Tips from EYE Film Institute Library on Contemporary surrealism

Originated in the 1910s and 20s, surrealism still to this day has a huge influence on modern day filmmakers. Artist like Jan Svankmaier, the Quay Brothers and Charlie Kaufman make use of the juxtaposition between dream and reality which is distinctive for surrealism.


Eraserhead (US, David Lynch, 1977)

Perhaps the most famous filmmakers in the genre of surrealism is American independent filmmaker David Lynch. Most of his film are scattered with dreamlike, surrealist scenes, most famously perhaps this scene from the television series Twin Peaks.

Dreams are very important in the work of David Lynch as researcher Kelly Bulkeley argues in his essay ‘Dreaming and the cinema of David Lynch‘. The essay focusses in particular on Mulholland Drive (2001), Lost Highway (1997), Blue Velvet (1986), and the television series Twin Peaks (1990-91) and discusses the multiple dream elements in Lynch’s work and how they have contributed to the broad cultural influence of his films.

Lastly I’d like to point out that in 1987 David Lynch presented a BBC series about the history of surrealist film. You can watch it here.


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