Eraserhead Starring: Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Jeanne Bates Director: David Lynch The film: 'It's a personal film that no reviewer, critic or even viewer has given an interpretation that is the same as mine,' says director David Lynch of Eraserhead. With sparse dialogue and inscrutable scenes, Lynch's debut - a stark, monochrome feature made over more than five years - ranks as one of the most enigmatic of films. A narrative backbone does exist - that being the traumas faced by the lead character Henry (Jack Nance) when faced with fatherhood (and a limbless mutant as a son). The circumstances in which he wallows, however, grow increasingly bizarre and grotesque, climaxing in the notorious finale. The ambiguity, not to mention the disturbing visual stunts (spring chickens that ooze black slime, oversized sperm cells being stomped on, the messy demise of Henry's 'son'), have alienated mainstream audiences throughout the years. Those who delve hard into their imagination, however, would have a fine time decoding Lynch's brooding tale. Lynch got married to his first wife when she was pregnant, and the child that came out of that marriage, Jennifer, was born with club feet. Henry's refusal to seriously tackle the repercussions of fatherhood and adulthood (his 'fantasy' of joining the blonde singer in the radiator, for example) could very well be interpreted through Lynch's own life. As Lynch said, however, it's everyone's guess what it ultimately means - but what makes Eraserhead a classic is more than just the way it intrigues people. It's the way he paints Henry's world, a universe drenched in near-apocalyptic gloom, that casts this film apart from the films noir before him. The post-industrial ambience, marked by the perennial hum of electric generators and the distant strains of some vaudeville tune, is shrill and works perfectly to mirror Henry's inner psyche. Lynch's vision has surely influenced filmmakers from Bela Tarr to Darren Aronofsky. And, of course, there's Nance's outstanding performance: perhaps unaware exactly of why his character was doing what he was doing - and with the shooting spread over such a long period - he still manages to deliver a pitch-perfect portrayal of confusion and anguish. The extras: Besides the theatrical trailer, there's a documentary in which Lynch reminisces about the film's tortuous path towards completion. With ample pictures and even short snippets of behind-the-scenes footage from the 1970s - and with a running time of just over 70 minutes - it serves as a mini-feature. Not that it could ever hope to explain what the film is actually about. And like so much of Lynch's work, it doesn't really matter.