With its good and wicked witches, and references to Toto and the yellow brick road, David Lynch’s Wild at Heart is an overt, elaborate homage to The Wizard of Oz. Lula (Dern) and Sailor (Nicolas Cage) set out from Cape Fear, North Carolina, in a Ford Thunderbird, headed for the obligatory Oz of California but end up detained in the Texas hellhole of Big Tuna. Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival, Wild at Heart is Lynch’s first all-out comedy, but despite the prevailing tone of aggressive absurdity, it contains some of the filmmaker’s most harrowing scenes. The film also features Dern in one of her most memorable roles (at times acting opposite her mother, Diane Ladd, whose performance earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress). A striking counterpoint to her previous Lynch persona, Sandy, Blue Velvet’s paragon of youthful innocence, Lula is mature, self-possessed, and recklessly romantic.
Screening in conjunction with Alexandre O. Philippe’s documentary LYNCH/OZ, The Wizard of Oz (35mm) and a number of Lynch’s most haunting films as part of this Summer’s You’re Not In Kansas Anymore series.