An Evening with Isabella Rossellini, featuring Blue Velvet
Directed by: David Lynch
USA, 1986, 120m, Rated R
Isabella Rossellini grew up in Paris and Rome. She made her cinematic debut as an actress in 1979 in the Taviani brothers’ film Il Prato (The Meadow) and has appeared in numerous other films, including the American features Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, White Nights, Rodger Dodger, Cousins, Death Becomes Her, Fearless, Big Night, and Joy. She has worked with wide-ranging directors, including Robert Zemeckis, David O. Russell, David Lynch, Robert Wilson, Taylor Hackford, Marjane Satrapi, and Guy Maddin.
She is also a successful television actress and filmmaker, with a keen interest in animals and wildlife conservation. She has a Master’s degree in Animal Behavior and Conservation and has received a PhD Honoris Causa from the science faculty at UQAM (University of Quebec at Montreal). Her award-winning series of shorts Green Porno, Seduce Me, and Mammas offer comical and scientifically insightful studies of animal behavior.
Rossellini has been seen in Vita and Virginia, The Incredibles, and the film Silent Retreat. Her television work includes Master of Photography, the series Domina for European broadcaster SKY, and the American series Shut Eye for Hulu. Her book My Chickens and I was published in several languages by Abrams Books.
Rossellini’s interests embrace preservation of her family’s extraordinary cinematic heritage, including the films directed by her father, Roberto Rossellini, and those featuring her mother, Ingrid Bergman. She is a mother of two and resides in Bellport, Long Island. She runs an organic farm in Brookhaven in association with the Peconic Land Trust.
When David Lynch cast Isabella Rossellini in his 1986 film Blue Velvet, she was best known to the world as the daughter of Ingrid Bergman and the face of several Lancôme advertisements. After the film was released, it would be impossible to look upon her award-winning portrayal of damaged lounge singer and potential murder suspect Dorothy Vallens with anything other than shock and awe. A dark neo-noir that pulled back the paper-thin curtain on small-town America to reveal a seedy underbelly of twisted and damaged characters, Blue Velvet is the story of Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan)—a young man home from college in the wake of his father’s near-fatal stroke—who makes an unsettling discovery: a severed human ear in a field. Driven to investigate, Jeffrey finds himself drawn to person-of-interest Vallens while facing the fury of Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper), a psychopath who will stop at nothing to keep her in his grasp.
Blue Velvet was so divisive and controversial at the time of its release, that Rossellini’s own agents dropped her as a client. Critical response ranged from “an American masterpiece” (Rolling Stone), to Roger Ebert’s legendary one-star review. But in the years since, the film’s influence has grown, and now it is routinely named one of the greatest films of all time (American Film Institute, Entertainment Weekly, and The Guardian), and in 2002 it was cited as one of the ten best films of the last 25 years by Sight & Sound. Never seen it? Or is it one of your favorite films? Join us for a special 35th anniversary screening of this audacious cult classic and prepare to be shook.
Following the film screening, Isabella Rossellini will appear for a live Zoom Q&A.