The Criterion Collection continues to show David Lynch love. A month after releasing “David Lynch: The Art Life,” everyone’s favorite DVD/blu-ray company is doing likewise with his underrated “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me,” which was hugely polarizing when it first came out in 1992 but has seen its reputation grow in recent years.
Also joining the collection this October are “Personal Shopper,” making Olivier Assayas and Kristen Stewart two-for-two in receiving the Criterion treatment (“Clouds of Sils Maria” was similarly honored); Agnieszka Smoczyńska’s mermaid horror-musical “The Lure,” which also arrived in theaters earlier this year; and Stanley Kubrick’s “Barry Lyndon.” More information below.
“Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me”
“In the town of Twin Peaks, everyone has their secrets—but especially Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). In this prequel to his groundbreaking 1990s television series, David Lynch resurrects the teenager found wrapped in plastic at the beginning of the show, following her through the last week of her life and teasing out the enigmas that surround her murder. Homecoming queen by day and drug-addicted thrill seeker by night, Laura leads a double life that pulls her deeper and deeper into horror as she pieces together the identity of the assailant who has been terrorizing her for years. Nightmarish in its vision of an innocent torn apart by unfathomable forces, ‘Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me’ is nevertheless one of Lynch’s most humane films, aching with compassion for its tortured heroine—a character as enthralling in life as she was in death.”
“With this intimate supernatural drama, the celebrated French filmmaker Olivier Assayas conjures a melancholy ghost story set in the world of haute couture. Starring Kristen Stewart, whose performance in Assayas’s ‘Clouds of Sils Maria’ made her the first American actor to win a César Award, this evocative character study tells the story of a young American fashion assistant and spiritual medium who is living in Paris and searching for signs of an afterlife following the sudden death of her twin brother. A stirring depiction of grief in the form of a psychological thriller, ‘Personal Shopper’—which won Assayas the best director award at Cannes—is a chilling meditation on modern modes of communication and the way we mourn those we love.”
“This genre-defying horror-musical mash-up—the bold debut of Polish director Agnieszka Smoczyńska—follows a pair of carnivorous mermaid sisters drawn ashore to explore life on land in an alternate 1980s Poland. Their tantalizing siren songs and otherworldly auras make them overnight sensations as nightclub singers in the half-glam, half-decrepit world of Smoczyńska’s imagining. The director gives fierce teeth to her viscerally sensual, darkly feminist twist on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” in which the girls’ bond is tested and their survival threatened after one sister falls for a human. A coming-of-age fairy tale with a catchy synth-fueled soundtrack, outrageous song-and-dance numbers, and lavishly grimy sets, ‘The Lure’ explores its themes of emerging female sexuality, exploitation, and the compromises of adulthood with savage energy and originality.”
“Stanley Kubrick bent the conventions of the historical drama to his own will in this dazzling vision of brutal aristocracy, adapted from a novel by William Makepeace Thackeray. In picaresque detail, ‘Barry Lyndon’ chronicles the adventures of an incorrigible trickster (Ryan O’Neal) whose opportunism takes him from an Irish farm to the battlefields of the Seven Years’ War and the parlors of high society. For the most sumptuously crafted film of his career, Kubrick recreated the decadent surfaces and intricate social codes of the period, evoking the light and texture of eighteenth-century painting with the help of pioneering cinematographic techniques and lavish costume and production design, all of which earned Academy Awards. The result is a masterpiece—a sardonic, devastating portrait of a vanishing world whose opulence conceals the moral vacancy at its heart.”