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BFI London Film Festival: Blue Velvet Revisited – Review

Blue Velvet, as well as being a 1960s song from Bobby Vinton, is also the title of David Lynch’s 1986 masterpiece about a murder in suburbia. The surreal and violet thriller is a visual and narrative tour de force which launched its fantastic cast into stardom and re-vitalised the career of Dennis Hopper.

Like so many cult films, Blue Velvet divided audiences on release but is now regarded as a classic and one of director Lynch’s best films. While making the film Lynch invited German film maker Peter Braatz to the set to capture behind the scenes footage and take photos. He collected a great deal of material which had previously been unseen until now. Blue Velvet Revisited is a film of his material and on set work looking back over the production of the great film.

In 1985, David Lynch received a suitable budget and complete creative control to produce his screenplay for thriller Blue Velvet. Through correspondents he invited a young German film maker, Braatz on set to film behind the scenes footage. What is shown in Blue Velvet Revisited is an extended montage of his material with audio and visual interviews, productions, and rehearsal footage and a keen insight into the mind of the great David Lynch as he created one of his most respected films.

Rather than a narrative accompaniment of behind the scenes footage and straight forward interviews, Blue Velvet Revisited acts as a visuals notation of the film. Eerie in places, visually striking and with a beautiful soundtrack. Score is present throughout and helps link the footage together and creates the film’s interesting tone.

With no narrator, the main voice heard throughout is David Lynch himself. His excitement for the project is clear and he talks of his experiences and compares the film mostly to his early piece Eraserhead.

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What you get from watching this film is a truly intimate look at the film making process from one of the greats. You get to watch scenes from behind the camera. The new angels and perspective is a must for all those who admire Lynch’s work and style. Yet the film does not in any way solve the mysteries and complexities of its subject film. Blue Velvet remains too many, a surreal mystery but a beautiful film to behold. Sequences such as the rehearsal and filming of Isabella Rossellini’s “Blue Velvet “singing number are real highlights.

As the film is made by one filmmaker about another it has an intimate and relaxed air, especially the interviews with Lynch. His work may still be unusual to categorize yet his passion and methods define him and his impressive body of work.

A visually engrossing look into a classic cult film. Its unconventional format may not give audiences the usual level of information about its subject but this is an eerie and interesting overview of a seminal American film.


Blue Velvet Revisited is playing as part of the BFI London Film Festival 

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