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Lost Highway – [Buñuel legacy] 18

David Lynch, USA, France, 1997, 134m.

*Lost Highway is part of our Who is Luis Buñuel? season, which throughout February explores Buñuel's legacy in modern and contemporary cinema. This legacy section of the season was curated with the help of The Garden Cinema's members.

From this inventory of imagery, Lynch fashions two separate but intersecting stories, one about a jazz musician (Bill Pullman), tortured by the notion that his wife is having an affair, who suddenly finds himself accused of her murder. The other is a young mechanic (Balthazar Getty) drawn into a web of deceit by a temptress who is cheating on her gangster boyfriend. These two tales are linked by the fact that the women in both are played by the same actress (Patricia Arquette).

Curator's note:

In That Obscure Object of Desire, actors Carole Bouquet and Ángela Molina inexplicably alternate in the role of Conchita. Bouquet represents the icy side of Conchita's personality, while Molina portrays her more animalistic nature. Or is this just how Mathieu views the woman he desires, unable to synthesise the different aspects of her personality? Cold or warm, Conchita never fully yields to Mathieu's sexual advances, leaving him continually frustrated.

In Lost Highway, Patricia Arquette, plays both the sexually bold Alice and the enigmatic Renee. But rather than symbolising a splintered personality, in this case the dual role blurs the line between reality and Fred's warped fantasy. Like Mathieu with Conchita in Buñuel's film, Fred cannot satisfy his wife Renee in either of her incarnations.

Both That Obscure Object of Desire and Lost Highway use dream logic to explore the complexities of love and sexual desire, and blur the line between reality and fantasy.

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