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That is weird… I worked for years for a film company that had the Eraserhead poster as their logo, I worked in cinemas that screened it like 5000 times, and yet… I think I have only seen it once. I know exactly where and when that was, and that I fell asleep almost immediately after sitting down in the late night screening.

So here we go, better late than never, and on the occasion of the Criterion Collection’s BlueRay edition, my first time with  the creepy baby and the dancer in the radiator, and the man with paternal panic, and the almost edible squeeze juice chicken and the hot neighbour, and the baby, oh the baby, always the baby….

There was a time when I would have left the cinema after an Eraserhead screening with a stupid grin carved solid into my face, ecstatic about the consequence with which a director / auteur follows his vision and does not give a crap about the audience understanding what he does. Lynch is, without doubt, somebody whom you can entrust the weirdest images and he will glue them together in an elegant fashion, conjure up some crazy hypnotic music and throw it at you to choke on it while enjoying the feeling.

Admittedly, this did not perfectly work for me. I did enjoy the craziness of it all, I did enjoy the lack of meaning and direction and sense, but I also felt a tinge of boredom, had to reassure myself frequently that this is an intense albeit short moment of cinematic history. Maybe this was because Eraserhead as an image for eccentric yet somehow mainstream film making is too established already, so David Lynch in 2014 cannot deliver on all levels of weird the way he could when the film came out in 1977. Maybe there is a great tolerance these days (at least on my part) for what Lynch does, he just cannot possibly surprise me anymore, as he has done it all, and I have seen it all.

Whatever the reason, I was wondering whether Eraserhead is not the first film that made it from the arthouse cinemas by way of the slightly more educated DVD shelf into the video art museums. Being projected on a large white wall, maybe overlayed with some nice Chien Andalou … that would be the more appropriate place today? “Well Henry,  what do you know?”

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