David Lynch on the lost highway to Hollywood
Time: 10:30 - 13:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HF249
Duration: 2 sessions (over 2 weeks)
What is the course about?
This online course explores the work of the extraordinary filmmaker, David Lynch. The Hollywood that David Lynch loves was the 50s era of Douglas Sirk, Nicholas Ray and Hitchcock, of All That Heaven Allows, Johnny Guitar and the earlier Shadow of a Doubt. Something real and something over the top, beautiful and lurid, trying to escape the confines of narrative plot to deliver a surreal dream. To locate the mindset of David Lynch, just turn left onto Mulholland, drive along Sunset Boulevard and it’s a straight story all the way down to Hollywood Boulevard.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
We look at influences on Lynch, viewing works by early surrealist and avant-garde filmmakers, e.g. Luis Bunuel/Salvador Dali’s Un Chien Andalou (1929) and Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon (1943).
We will discuss his familiar motifs: a film noir vibe, a stylised look and an ever-present sense of menace. A curated selection of clips will paint a mosaic of his work, such as his masterpiece, 'Mulholland Drive', a non-linear narrative surrealist tale of Hollywood's dark side. After Mulholland he went on the road, along the 'Lost Highway', with 'Wild at Heart' and 'The Straight Story'. But it’s still the opening sequence of 'Blue Velvet' that defines Lynch in the popular imagination, a heightened, slo-mo vision of idyllic, picket-fence America.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Identify and evaluate key motifs across the range of David Lynch’s work.
• Describe and analyse his films and Twin Peaks television series.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is suitable for all levels and does not require any particular skills - just an enthusiasm for cinema and for discussing film, sharing ideas and listening to the views of others. The course will provide an introduction to the subject but will also be valuable for those wishing to build on existing knowledge in the subject area.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Opening lecture, viewing film extracts throughout with whole group discussion and in small group breakout rooms.
No prior preparation necessary. Online materials for further research provided.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No other costs. Please bring a notebook or tablet for notetaking.
Recommended reading (not mandatory):
Mactaggart, Allister (2010). The Film Paintings of David Lynch: Challenging Film Theory. Intellect Books.
Olson, Greg (29 Sept. 2008). David Lynch: Beautiful Dark. Scarecrow Press.
Lynch on Lynch, Faber & Faber revised, 2005.
Sheen, Erica; Davison, Annette (2004). The Cinema of David Lynch: American Dreams, Nightmare Visions. Wallflower Press.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Look for other film studies courses at www.citylit.ac.uk/history, culture and writing/film studies.
John Wischmeyer (MA in Film Theory) set up, ran and programmed his own cinema in West London and has since taught film studies at the former Gainsborough studio, the BFI and City Lit since 1999, Hitchcock’s centenary year. John has covered a wide range film topics under the banner ‘Cinema Investigates America’ and has a particular interest in and considerable knowledge of Hitchcock, Hollywood studios, American independent cinema and film noir, film technique and style.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.