Cinematic Surrealism in Los Angeles: Maya Deren and David Lynch by Sabina Stent and David Lynch: Cinema’s Uncanny Master by Mary Wild

Cinematic Surrealism in Los Angeles: Maya Deren and David Lynch by Sabina Stent and David Lynch: Cinema’s Uncanny Master by Mary Wild


Date: Sunday, November 20
Time: 2 pm EDT

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Cinematic Surrealism in Los Angeles: Maya Deren and David Lynch
Sabina Stent

In 1943, Maya Deren made Meshes of the Afternoon, a seminal work of American Avant-Garde cinema. Filmed in Los Angeles for $250, Deren’s work significantly influenced David Lynch’s Hollywood neo-noir Mulholland Drive (2001). In this talk, we will look at Meshes of the Afternoon’s Surrealist themes and motifs, connections to Mulholland Drive (as well as Lynch’s oeuvre), and how both films presented the unconscious influence of Los Angeles as leading to a paranoic state of mind.

David Lynch – Cinema’s Uncanny Master
Mary Wild

If Sigmund Freud’s ‘Uncanny’ were manifested in human form, the result would surely be David Lynch, the beloved American surrealist filmmaker dubbed “Jimmy Stewart from Mars” on account of his cinegenic good looks and unconventional manner. Lynch’s ultraweird directorial style embodies the Uncanny to a tee: violent, disturbing imagery pitted against a glimmer of ordinariness and magical realism; a cross between the macabre and the mundane. He loves to experiment with fear, mystery, and confusion. Here we will chart the Uncanny as an iconic Lynchian trademark in six celebrated titles featuring the Lady in the Radiator, the enigmatic Dorothy Vallens, absurdist road trip adventures, the Black Lodge, the Mystery Man, and whatever is going on behind Winkie’s Diner.

Films discussed: Eraserhead (1977), Blue Velvet (1986), Wild at Heart (1990), Twin Peaks (1991), Lost Highway (1997), Mulholland Drive (2001)

Dr Sabina Stent is a freelance writer and lecturer specialising in Women Surrealists and visual culture. She is interested in how feminist-surrealists explored the body, the cinematic, the uncanny, and Surrealism in Los Angeles. Sabina’s bylines include Magnum Photos, Crime Reads, AnOther Magazine, and she writes a Substack newsletter called Love Letters During a Nightmare. She is a re-occurring lecturer for The Last Tuesday Society’s digital lecture series.

Mary Wild is the creator of the PROJECTIONS lecture series at Freud Museum London, applying psychoanalysis to film interpretation. Mary co-hosts the Projections Podcast, contributes to The Evolution of Horror Podcast, and produces exclusive content on Patreon.

The Psychoanalysis, Art & the Occult series of events, curated by Dr. Vanessa Sinclair and Carl Abrahamsson, is dedicated to exploring the intersections and integration of psychoanalytic theory, the creative arts, occult practices, and folk magic traditions. By inviting psychoanalysts, philosophers, artists, writers, and occult practitioners from a variety of theoretical orientations and worldviews to discuss their work, personal experiences, and areas of research interest with one another, dialogue is opened up between practitioners in fields of study that traditionally rarely engage with one another though often operate in similar and complementary ways. Join them at Patreon!