A Match Made in Midnight-Movie Heaven

When we conceived our Tuesday’s Short + Feature program, a weekly fixture on the Criterion Channel on FilmStruck, we were inspired to bring back some of the legendary pairings that made this format such a longstanding tradition of the big-screen experience. One of the pairings we looked to as a touchstone was that of Suzan Pitt’s wildly surreal short film Asparagus and David Lynch’s haunting debut feature Eraserhead, which screened for nearly two years on the midnight-movie circuit and ultimately became an emblem of the audaciousness of American independent cinema in the 1970s. Showcasing a mix of different animation styles, Pitt’s dreamlike exploration of sexual desire, secret pleasures, and the female psyche was a labor of love that took the filmmaker four years to complete. It makes a potent prelude to Lynch’s cult sensation, which similarly interweaves images of everyday reality with vivid evocations of the subconscious. Check out the program now on the Criterion Channel, and watch the below introduction by programmer Penelope Bartlett, who highlights the thematic connections and film-historical context that unite these two head-spinning journeys into the unknown.

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