Absurd Encounter with Fear (David Lynch, 1967, USA)

David Lynch's Absurd Encounter with Fear opens with a shot of a man walking in a field. The man is slowly walking toward the camera. The film is grainy with blotches on the sides. The man gradually approaches the camera, dressed in a white shirt and khakis (Lynch's signature uniform). The man is now filmed from behind, walking away from the camera toward another person in the field. He slowly approaches this woman in the field from behind, turning to her. She is a woman with a pale white face. The man undoes his fly and pulls flowers out of his fly. The man has purple hands and gradually picks the dandelions out from his pants. The camera then quickly pans out. The man swiftly turns to the camera and then passes out, falling over into the field. The camera hovers on the woman sitting in the field and the collapsed man and gradually the film ends.

The man in the film is Lynch's friend and classmate Jack Fisk, who would later collaborate with him on Eraserhead. Jack Fisk also had an extensive career with director Terrence Malick, working on all of the director's films. He has also collaborated notably with Paul Thomas Anderson. The woman in the film is David Lynch's first wife, Peggy. Absurd Encounter with Fear is one of the first short films David Lynch ever made, and it shows. Still, there is something creepily charming about this one. The film's setting and characters evoke George Romero's Night of the Living Dead. The film also has a very loud and swelling violin score that drives home the tension. Still, this film is best watched by David Lynch completists and likely won't have much appeal to casual fans of Lynch. It is interesting to see where the great director began his career.


5/10

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