Tonight at Summerscreen: Wild at Heart

by |
08/19/2009 8:26 AM |

You’ll recall that the heavens opened up and rained their disapproval down upon us at the end of July, when Summerscreen — the L’s free outdoor film series in McCarren Park — was scheduled to show Wild at Heart. So we’re very happy to present tonight’s make-up screening, as ever on Bedford Avenue and North 12th Street (across from the Turkey’s Nest). The gates open at 6pm, and you should come then, to drink happy hour-priced Sixpoint beer and Wines of Australia, um, wines; to eat food from San Loco and the Van Leeuwen ice cream truck; and to listen to local bands Dinosaur Feathers (the glitch-folkies sounded great at Northside) at 6:30pm, and Bridges and Powerlines at 7:30pm. The film starts at dusk; in the meantime, Henry Stewart’s program notes are after the jump.

Wild at Heart (David Lynch, 1990)
A dispatch from Lynch’s pre-Lost Highway accessible phase, Wild at Heart won the Palme D’Or at Cannes, though many critics maligned it: classic Lynch-hater Roger Ebert called it “sophomoric” and “dishonest”. Dishonest? But it grapples with the central fascination at play in much of the director’s early work: young lovers under threat from enormous criminal conspiracies. Nic Cage, before he became the self-parody he is today, stars as Sailor, clad in a snakeskin jacket that serves as a symbol of his individuality and his belief in personal freedom; a pre-Jurassic Park Laura Dern serves as his love interest in a performance so strong she makes you cry just by nipping at a candy necklace. He’s Elvis; she’s Marilyn. Gangsters chase the two across the country, and the film settles into a road movie, traveling through a Lynchian landscape of grotesques from Jack Nance to Willem Defoe. All the while, the director expresses his love of Americana and for cultural stuffs that predate the sexual revolution. Sailor sings “Love Me” and “Love Me Tender,” for example, but the work most on Lynch’s mind is The Wizard of Oz. At root, Wild at Heart is a trip down a yellow brick road — one that runs through the recesses of the director’s infamously nightmarish subconscious.