Blue Velvet Revisited is almost a video essay except it isn’t coherent enough to engage and not quirky enough to excite.
Peter Braatz, then a film student, wrote to David Lynch and asked if he could cover the production of his latest film, Blue Velvet. The resulting film is a concoction of interviews with Lynch, cast and crew, photographs, audio and footage…
David Lynch’s Blue Velvet is undoubtedly a cult classic. Given the affection towards Lynch’s work, it is unsurprising that a documentary has been made about one of his most memorable films. The audience will want some insight, some hitherto unknown background to the film. Blue Velvet Revisited, sadly, does not offer this.
Rather than a traditional format, the film is made up of archive footage captured by Peter Braatz at the time of production. There are ample on set images, as well as some interviews. The film does not seem to have a strong aim; rather it floats around with a hazy quality.
Blue Velvet Revisited begins slowly, with imagery, but little in the way of insight. The documentary gets a bit more interesting background when the focus shifts to the film set and its props. There are a couple of interesting remarks, such as Lynch discussing using technology despite his love for the organic. There are also some interesting comments on Super 8,filmmaking and lighting.
The score works well, but it needed to be interspersed with more commentary. Blue Velvet Revisited could have done with more musings from Lynch, or even from other crew and cast. There is little insight into other crew, apart from a few asides – Kyle MacLachlan’s double for example. Isabella Rossellini needed more than a sentence and some brief footage.
Ultimately, Blue Velvet Revisited suffers from a paucity of strong editing, and a lack of an overall drive. A wasted opportunity to reveal something about a fantastic film.
Blue Velvet Revisited is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2016.