This collection of David Lynch's short films was originally only available through his Web site. This new edition is reportedly the same disc with different packaging (it lacks the oversized box and booklet of the first version), but it's considerably cheaper. You can watch each film with or without an introduction by Lynch. The films are:
SIX MEN GETTING SICK - This animated one-minute movie was Lynch's very first film. It was originally part of a multi-media piece and was projected over a sculpture on a continuously running loop. The title is an accurate description of the film, as several human heads become inflamed, catch fire, and vomit copiously. It's worth noting that, while 99.9% of movie directors become filmmakers because they're into films, Lynch came to filmmaking purely as an extension of his painting, and was never a movie buff. I think that simple fact goes a long way in explaining Lynch's originality as a director.
THE ALPHABET - A combination of animation and live action, this approximately 5-minute film is "about the fear of learning," according to Lynch. The soundtrack consists of children repeatedly chanting the alphabet, while animated letters seem to excrete and procreate and a woman in white-face cowers in a bed and eventually vomits blood (vomiting figures strongly in Lynch's early film work). It's a concentrated and eerie piece of surrealism.
THE GRANDMOTHER - A lonely, abused boy grows a grandmother from a seed in this, Lynch's first attempt at narrative (of a sort). There's some animation, but live action dominates. It's crudely made in comparison to his first feature, Eraserhead, but it's clearly the product of the same singular artistic vision.
THE AMPUTEE - Back around the time he was making ERASERHEAD, Lynch was offered some videotape for free, so he used it to shoot this short bit of black comedy. It stars Catherine Coulson (much later she became the Log Lady in TWIN PEAKS) and Lynch himself.
THE COWBOY AND THE FRENCHMAN - Made for French TV right after he finished BLUE VELVET, this is a virtually plotless exercise in comic surrealism, plopping down an absurdly stereotypical Frenchman (he wears a beret, and carries a bottle of wine and snails in briefcase) in the middle of a ranch inhabited by several stereotypical cowboys. It looks like it was mastered off a videotape source, which is odd. I wonder if the original film elements were lost.
LUMIERE - Originally titled PREMONITION FOLLOWING AN EVIL DEED, which I personally like a lot better than LUMIERE. This was made for the film LUMIERE AND COMPANY, in which acclaimed directors from all over the world were given a Lumiere camera (the very first motion picture camera) and asked to make a movie with it. Since the camera could only hold 55 seconds worth of film, the directors were retsricted to that running time. They also were not allowed to edit. If you've seen LUMIERE AND COMPANY, you know that Lynch's film is by far the most interesting and imaginative of the bunch. He ingeniously got around the prohibition against editing by constructing several sets side-by-side, and blocking the lens momentarily while he moved the camera to the next scene. The movie goes by in a flash of bizarre black and white images. Was that a naked woman floating in a huge glass tube? And what were those humanoid things and what exactly were they doing? You have to watch the film several times to begin to get a clear idea of what you've seen.
These shorts represent the more abstract side of Lynch's film work - they're much more the work of the Lynch who made ERASERHEAD than the Lynch who made THE STRAIGHT STORY. Your average Joe Filmgoer would hate them. But if you're a Lynch fan and haven't seen some or all of these films, you'll definitely want to get this.