Wild at Heart - 35mm

R 18+
20 November
Location informationArc Cinema
Event cost$12 / $10 (single session) or $70 / $56 (all 7 films)

Frequent Lynch collaborator Laura Dern plays Lulu, the sexually charged partner to Sailor (Nicolas Cage, giving his most erratic take on an Elvis-Johnny Cash archetype). Together the pair hit the road with the law and an array of assassins on their tail thanks to Lulu’s deranged mother Marietta (played by Dern’s actual mother, Diane Ladd, in a role that earned her an Academy Award nomination).  

As in all Lynch properties, the supporting cast is an eclectic concoction of character performers like Willem Dafoe, Harry Dean Stanton, Crispin Glover, JE Freeman and Isabella Rossellini. Winning the Palme d'Or at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival in what was considered a controversial decision at the time, Wild at Heart has endured as one of Lynch’s best and most accessible films. 

‘There is something inside of me that resists the films of David Lynch,’ Roger Ebert wrote in his 1990 review. ‘I am aware of it, I admit to it, but I cannot think my way around it.’ That was not an uncommon reaction at the time of the film’s release and remains true of not just Lynch’s film work then, but the entire breadth of his artistic output across television, music, art and more.  

‘Divisive’ is a key element of Lynch as an auteur and even though Wild at Heart is perhaps his most liked film, it’s still a challenging watch as it mixes elements of black comedy, crime, surrealism, romance and thriller all within the package of a road trip movie. 

- Maria Lewis, Assistant Film Curator (ACMI) 

Presented in partnership with ACMI

Presented on a 35mm film print from the NFSA collection. 

See more films in our Wild at Heart - the films of Laura Dern season.



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