Duran Duran: Unstaged (2014), dir. David Lynch

The concert film David Lynch should forever be associated with is the astounding Industial Symphony No. 1 (1990). But Duran Duran: Unstaged uses quintessential David Lynch iconography, intersecting his areas of work – blue lights overpowering the screen, utilising colour, shadow and silhouette, intentional use of monochrome, alluring women, commercial assignments, surreal, misshapen human sculpture, the motions of machinery, suburban American lawns, cars upon the long road, barbecues and houses, bad digital graphics, floating characters of the alphabet, taking the more baffling option when the linear choice is there, adapting to internet production and distribution. What’s more David Lynch than not appearing on the stage during the final curtain?

Duran Duran: Unstaged feels like a stepping stone towards Twin Peaks: The Return (2017). Lynch has long enjoyed a connection with music, whether it’s listening to (The) Nine Inch Nails on the set of Lost Highway, casting David Bowie as Phillip Jeffries, using I’m Deranged from Outside for Lost Highway’s title song, In Heaven, Mysteries of Love, Crying – or the albums Lynch has released as Thought Gang or alongside Chrysta Bell – or the music that forms the background of his films. Unstaged embraces the music to the point where the music is the thing – not the thematic intersection midway through the film – it’s the closing of each episode in the Roadhouse, without interruption. It’s not Angelo Badalamenti, but it’s Notorious, Hungry Like the Wolf, The Man Who Stole a Leopard, Girl Panic!, Rio, A View to a Kill, Girls on Film. Name me something better. Twin Peaks: The Return at its heart is the coalescence of Lynch as an experimental filmmaker, narrative filmmaker, television producer and director, a musician, a surrealist painter and sculptor that embraces the digital. Unstaged leans in the same direction.

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