David Lynch's unusually linear 1980 feature, selected by Joe Dunthorne for Misspent Youth.
“I was young when I first saw it. Too young to know it was black and white through choice, rather than necessity. As far as I knew, I had finally enjoyed my first old film, and I was very proud. It was also the first time that a film had made me cry.
Years later, when I watched and fell in love with Lost Highway I could not believe that they were by the same director. That's part of what is so remarkable about The Elephant Man. It is not Lynchian. It's restrained, heartfelt and linear.
For me, it's a masterpiece in the original sense of the word: a piece of work which an artist presents to his fellow craftsman to qualify for the title of 'master'. Since The Elephant Man I will always be willing to have faith in a new David Lynch film. I will not buy his coffee or listen to his songs -- but I will happily sit through three hours of ungraspable HD-cam weirdness in Inland Empire.
And that's without talking about the myriad of other reasons to love this film. There's John Hurt being alien-looking on the outside but human on the inside (only one year on from having an alien on the inside) and probably my favourite shot of all time: the slow zoom and Anthony Hopkins perfectly-timed tear.”
– Joe Dunthorne, author of Submarine and Wild Abandon.
Dir: David Lynch