clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:


If you are a David Lynch fan - from "Eraserhead" to "Blue Velvet" - you may have a particular interest in seeing "The Incredibly Bizarre Short-Film Festival," but this is certainly a mixed bag.

Lynch's two films in this collection of shorts were the least appealing to me, so weird that only dyed-in-the-wool fans get a recommendation from this corner.They are "Alphabet" and "The Grandmother," both live-action/animation combinations filled with strange sexual imagery and bloody violence, though all of it is quite stylized.

"Alphabet" is Lynch's first film, a four-minute piece that plays like "Sesame Street" combined with "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" as the ABC's go wild. And his second film, "The Grandmother," plays almost like a sequel to "Alphabet," a really weird look at the birth-life-death cycle with a man and woman who act like wild dogs, and their lonely son, who resembles the little anemic, red-lipped boy on the old "Addams Family" and "Munsters" TV shows, or George A. Romero's film "Martin." The boy plants a tree of sorts in a bed and it gives birth to his grandmother. And that description just scratches the surface.

The other two "new" films are pieces by Jonathan Reiss, one that plays like rebellion in a junkyard as various pieces of machinery go berserk in their own universe - titled "A Bitter Message of Hopeless Grief" - and the other a reasonably normal work, a black-and-white film noir with a twist ending - titled "Baited Trap."

Also to be shown are two surrealistic animated pieces by The Brothers Quay, Czech animators who worked under the tutelage of Jan Svankmajer. Their pieces, "The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer" and "The Epic of Gilgamesh," have been shown locally before.

My personal favorite in the bunch was the more mainstream "Baited Trap," but it's hard to imagine anyone sitting through these who is not a fan, a film buff or a student of the strange.

Though unrated, these short films combined would doubtless earn a PG-13, particularly for the violence and sexual imagery of Lynch's work.