London Film Festival 2016 review: Blue Velvet Revisited

Director: Peter Braatz

1h 26min | Documentary, Music | 7 October 2016 (UK)

Playing London Film Festival 2016

RATING: ★★★★☆

This year’s London Film Festival is certainly catnip for David Lynch fans, with Peter Braatz’s Blue Velvet Revisited being just one of several documentaries focusing on the mercurial director’s career. This film isn't a forensic analysis of Lynch’s provocative and idiosyncratic 1986 thriller however, but there are plenty of books and films out there for that purpose anyway. Instead, we have a pleasing, nostalgia-tinged trawl through the photography and film archives of German filmmaker Peter Braatz, who Lynch brought onto the set of his Blue Velvet to document the production.

Over the course of several months, Braatz recorded hours of footage, shot thousands of photographs and conducted numerous interviews with the cast and crew, though it seems much of the material never came to light over the last 30 years. There is no narration and no discernible narrative arc to the assembled images and footage (a very Lynchian approach), but there is some tantalising footage of Isabella Rossellini rehearsing Blue Velvet, shots of the charming and homespun town that served as the Lumberton setting, polaroids of Kyle Machlaclan and Laura Dern messing about on set, some grotesque head wound models being crafted, and even audio clips from outtakes where Lynch can be heard feeding the cast lines. With Lynch about to bestow a new season of his cult hit TV series Twin Peaks upon us, it certainly is fine timing to release this material now, putting the spotlight back onto the film that really gave birth to the word ‘Lynchian’. There’s a killer soundtrack too.

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Owen Van Spall

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