Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern fall in love in Sailor and Lula, the most sulphurous of David Lynch’s films. A kitsch, violent and terribly pessimistic road movie.
In 1990, David Lynch opened the decade with two major works: his series Twin Peakswhich needs no introduction, but also the film Sailor and LulaWhere Wild at Heart in its original version, adapted from the novel by Barry Gifford, which notably received the Palme d’or at the Cannes Film Festival. Like the majority of the filmmaker’s films, it has become a must-see over the years, but not for the same reasons as Mulholland Drive Where Lost Highway.
With Sailor and Lula, David Lynch does not offer the viewer a convoluted story, subliminal images and enigmatic shots that still give rise years later to more eccentric theories than each other. Here, it is first of all a question of love. Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern embody a crazy couple, passionate young lovers, but eaten away by a dirty world and a deviant society.
Kitsch at will, excessive, grotesque, and even parodic, Sailor and Lula is a bizarre work littered with mind-bending, hallucinatory, and musical sequences that make Lynch seem to poke fun at his two main characters to reveal the naivety of their ambition to be a perfectly normal couple in a perfectly abnormal society.
The python print at its peak
Bonnie and Clyde, or almost
David Lynch will close the 1990s with a second “road movie”, A true storye. He therefore inaugurates this decade with a first road movie, at a precise moment when this genre is in full decline. After the 70s and the great classics of the genre, like Easy Rider by Dennis Hopper and Zero limit point by Richard C. Sarafian, who participated in the very development of the road movie, the genre lost momentum in the 1980s.
Political and protesting, the road movie was in the 1970s the emblem of a marginalized generation, of a counter-culture, a direct response to traumatic events such as the Vietnam War. In the 1980s, road movies seemed to have lost that feeling of rebellion, but the following decade set the record straight and Thelma and Louise, true romance and born killers arrived.
No more discovering the American landscape, taking drugs on the road and talking to hippies, the road movies of the 1990s seem much more violent and pessimisticlike Sailor and Lula. Here, the duo does not take the road on its own to venture into unknown territory in search of new sensations or to get out of deep boredom.