Unexpected Laughter

How audience reaction can negatively impact a film.

Last night I had the rare opportunity to see David Lynch’s directorial debut from 1977, Eraserhead, at a small theater in the Portland Art Museum. It was a rare opportunity to see the film on the big screen, and I was, let’s just say, excited.

It was my second time watching Eraserhead. The last time I watched it was over two years ago on my iPad with headphones. Seeing it projected on 35mm film with good speakers made me appreciate it in a new way. It was really special.

But the strangest thing happened during the film–the audience would break out in laughter during many scenes that I don’t find funny. Sure, parts of Eraserhead are absurd and make me smile slightly, but I didn’t laugh the first time nor the second time I saw the picture.

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NW Film Center’s David Lynch: A Retrospective

A chance to see all of the films by my favorite director on the big screen.

Portland’s NW Film Center is putting on a series of films from July through September highlighting the works of David Lynch and those that inspired him. In addition to all of his features, a bunch of his short films are being shown. Plus, Fellini’s La Strada, Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Lolita, Hitchcock’s Rear Window and Vertigo, and more. It’s incredible.

I’m grateful that I’ll have the chance to see so many great films this summer. Seeing David Lynch’s films on the big screen is a whole new experience compared to a laptop or TV. I’ll finally get to see Inland Empire, Dune, The Elephant Man, and The Straight Story.

With these screenings and Twin Peaks: The Return, this is officially the Summer of David Lynch for me, and I couldn’t be happier.