David Lynch isn’t just one of the most renowned filmmakers of all time, but also a true artist since he is a musician, an actor, and a painter. Through his unique vision and cinematic style, he has created a lot of critically acclaimed avant-garde films as well as cult classics. Here is a list of some remarkable works not directed by David Lynch.
10. Forbidden Room (2015)
Guy Maddin, the director of “My Winnipeg” and “The Saddest Music in the World”, creates another absurd, surreal and utterly insane voyage of dreams. It is a non-linear tribute to silent movies as well as an experimental approach to subconscious. The film is a collection of short-stories, lucid dreams and hideous nightmares that create an uneasy atmosphere.
This anthology of odd stories and delusional characters it could be described as a descent into madness. Although there is no plot, the unconventional narration and the bizarre stock footage create a dream-like world of endless possibilities. It is an emotionally engaging and visual stunning trip through the abyss of the human soul. Not only it is a visually stunning depiction of a deranged reality, but also a disorienting experience.
Moreover, it quite obvious that Guy Maddin is influenced by the avant-garde surrealism of Luis Buñuel as well as the dream-like imagery of David Lynch. Not only this confusing and nauseating film is a homage to silent cinema of the 1920s, but also one of the weirdest films of the 21st century.
On the other hand, “Forbidden Room” looks a lot like David Lynch’s utterly incomprehensible masterpiece “Inland Empire”. Both films have bizarre characters, recurring themes about dreams and repressed memories as well as documentary camera techniques. In addition, this combination of different genres it is also an ode to German expressionism and Breton’s surrealism.
All in all, “Forbidden Room” is a genuinely powerful film that will definitely be a pleasant surprise for those who love David Lynch’s work.
9. Naked Lunch (1991)
Directed by David Cronenberg, “Naked Lunch” is the film adaptation of William Burroughs’ novel. Although this is a deranged version of Burroughs’ novel, it is as confusing as the book.
The film follows the story of Bill Lee (Peter Weller), a bug exterminator who becomes addicted to bug repellent powder. Being exposed to this insecticide he begins daydreaming and hallucinating. Eventually, he believes that he is a secret agent who is assigned by a freakish bug to kill his wife, Joan (Judy Davis). After accidentally shooting her in the head while playing a game of William Tell, he embarks on a psychedelic journey full of illusions, delusional reports on secret missions and talking insects.
This is a transcendental and nightmarish depiction of how William Burroughs actually wrote his novel. It is actually David Cronenberg’s interpretation of Burroughs’ life and work. Thus, the main character Bill Lee looks like the alter-ego of Burroughs, since he is an addict who accidentally shoots his wife.
Furthermore, “Naked Lunch” is a twisted tale that is as incomprehensible and sublime as David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” or “Mulholland Dr.”. David Cronenberg creates a magical world of dreams quite similar to the distorted reality of “Twin Peaks”. It is a distasteful depiction of a mad world with monstrous characters as a result of drug addiction.
Not only it is a disturbing portrait of the great writer, but also one of the best cult movies of all time. A jewel of cult cinema that becomes better after multiple viewings.
8. Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
“Jacob’s Ladder” is a twisted dark tale about a war veteran Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins) trying to get his life back on track. He is a postal worker who is coping with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Not only he has to overcome PTSD, but also to deal with depressing past memories such as the death of his child. In addition, he is having nightmarish delusions and hallucinations. Thus, he believes that he is the victim of secret Army experiment and that there is a conspiracy theory. As soon as he embarks on a spiritual journey to find the truth, his life becomes a living hell.
Moreover, it is a disturbing and bleak portrait of a mentally unstable character who suffers from symptoms of schizophrenia, anxiety and manic depression. Tim Robbins delivers an outstanding performance as a mentally ill war veteran who is unable to cope with life’s challenges.
This mad reality looks a lot like the twisted world of David Lynch’s “Eraserhead”. It is a dark story with repulsive characters, horrifying scenes and disturbing images of deformed people. This dream-like world also stands out as a close examination of the subconscious. So, “Jacob’s Ladder” looks like a darker version of Lynch’s masterpiece “Mulholland Dr.”.
Overall, this intense tale of psychological terror is a deep dive into the deranged mind of a mentally broken character. A haunting and unforgettably unique horror film that will stay with you for a long time.
7. Black Moon (1975)
Directed by Louis Malle, one of the most renowned directors of all time, “Black Moon” is a surreal fantasy film about dreams. Set in a dystopian future, where there is an ongoing war between men and women, a young girl named Lily (Cathryn Harrison) seeks refuge in a faraway farmhouse.
There she encounters numerous bizarre characters and mythical creatures such as an old woman who never leaves her bed and can talk to animals, a girl and a boy who are also named Lilly, some naked children running around the house and a talking unicorn.
It is quite obvious that this dream-like world is Louis Malle’s interpretation of Lewis Carroll’s novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. Thus, Lily’s character who is lost in this chaotic and strange world of endless possibilities, is quite similar to Alice’s character. In addition, the weird talking unicorn represents the abstract ideas of art, wisdom and fate like the “White Rabbit” from Carroll’s classic novel.
Not only it is an experimental depiction of the battle of the sexes, but also a charming tale with dreamscapes of ethereal images, breathtaking cinematography and eerie music. This avant-garde film stands out as an allegory of war and sexism as well as a magnificent fairy-tale about mysticism and dreams.
On the other hand, Louis Malle’s cinematic wonderland is quite similar to David Lynch’s enigmatic world. It is also an absurd story with unique characters about dreams, sexuality and abstract art.
To sum up, “Black Moon” is an essential film of the great French director that every Lynch fan would enjoy.
6. The Phantom of Liberty (1974)
“The Phantom of Liberty” is probably one of the most highly acclaimed films of surrealistic cinema of all time. It is directed by the pioneer of surrealistic cinema Luis Buñuel, who is one of the most influential filmmakers in film history.
The film it is a wonderful amalgam of short funny stories, dreams and weird scenes. Although this is a delightful comic depiction of the conventional bourgeois lifestyle, it is also a philosophical critique of morality. This mixture of loosely connected satirical episodes stands out as a metaphor for Buñuel’s hatred of the ruling class.
Moreover, “The Phantom of Liberty” is a sociological movie about religion, culture and politics. Through the excessive use of irony, Buñuel makes a statement about the nature of freedom. Not only it is a subtle commentary on the degradation of social and moral values, but also a surreal portrait of the modern society.
However, this unique collection of vignettes is a deep examination of dreams and the subconscious mind. David Lynch has also been associated with the surrealist movement. He has created numerous absurd works about dreamworlds and fantastic universes. Thus, it is quite obvious that both filmmakers are influenced by art movement of surrealism.
Not only “The Phantom of Liberty” is an essential film for introduction to surrealistic cinema, but also a jewel of contemporary arthouse cinema. A magnificent film for those who love Lynch’s cinema.