David Lynch, influential visionary American filmmaker and one of the few surrealists to break through into mainstream cinema and television, is scheduled to appear in person at an American Cinematheque memorial tribute to cinematographer Freddie Francis, whose credits include one of Lynch’s early features, The Elephant Man, and The Straight Story, a Lynch film that was to be Francis’s final credit as cinematographer.

Along with remarks by Lynch, the event will include a double feature screening of The Elephant Man (1980) and The Straight Story (1999) beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 22nd, at the Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica.

Tickets are $10 general admission or $9 for students and seniors.

Francis died March 17th at the age of 89, some time after having a stroke.

Francis began working as a camera operator after leaving the British army in the late 1940s. He gained cult status as a horror film director upon working with legendary British horror film studios Hammer and Amicus in the 1960s. His credits as director include Hysteria and Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors. He won an Academy Award for his cinematography on Sons and Lovers (1960). His unusual and dreamlike style of cinematography can be seen in his film credits including The Tales of Hoffman (1951) and Martin Scorcese’s Cape Fear (1991).

Lynch rose to the top of the avant-garde with his first feature film, Eraserhead, the dark and desolate tale of a sullen and awkward young man and the shriveled, mutant baby he has with his wife.

The film attracted the attention of producer Mel Brooks, who hired Lynch to direct The Elephant Man, the story of real-life deformed Victorian-era socialite John Merrick.

Lynch received Academy Award nominations for best director for his films Blue Velvet (1986) and later for Mulholland Drive (2001).

Blue Velvet featured a memorable performance by Venice actor Dennis Hopper as a deranged and psychopathic leader of a ragtag barhopping band of redneck ruffians.

Lynch’s depictions of the hidden dark side of small town America became a recurring theme of his work as he went on to direct the television series Twin Peaks and subsequent film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. The film and the television series were centered around a story of the mysterious death of popular high school student Laura Palmer and the investigation that followed.

In the 1990s, he directed a surreal and dark, modern film noir titled Lost Highway, starring Patricia Arquette and including a soundtrack with cuts by Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails and Smashing Pumpkins.

The Academy Award-nominated Mulholland Drive continued further down the same nightmarish surrealism, confusion and madness.

The Straight Story is one of the few films in Lynch’s career where he shed most of his surrealist and avant-garde inclinations, making a G-rated tale of a midwestern man who rides his lawn mower a great distance to make peace with his ailing brother.

His most recent release is Inland Empire, and in recent years, Lynch has spent his energies promoting world peace through transcendental meditation and the teachings of Mahareshi Mahesh Yogi.

Information, (323) 466-3456.

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