David Lynch Releases an Animated Film Online: Watch Fire (Pozar)

David Lynch began his artis­tic career as a painter. Before long his paint­ings became ani­ma­tions, of a kind, as exem­pli­fied by 1967’s Six Men Get­ting Sick (Six Times) and 1968’s The Alpha­bet. By 1977, when the years-in-the-mak­ing Eraser­head final­ly saw the light of day, Lynch’s trans­for­ma­tion into a live-action film­mak­er must have seemed com­plete. But his imag­i­na­tion has nev­er accept­ed con­fine­ment to one medi­um: even while work­ing on ever high­er-pro­file projects — The Ele­phant Man, Blue Vel­vet, Twin Peaks — he con­tin­ued to paint, to draw, to take pho­tographs. Lynch’s com­plete­ly sta­t­ic com­ic strip The Angri­est Dog in the World was a com­pelling fix­ture in the LA Read­er dur­ing the 1980s, but apart from the online series Dum­b­land and the Inter­pol col­lab­o­ra­tion I Touch a Red But­ton Man, lit­tle Lynchi­an in the way of ani­ma­tion has appeared over the past few decades.

This past Mon­day, how­ev­er, Lynch announced the release of one such rar­i­ty free to watch on Youtube. Like I Touch a Red But­ton Man, Fire (Pozar) is a joint effort between film­mak­er and musi­cian, in this case com­pos­er Marek Zebrows­ki. “The whole point of our exper­i­ment was that I would say noth­ing about my inten­tions and Marek would inter­pret the visu­als in his own way,” said Lynch in a USC School of Music inter­view.

As col­lab­o­ra­tors, Lynch and Zebrows­ki go back to Inland Empire, the 2006 fea­ture Lynch shot par­tial­ly in Poland. This neces­si­tat­ed a trans­la­tor, and the Pol­ish-Amer­i­can Zebrows­ki stepped up to the job. In 2007 the two con­tin­ued down that cul­tur­al avenue, record­ing an album called Pol­ish Night MusicFire (Pozar)‘s bilin­gual title also hon­ors Zebrowski’s ances­tral home­land, though the film itself may lack any direct ref­er­ence to Poland — or to any real place, for that mat­ter.

Lynch is cred­it­ed with hav­ing “writ­ten, drawn, and direct­ed” the short (its ani­ma­tor, Noriko Miyakawa, was an edi­tor on 2017’s Twin Peaks: The Return), and on the visu­al lev­el it plays out like a jour­ney through what will feel, to many of us, like the famil­iar realm of the Lynchi­an imag­i­na­tion. The tit­u­lar fire — or rather, pozar — starts ear­ly on. Then we’re trans­port­ed to a sil­hou­ette land­scape that brings to mind David Fos­ter Wal­lace’s descrip­tion of one of Lynch’s paint­ing’s, “the sort of diag­nos­tic House-Tree-Per­son draw­ing that gets a patient insti­tu­tion­al­ized in a hur­ry.” But there are no peo­ple here, or at least no whole peo­ple: the first even faint­ly humanoid fig­ure to emerge brings to mind the men­ac­ing baby in Eraser­head, and by the end the scene will have been over­tak­en by crea­tures nei­ther prop­er­ly ani­mal nor man. Zebrowski’s score gets thor­ough­ly enough into this stark but fre­net­ic spir­it to make Lynch fans believe that fur­ther col­lab­o­ra­tions must sure­ly be on the way.

This short film will be added to our col­lec­tion, 4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, Doc­u­men­taries & More.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

David Lynch Releas­es a Dis­turb­ing, New Short Film: Watch “Ant Head” Online

David Lynch Made a Dis­turb­ing Web Sit­com Called “Rab­bits”: It’s Now Used by Psy­chol­o­gists to Induce a Sense of Exis­ten­tial Cri­sis in Research Sub­jects

The Paint­ings of Filmmaker/Visual Artist David Lynch

Dis­cov­er David Lynch’s Bizarre & Min­i­mal­ist Com­ic Strip, The Angri­est Dog in the World (1983–1992)

The Sur­re­al Film­mak­ing of David Lynch Explained in 9 Video Essays

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall, on Face­book, or on Insta­gram.

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