Sunday, July 23, 2017

David Lynch's "Twin Peaks: The Return" Airing on Showtime: May 21 - Sept 10 | "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me" released on Criterion Collection: Oct 17 | David Lynch Movie Night at Seattle Art Museum: Jul 18 | 25th Annual Twin Peaks Festival: July 28 - 30

For those that read the initial reviews of "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me" from Cannes in 1992, and found that we were to get a significantly truncated cut of the film in theaters stateside, the decades-long wait to has came to a close in 2015 with the release of the "Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery". Now to be rereleased this fall by The Criterion Collection in an upgraded 4K restoration overseen by the director, the only notable remaining "missing piece" is the integration of the excised footage into the cut as screened at film festival on the Riviera some 25 years ago. Lynch spoke with The Guardian on the eve of its release, exuberant at the opportunity to return to the content and reassemble a narrative from their fragmented form. The director made good on his promise editing these deleted scenes from the film into a stand-alone viewing experience featuring 90 minutes of previously unseen footage as The Missing Pieces. Along with both seasons of the original series these were given a hi-definition restoration and transfer packaged together in the lavish box set edition. Not only revealing the larger world of Twin Peaks cut from the cinematic prequel, it present scenes from the series and promotional content, the details of which documented by Nick Newman in his piece for FilmStage, "Twin Peaks’ Reborn With David Lynch-Approved Blu-ray Box Set".

Though Booed at Cannes and the target of frustrated Twin Peaks fans and critics upon its release, the film has since gained a reevaluation with context and distance, with pieces like Calum Marsh's "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me Is David Lynch's Masterpiece" increasingly more common. With the cinematic expansion of it's narrative offered by the Missing Pieces the film watches as a connective thread between the first two seasons of the original and the current Twin Peaks: The Return miniseries. Allusions to both the Latin American connection, David Bowie's errant FBI Agent Philip Jeffries and the relationship these bear to the Lodge Entities seen in the meeting space depicted above an anonymous convenience store are all expanded upon. There is also a epilogue sequence cut from the theatrical version featuring events that follow immediately on the conclusion of the second season. Cause to rejoice, it's been a long and circuitous path from "How ‘Twin Peaks’ Got Lost, and Found Its Way Back" arriving in the midst of the abundance of cinematic, longform television. Rather than a recreation of the concerns, technical form and approach of the original, the miniseries advances the art beyond the standards of what one would expect to experience even in the current environment of longform streaming content. While also joyfully exhibiting the director's love of film, in the series' numerous nods to cinema history.

Delivering a experience that watches like nothing else, it is truly "Beautiful, Grandiose, Cryptic, and Punishingly Tedious: That's Why Twin Peaks is So Beguiling". For those who are following the new miniseries, an assembly of critical interpretation, enhancement and viewing aides have been thankfully documented by Criterion via their ongoing "Twin Peaks Returns" column. Expertly insightful weekly recaps can also be found on Mubi, The New York Times (concluding with a serving of weekly "donuts") and The Guardian, for those looking to delve deeper. Returning to the subject of the film; I found myself among the minority of fans of the original series who considered "Fire Walk With Me" to be the metaphorical icing on the cake at the time of its release. Though not the theatrical epilogue to the series that many viewers had hoped for, on the big screen it watched as a condensation of Lynch and Frost's central themes unadulterated by quirky small town americana, willfully eccentric surrealist intrusions, and soap opera tropes. It marked a forceful return to the essence of the story and it's concerns after the guest directors of the second season and their often hollow attempts at replicating all things Lynchian. (Tim Hunter of "River's Edge" fame was an exception. His episodes still hit the right notes while expanding the world Frost/Lynch created). Hunter aside, the Frost/Lynch directed episodes still watch as though on a higher operating level than much of the series' content. They are almost without exception, the singular Twin Peaks magic-in-a-bottle concoction of myth, small town drama, suggested surrealism, tone and ambiance.

Its truncation due to ABC's cancellation and David's hurried reconciliation of the series is still as abstract, brutal, emotionally dissociative and heartbreaking to watch as it was over two decades ago. "Fire Walk With Me" can be seen as a reconciliation of sorts to the series' abrupt and dramatically tragic conclusion. For it's 20th anniversary, Alex Pappademas of Grantland returned to the prequel with fresh eyes and decades distance and finds it less a departure, and more true to what David's cinematic world and it's concerns are really about, making for an, "Anatomy of a Fascinating Disaster: Fire Walk With Me". This next week also sees the 25th annual Twin Peaks Festival held as it is every year since 1993, at the locations featured most in the series itself; the towns of North Bend and Snoqualmie. The three days of the festival consisting of the annual night of film screenings, site tours and celebrity dinner and Q&A with select members of the series' cast and creators, which for this year's iteration includes; Charlotte Stewart, Kimmy Robertson, Sabrina Sutherland, Sherilyn Fenn, James Marshall, Al Strobel and others, with the annual tradition of surprise guests (past years have included Ray Wise and co-writer Bob Engels). Or even, as was the case earlier this year, Sheryl Lee attending the screening. Proceeding the festival, the Seattle Art Museum hosts their, "David Lynch Movie Night: The Art Life & Wild at Heart" with a screening of the new documentary on the artist's early life and the 1990 Cannes Palme d'Or winning feature length film.