» » Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Brokenhearted (1990)

Short summary

After her boyfriend ends their relationship, the dreamself of a heartbroken woman floats through the air over an industrial wasteland singing ballads of love.

Much of the music came from director David Lynch's TV series Das Geheimnis von Twin Peaks (1990).

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Granijurus
    How to describe Industrial Symphony? Well, it almost defies description, in conventional terms, except that it's a story of broken love, and of a sort of floating angel (dream-self) singing of the inner-most feelings of love and happiness that are always out of reach. That's the basic description, I suppose, but what if I were to add that includes a dwarf sawing a log, or that the said angel gets "killed" (killed in quotes cause I don't know for sure, and I don't want to) and dumped in the trunk of an old 50s car, or that there's a big elk zombie at one point, or baby dolls that come down slowly with masks over their heads? That's just some of what makes up one of David Lynch's most under-seen efforts, where he experiments yet again by filming a live stage show- occasionally in 80's style slow-motion and dissolves like in a live music video of the period- and in using lighting effects and methods of 'storytelling' that are completely abstracted from anything you think you've seen before.

    First off, there is no "4th wall" in this world of the Industrial Symphony, far from it. As in Inland Empire, to which this shares a kinship in terms of how the lighting and production design goes, there's only a reality, and then an un-reality, and then the two possibly blended into another un-reality, or something like it. So it's, for lack of a simpler description, a dream-land where the peaks and terrors of love are meant to be taken in emotionally, not intellectually. And he provides us with a very talented singer, Julee Cruise, who would also appear on a couple of episodes of Twin Peaks. She helps put into some kind of context the story of Heartbroken Man (Nicolas Cage) and Heartbroken Woman (Laura Dern) after their break-up over the phone. Lynch then throws in these extra images, of destruction, death, of as naked woman writing on a car, a dwarf going busy sawing a log (as well as repeating in full accentuations the conversation that opens this special), and the dream-self singing from the trunk of a car into a TV camera. Finally, the last song is played over a rendition of the Twin Peaks theme, and it closes like any dream should, on the precipice of pure emotional catharsis.

    What this catharsis will do for some instead of others I can't say, but overall it marks as something to behold not just from Lynch who makes a great leap into theater direction and staging and using it as a crazy opera, but for Badalamenti who gets to spread his own creative ideas and melodies that stick in one's head long after it's done. My favorite was "I wan't you rockin' back into my heart", and the finale Twin Peaks theme, but the mid-segments that played, like the music over the sawing or the elk-zombie's uprising, plays like it's a cross between new-age sap and the most haunting 40's noir music around (and, perhaps, like music one would think is played over a tender sex scene in Twin Peaks). So, if you're a die-hard Lynch fan, track it down, and enter into what's described on the original pamphlet as a "triple-exposure dream." Whatever it is, it's a delirious, sumptuous testament to the heart, as corny as that sounds. Goofy at times, sure, but the humor there-in is outweighed by the grand theatrics of it all.
  • comment
    • Author: Datrim
    This is a fantastic production that caught my eye because of my long love of 'Twin Peaks.' Although it is actually unrelated to the show, 'Dream' has enough elements of 'Peaks' to make it seem to be an extension of the series. Julee Cruise, the otherworldly bar singer in 'Peaks,' stars as the dream-self of an otherwise average woman whose heart has been broken. Other familiarities from the series include Michael J. Anderson (the "little man from another place"), the song "Into the Night," and the instrumental "Bookhouse Boys" used as the background to "Up in Flames." I greatly enjoyed this fifty-minute trek back into the surrealism and sound that made the series so unique.
  • comment
    • Author: Dishadel
    For some reason I tend to start disliking Lynch because I like his work so much. I went into this quite critical, as I didn't really expect much. But still.... Lynch just continues to enchant me as an artist.

    To explain what this is: Its a musical and a play, and its about a woman being brokenhearted as she's been left. The strength of the whole thing is the atmosphere. Really gripping and wonderful. There's fog all over the stage, and the haunting music is simply perfect. And of course the imagery.. and the lyrics. Its shocking, but attractive. You never really get whats going on though, its really dreamy. People floating in the air... and at one point there's a huge devil walking around on stage. When the haunting scene with the millions of dolls was strung down on the scene with creepy music alongside it was the point I personally was convinced that this is a masterpiece.

    I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys the further-out side of Lynch's work. The atmosphere in this one is just gripping.
  • comment
    • Author: Darkraven
    Ever wondered what it would be like if David Lynch put on a musical stage show with Julee Cruise? Look no further! Industrial Symphony is a supremely strange show put together by David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti for the annual Brooklyn Academy of Music. They only had two weeks to prepare for the show, and so the result is rather remarkable.

    It opens with Sailor and Lula from Wild at Heart on the phone, with Sailor leaving Lula. The rest of the film is an extended fever dream set on stage. It reminded me of a concert, only this is a concert by David Lynch so there's awful blonde wigs, half naked women gyrating on cars and dwarfs sawing logs. I found it rather fabulous.

    Julee's vocals are incredibly haunting and hypnotic. Match this with the visuals David presents us and it feels incredibly nightmarish. There's a moment where Julee stops and screams mid-song and falls from the rope suspending her from the ceiling. It's so jarring and it actually scared me a little bit. It doesn't help that she turns into some 30ft skinned papier-mâché deer either.

    The whole thing wouldn't have felt out of place if it appeared as a scene in Inland Empire, so that gives you an idea of its mesmerising weirdness. For Lynch fans, it's unmissable. For everyone else, it isn't.
  • comment
    • Author: Xal
    A description of this project can only be, like descriptions of Lynch's other more obtuse works ("Inland Empire," "Lost Highway," "Fire Walk With Me" "Rabbits") a description of "what happens" during the running time, which is more or less a useless venture. Try to describe what you dreamed last night to a friend and watch his eyes glaze over. One would hope that someone watching this video has a vague idea what to don't go for a viewing of something by Lynch hoping for "Singing In The Rain" at the least.

    This project is definitely "out there," and like the other films mentioned is more or less non-narrative, more like a tone poem...what "meaning" there is to be found is probably up to the individual viewer. As I've said before about Lynch, only the dreamer of the dream can really guess accurately what any of it "means" to him, our experience can only be what the artist has filtered through. So what do we have? First and foremost, this recording, culled from two live performances Lynch was apparently commissioned to do, contains some of the wonderful, spooky songs written for and recorded by the ethereal Julee Cruise. The pyrotechnics, flashes of lighting, metal-on-metal surroundings, frustrated sexuality and typically Lynchian sound effects evoke an "industrial" dread that pre-sages Cronenberg's "Crash" a few years later. It is by turns perversely sexual, horrifically surreal, sweetly sentimental and slightly dull, and all within 50 minutes. The possible highlight is a song that plays like a sad lament for a lost era of 50's doo-wop, with two blasé prom-dressed girls and a chorus of vivacious Vegas showgirls.

    This is "Lynch-land," and if you like Lynch you'll probably enjoy it, if not you would probably find it pure looks a bit "90's" by today's standards, it is relentlessly dark and slow at times and I question how much forethought actually went into it (Lynch himself claims it was put together pretty fast) but it is inherently is unlikely to forget some of the strong images, or the plaintive sighing of Julee as she floats through the air, the embodiment of an innocent heart broken, but not destroyed.
  • comment
    • Author: Mopimicr
    There are two sides to Lynch. One is the master who works in long, abstract form and gives us not just a world and some plot that takes place there but a world together with the mind that gives rise to it, creates agency from that mind that is itself at the mercy of that world.

    The other is the art school student, painter, sculptor, all around quirky guy who loves to populate these abstract forms with scrapyard theatrics and figures, log ladies and black-faced monsters behind the corner. It takes both of these Lynches to give us the truly mind-bending stuff that haunt.

    Here we have just the second Lynch. He got together with Angelo Badalamenti, secured a soundstage and staged a performance piece around dreamlike heartbreak. We have bodies suspended on strings, a midget who recites, a demonic figure dancing on stilts. Various hues of light, beams and flashes, an industrial feel. The good witch from Oz sings throughout.

    It has something akin to purpose, framed as it is as Lula and Sailor breaking up at the start, it was probably something he had fun with for a few weeks after finishing Wild at Heart. But it's a thin agency and mostly these forms mingling on a scrapyard stage, a bout of eccentricity.

    He would do a lot more of these in later years when he could just grab a digital camera, but it's when both Lynches are at work that I'm interested.
  • Cast overview, first billed only:
    Laura Dern Laura Dern - Heartbroken Woman
    Nicolas Cage Nicolas Cage - Heartbreaker
    Julee Cruise Julee Cruise - The Dreamself of the Heartbroken Woman
    Lisa Giobbi Lisa Giobbi - Female Dancer
    Félix Blaska Félix Blaska - Male Dancer
    Michael J. Anderson Michael J. Anderson - Woodsman (Twin A)
    André Badalamenti André Badalamenti - Clarinet Soloist (Twin B)
    John Bell John Bell - The Tall Skinned Deer
    Warick Bright Warick Bright - Snare Drummer
    Ann C. Fink Ann C. Fink - Back-Up Singer (as Ann Fink)
    Sarah Napier Sarah Napier - Back-Up Singer
    Marc B. Lorber Marc B. Lorber - Video Team
    Tom Judson Tom Judson - Video Team
    Brian Keane Brian Keane - Video Team
    Sebastian Stuart Sebastian Stuart - Video Team
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