Fictitious Anacin Commercial (David Lynch, 1967, USA)

                Fictitious Anacin Commercial was a film made by David Lynch while he was a student at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. The film features Lynch collaborator and later award-winning production designer Jack Fisk. The film opens on a green field, presumably in Pennsylvania, overlaid wit ominous music. The camera pans over to show a man (Fisk) seated in a chair. The man, who appears to be dressed almost as an Amish figure, is sitting in a rocking chair. He appears to be having a headache. The film cuts rapidly between various shots of Fisk’s character in agony, holding his head in pain.

                The film cuts rapidly between shots of Fisk’s face in distorted expressions, his eyes going in all directions. The film cuts to a shot of a burning fire, which may be Lynch’s first attempt at a visual metaphor. Lynch then transitions to a shot of a bearded man holding a box of Anacin. We return to Fisk’s character seated in the chair, now taking the Anacin with a glass of water. The music becomes lively, as the film transitions to Fisk’s character now dressed in a suit, jumping out of his chair and dancing away, at a frame-rate that seems out of a silent film.

                The Fisk character runs out into a field, stripping his jacket. We then fade back into the shot of the old man holding the Anacin box, and the camera slowly zooming in on the box of Anacin. The film ends with a humorous shot of Fisk smiling goofily at the camera, showing off the gap between his two front teeth. Fictitious Anacin Commercial is a charming early student film from a masterful director, not amazing by any stretch but worth seeking out for completists and Lynch fans more generally, who would like to see the director’s early imagination.



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