Film: Double Bill
STAR WARS DIR. GEORGE LUCAS (1977) ERASERHEAD DIR. DAVID LYNCH (1977); Vincenzo Natali, Director of `Cube', on his Ideal Cinematic Pairing
Thursday 24 September 1998
These are completely original milestones for their time, made by visionary directors. Each creates fully realised fantasy worlds, begin in space and end with the destruction of a planet. They are also based on mythical or archetypal structures and characters.
Star Wars uses the essays of Joseph Campbell, one of the great chroniclers of world mythology, and uses myths such as Homer and the Bible. George Lucas has said he read Campbell as research for Star Wars. And Eraserhead, with its archetypes from dreams, owes a lot to Freud.
Both films are harking back to traditional cinematic styles, each photographed in a way which is reminiscent of how films were made in the Forties. This is surprising, as the Seventies was a time when there was a lot of experimental editing, hand-held camerawork and pushing the form to new areas. These two films are a throwback to the golden days of Hollywood, with a camera on a tripod and no flash tricks such as jump cuts. It is one reason I consider the directors were visionaries of their time, because it was going against the grain. At a time when people were pushing boundaries, they were being nostalgic.
Though they may have been conservative on one level, on another Lucas and Lynch were quite innovative and daring. They also pioneered amazing special effects, both sound and visual. They were inventing a soundscape from the ground up and using them to evoke another world.
You couldn't think of two more different films in terms of content; one is a dystopian view of the future (Eraserhead), the other Utopian (Star Wars); one is colour and one is in black and white; one a huge hit and one a massive underground hit; Eraserhead was made on a low, low budget and Star Wars was huge; Star Wars is basically a completely non-sexual film, whereas Eraserhead is totally about sex. However, they do both share a love of fantasy.
I was eight when I first saw Star Wars and to me it was the first film to ever put comic-book images on the screen successfully. With Star Wars, the scene that most impresses me from a director's stance is the trench sequence at the end of the film. The planes flying through, and the interaction between the flyers, is pretty extraordinary directing.
Eraserhead is not all that dissimilar; it created an incredible dream world that fully absorbs you for an hour and a half. It is David Lynch's best film, in a way, although not his most technically polished. People either love it or hate it.
There is this scene where a strange woman is tap-dancing on a human foetus. It's probably one of the most bizarre and yet brilliantly executed scenes in cinematic history.
Both are the kind of movie I generally like to see because they take me to a world that I haven't seen before. Frankly, this is what I am trying to accomplish with Cube.
`Cube' is released tomorrow
TV reviewBroadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair
Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere
TVThe Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The scientist who takes 100 drugs a day so he can live to 150
- 2 The Visit: Trailer for M Night Shyamalan's latest horror film is terrifying
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 The confessions of men who ordered mail-order brides
- 5 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
Fast & Furious 7 overtakes Frozen to become 5th highest grossing movie of all time
Poldark finale review: How a costume drama became a Sunday night swoon-fest
Al Pacino admits he was nearly fired from The Godfather and it's still his most 'difficult role'
The Visit: Trailer for M Night Shyamalan's latest horror film is terrifying
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 3 - review: Sansa and manhood-lopping torturer Ramsay Bolton, really?
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds