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Despite The Gods

September 3, 2012 Leave a comment

David Lynch is well known for making bizarre films with a surrealist, dreamlike and often nonlinear structure. Labelled by many as one of the most popular surrealists of all time, Lynch made one of my all time favourite films, Eraserhead and co-created the equally iconic television series Twin Peaks. So by coming into the world with a father of such calibre, it comes as no surprise that David’s daughter Jennifer would want to walk in his footsteps as a filmmaker.

Sydney, Jennifer and David Lynch

Jennifer Lynch’s first attempt at filmmaking with Boxing Helena was an epic flop at the boxoffice and with critics alike. Jennifer was accused by feminists of making a torture porn film and critics called into question her ability and integrity on the grounds of inexperience and nepotism. Jennifer discusses these claims in Despite The Gods as ridiculous, due to the fact that she was just a nineteen year old girl setting out to make a fantasy film.

Sherilyn Fenn and Julian Sands in Boxing Helena.

Years later, Jennifer went on to direct the award winning horror film, Surveillance. With a new found confidence in her ability as a filmmaker, it is strange her next logical step was to make Nagin, a film about a snake that turns into a woman who then turns back into a snake goddess creature. I can’t give too much of the source films plot away without spoilers, but you can get the idea of its ridiculous nature from Nagin’s alternative title of Hisss.

Despite the Gods was intended as a documentary on the technical process and cultural conflicts of making a Bollywood meets Hollywood co-production, but it stands alone as a valuable and brutally honest insight into the everyday life of a full time director and single mother. The film also provides us with a snapshot into the culture of modern day India, with particular emphasis on the themes of sexuality, poverty and class systems.

Jennifer Lynch and Mallika Sheraw on the set of Nagin (Hisss)

Despite The Gods is showing at Sydney Underground Film Festival this Saturday, the 8th of September at midday in The Factory Theatre. Tickets are $12-14 and you can buy them… here.

Trivia: Jennifer Lynch wrote ‘The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer’, a spin-off novel of her father’s television series, ‘Twin Peaks’.

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