrote:Fire Walk With Me and Eraserhead were the films that influenced me as a teenager. I was truly moved by the two films.

The latest film to have that effect on me is David Cronenberg's CRASH. I disagree that Cronenberg is tied to genre anymore than Lynch. CRASH is not a genre film. There are no bad guys/good guys. Just different perspectives and sides to people. Is the film a thriller? no. It is just a clearly realised vision. If you have not seen CRASH watch it with an open mind and dont judge the characters strait away. If you have seen this film also find Todd Haynes SAFE (1995). What these films share is an existentual focuss and questioning.


Cheers Mike,
I don't think either myself or Tonya J claimed Cronenberg was tied to a genre in our posts. In fact I said that he has shaken off his past reputation as a horror/sci fi director whilst still maintaining an interest in the body and sexuality. You quite rightly re-mentioned CRASH and that is an example of a film of non-specific genre, but deals with those subjects. Initially I found it one of Cronenberg's more difficult films to get into. Not because of a judgemental attitude on my part, but something about the coldness of the film. Paradoxically that's what I enjoy about it now and is an absolutey essential element to the look and feel of the film. I also think the soundtrack is one of Howard Shore's finest.

I haven't seen Safe, but will try and check it out. I too was and still am a Lynch devotee, reading, writing and researching his works and process.
And to a slightly lesser extent, the same with Cronenberg.
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Videodrome Hands

Postby mike retter » Thu Apr 03, 2008 7:25 pm

I love Cronenbergs CRASH the most. Videodrome is an interesting film but highly flawed. What I loved best about it was the ideas, it almsot had to many ! I share something with videodrome in that over the past few years I have worked in a community TV station (I left recently because of creative differences...) and my life has bean consumed with the subject. Not just at work but at home I have theorised and obsessed about the medium of television taking it very seriously. My conclusion is that public broadcasting (not community TV as such) is the greatest contributor to the meduim world wide. This includes ABC in Australia BBC in the UK, PBS in the USA (Frontline is outstanding) and all the smaller Europian ones. You will only find the discussion we are haveing on a public broadcaster (on television anyway) because it is merit driven not ratings driven. HBO is an exception but a lot of its content is sauced world wide from Public broadcasters and moddeled partly on British and Euro public broadcasting dramas. Weird thing to talk about but
I am passionate about substance on TV. I first got to see Eraserhead on SBS in Australia (special Broadcasting Service). Anyway Back to Videodrome. I found the film dissapointing because I was in such antisipation. The ideas are many and not fully brought to life. It is a film I would love to remake or even re-invent. Bellow is a painting I called Videodrome Hands. It is among a four painting exhibiion in Adelaide, Australia at the moment. They are all about television.


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Postby brokentiny » Fri Apr 04, 2008 6:45 am

I never realised that 'Eraserhead' was ever shown on SBS. I first saw it on a bootleg video cassette a friend gave me. I used to run a film society during my undergrad years playing 16mm prints of cult cinema and avant garde film. One of the first films we wanted to get was Eraserhead as at the time I hadn't seen it even though I was a big Lynch fan and it wasn't on video. There was one 16mm distributer in Australia that had this film, but it was just sitting on the shelf collecting dust because the rights were tied up in red tape and the company could not lend it out. A few years after seeing it on bootleg VHS I was lucky to see the re-mastered, re-graded 35mm print at our AFI arthouse cinema. That ruled!

That's quite a nice image Mike, well done on Videodrome Hands. I realise and agree that Cronenberg's 'Videodrome' is flawed, but if I think about it, it would probably be closest to my fave of his films. Conceptually I like it a lot and although primitive, I really like the images he's created. It's aged a bit, but I think it's still relevant today. I would say the Cronenberg kind of re-made it (albeit with different technology in mind) with 'Existenz'. which was good, but not on par with 'Videodrome'. Generally I don't think re-makes have much point to them, but each to their own.
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remakes

Postby mike retter » Fri Apr 04, 2008 7:31 pm

Hey I agree with remakes being mostly bad. The thing with videodrome is I want to remake it autobiographicaly in Australia. I will use the very bare bones of his idea, loosely and reinvent it from the ground up. I actualy want it to be an Australian film if I made it but it is just one of the many ideas I have for all sorts of projects and so it is near the bottom of the list.

Yeah when I first got to see Eraserhead on SBS (14 or 15) I just turned it off. I can say that. But I did still leave an impression on me. It was years later in my late teens that I gave it another watch because of FWWM. One of the things that struck me most was that both films shared the same place in the dreem (or simular) with that jaged floor. I loved FWWM.
A simple thing I had not seen done before. And thats how it all started. I found it strange that these films were connected. I also loved the two films because I was usualy frozen (hypnotised) by the end and could not move my body unitll the credits finished.

MIke

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