Six Men Getting Sick (Six Times) (David Lynch, 1967, USA)

Six Men Getting Sick (Six Times) is the first film by director David Lynch. The film was made as a semester project while Lynch was a student at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. Made for $200, the film runs a total of 4 minutes and is an animation that shows - as the title suggests - the figures of six men getting sick six times. A colored substance fills their "stomachs," then travels up their stomachs and exits out their mouth. This pattern is repeated six times and is accompanied solely by the sound of a siren wailing. 

Those familiar with Lynch's work know that he considered himself a painter first and foremost, and even today he considers his primary role to be a painter. Lynch's first film reflects Lynch's painterly roots and exhibits a lot of the tactile characteristics that would later come to dominate his artwork. The use of stop-motion animation would of course be very present in later works, as well as the mixture of paintings with sculpture and various other items. The disturbing and hallucinatory effect of the film shows that Lynch's preoccupations were already beginning to be realized at this time. 

One can't say that this film does not deliver on this title. Formally some interesting things are going on with the structure, and certainly, Lynch would later go on to experiment with repetition in many of his later films. Already here we see that Lynch was willing to experiment formally with the medium. This film will probably not excite casual viewers, but for Lynch fans, it is illuminating to see where his mind was in the pre-Eraserhead years, and the steps that led to his blossoming as a director of feature films. Worth watching for Lynch completists and fans of avant-garde cinema.



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