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David Lynch’s dirty secret

In order to celebrate his 71st birthday, we have picked seven extremely unusual and uncredited works by the enygmatic American filmmaker: television commercials!

The wonderfully weird world of David Lynch is populated with strange and bizarre creatures: the deeply dysfunctional Laura Palmer, the severely disabled elephant man, the psychopathic gangster Frank, the various non-linear characters of Lost Highway (1997) and Mullholland Drive (2001), who meander back and forth in time assuming different personalities and predicaments, and much more.

David Lynch’s world is made for contemplation, and no one in their mind would like to dive into it. Unless you want to find redemption in snorting cocain with Laura, in being ostracised like the elephant man, or deriving sexual gratification from sadistic rituals like Frank. Alternatively you could take an unpredictable journey in time, unadvertingly crossing the dangerous line between the realms of reality and imagination. We would none of these endeavours to anyone who cherishes their sanity.

So how is it that someone decided to hire David Lynch to direct a television commercial? Were these publicists taking revenge on their bosses? Did they want to scare off their buyers? Were these commercials intended to be the brand’s kiss of death? Well, in reality David Lynch beautifully translated his genius into the world of advertissement, and there’s nothing awkward and repulsive about these publicity videos. They are very pleasant to what – an abnormality in Lynchian terms!

This Thursday David Lynch celebrates his 71st birthday. So we picked the seven most unlikely publicity videos made by David Lynch. There’s a pasta, perfume, heartburn medicine, shoes, car and even a pregnancy test! You would never imagine that these pieces were concocted by the master of the weird, bizarre and surreal!

1. Have an Alka-Seltzer, if will help you to digest Lynch’s most unpalatable movie;


2. In case something smells fishy, just try Obsession, the latest fragrance by Calvin Klein;

3. Wondering whether you are pregnant? Clear Blue and David Lynch have the answer for you, in just 15 seconds;

4. If you ever get lost on a highway, at least make sure that you are driving a Nissan:

5. Feeling hungry? You just need pasta Barilla. This jolly and family-oriented advert featuring Gérard Depardieu is far more Jean-Pierre Jeunet than David Lynch;

6. Adidas should be your first choice for shoes, if if there’s no where to run; and

7. To finish off the list, a more suitable Lynchian piece, and possibly the scariest commercial you will see in your life: a clean up advert for New York City!

Don’t forget to read our review of Blue Velvet Revisited (Peter Braatz, 2016), a doc being released this year and celebrating 30 years on the cult classic.

By Petra von Kant - 17-01-2017

Petra von Kant is a filmmaker, critic and performance artist. She was born Manoel Almeida to Brazilian parents in 1971 in Bremen, Germany. Her parents were political refugees fleeing the military dict...

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