Bees (David Lynch, 2002, USA)

Bees or Ball of Bees is a short film by David Lynch. The film opens with a shot of a bees nest in a tree. In typical Lynchian fashion, this wide shot moves in toward a close-up of the beehive. That closeup moves in again yet further, this time showing the bees in full detail. Lynch then zooms in on the bees, working furiously at their hive. This is accompanied by a typical Lynchian soundtrack, that sounds like industrial sounds mixed with rustling wind. The close-up shot on the bees runs for the rest of the film’s 5-minute duration, creating a quite hypnotic effect throughout.

                At one point during the film, the pattern of bee movement changes and we hear the fluttering of wings. This is apparently a bee dance or waggle dance. This dance is used to describe a figure-eight movement by the honey bee. Usually this movement indicates success in foraging, such as flowers, or as another example new nest sites. The first time we watched this short at Cinephilic Musings, it put us to sleep. This might have very well been the intention of David Lynch in making the film. More likely it stems from his fascination with the natural world. Lynch has always integrated natural elements into his artwork, including insects, so this fits in with his body of work in that sense.

                As the film concludes, the sound of the bees buzzing and fluttering their wings gradually reaches a crescendo, and the movement of all bees (the waggle dance) becomes more frantic. To the extent that there is a narrative in this short film, that is the narrative. Bees is not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, but it is an interesting curio from the grandmaster of American surrealism. Worth a watch for Lynch completists.



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