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TWIN PEAKS

USA, 1989 (MIFF 1990)

Director: David Lynch

Allegedly, David Lynch and Mark Frost approached television with the proposal of making a series for television when it became difficult to raise money for a theatrical feature following Lynch's acclaimed Blue Velvet. This is the open-ended pilot to what is to be a seven part series, only one of which Lynch directed. Given its television origins the film can never be seen in cinemas. Consequently, this MFF screening is almost certainly the only opportunity Australian audiences will have to see Twin Peaks in its 35mm glory.

In many respects, the move may seem incongruous given the director's penchant for subject matter and styles that hardly fit the narrow and conservative foci of network television. But, as The New Yorker magazine succinctly stated the matter, "It has both the insidious weirdness of Lynch's best movie work and the weird insidiousness of top-of-the-line TV trash".

The film is set in the fictional lumber town Twin Peaks, whose corrupt underbelly is exposed with the arrival of an FBI agent to investigate a series of bizarre murders. In theme, at least, the film is very reminiscent of Blue Velvet, though Lynch's concerns here rest less in that film's depiction of sexual perversion and violence than in the distinctive features of soap - the twisted, convoluted relationships between the townsfolk, guilty secrets, dirty washing, amply sprinkled suggestions of greed, betrayal and lust.

Lynch imaginatively uses the conventions of soap to thwart any attempt on the viewer's part to solve what amounts to a straightforward mystery investigation. Emotional intensities are strangely inverted, characterisations run contrary to expectations and plot twists run askew while eerily beautiful imagery (by Ron Garcia) describe the picturesque calmness of the treacherous netherworld.

Playful, subversive and faultlessly executed, Twin Peaks is further confirmation that Lynch is one of the most original forces in contemporary cinema. While we await the arrival of Lynch's recently completed Wild At Heart, which won the Palme d'Or at Cannes just three weeks ago, this timely screening of Twin Peaks is an opportunity not to be missed.
- (PKa)

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