5.6/10
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16 user 5 critic

The Amputee (1974)

| Short, Comedy
A double leg amputated woman sits and writes a long meandering letter while her ineffective nurse attempts to attend to her stumps.

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Storyline

In this plotless 5 minute short, Catherine Coulson plays a legless double-amputee who, throughout the film, is going over a letter she is writing. She makes marks on the letter, and we hear a voice-over of her reading through it. The letter is a sort of mini soap opera; she writes about things happening among a group of her acquaintances, about feelings, about who said certain offensive or endearing things. Very quickly, the droning monotony of Coulson's letter becomes a background noise which gets lost in the actions of her nurse, played by David Lynch. Lynch enters after a minute or so in a nurse costume, his hair in a long ponytail flipped over one shoulder. He begins readying his instruments, then unwraps one of Coulson's stumps. He snips away at something in the wound, probably stitches, though it sounds like he's cutting thick wire. He uses a sort of syringe to flush the wound with water and has a rubber ball that works like a turkey baster to suck fluid out of the wound. ... Written by Adam Walter

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Short | Comedy

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Kaleka  »

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1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Woman with amputation to the legs: This isn't what I am telling you. You weren't in the room when Jim said that. And I was. And he really did. He told me that everything was fine between Helen and him. And I knew that even if he didn't say it, that it was true. He knew it then. No one else did. You maybe thought you did but I knew you didn't. And it makes me furious when you tell me I didn't know about Helen. She was my best friend. She even told me about that time she drank gin with you. So maybe now you'll believe me. After ...
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Edited into The Short Films of David Lynch (2002) See more »

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Why Waste an Opportunity to Say Something?
8 May 2010 | by (Collingswood, NJ USA) – See all my reviews

It's obviously meant to look kinda shabby, and there's no evidence of any rehearsal. So with those parameters in mind, it's really great. I kept thinking how ridiculous, how juvenile, but I couldn't look away. I somehow knew it wasn't going anywhere, and I also felt it didn't have to; it's horrible stupidity is so fun. Nonsense is so underrated, so easily dismissed, but this simple, freaky clip haunts me. It harasses the psyche, the way early Monty Python or The Aqua Teen Hunger Force infects my consciousness.

Even though it's just meant to stretch a few creative tendons, it still pulses with the same absurd wide eyed wondrous horror of his more ambitious stuff. The sentimentally mundane and tedious narration that's totally at odds with the ridiculously disturbing visual creates exactly that type of extreme discomfort that has been the defining quality of all his best work. He produces this same detached, dizzying horror with Nikki's death scene in "INLAND EMPIRE" where two street dwellers are calmly discussing a possible bus route to Pamona, unconcerned as Laura Dern's Nikki lays bleeding between them right on Hollywood Boulevard. Nothing is ever just what it seems in a Lynch moment.


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