Documentary: David Lynch: The Art Life

Love him or hate him, David Lynch is certainly an interesting guy.

A little background so you know where I'm coming from: when I was a pre-teen, I remember liking the movie Dune. (Yes, I said "liked.") My best friend's mom showed it to her daughter and me. The long version. It enthralled me. I bought a poster and hung it in my room. I read the books (well, the first three). But I didn't know who David Lynch was.

Twin Peaks aired my freshman year of high school. I really enjoyed it, too . . . Or the first season, anyway. It's been a long time, but I have the sense that I wasn't as enthusiastic about the second season. At that point I had a scrapbook and would cut out articles about my favorite stars and shows and tape them in. So of course I began seeing the name David Lynch in the Twin Peaks articles. But I never connected him to Dune, never had much curiosity about anything else he might have done.

Then I went to film school.

Enough said, except to add that aside from Dune and Twin Peaks, I can't say I'm much of a fan of Lynch's work. Not my thing. In fact, this third season of Twin Peaks—I walked away from it. It tried my patience too much. I'll probably still watch the finale on Sunday though.

So. This documentary. I actually really enjoyed it. It's very watchable. It's really just Lynch doing art and telling stories that go from his childhood through his grant at AFI to make Eraserhead. It focuses on his art, so there's no delving into his personal life, just sort of a glossing, but there are lots of photos and home videos incorporated.

DL:TAL is really just Lynch talking, and he speaks in a deceptively simple and matter-of-fact way. It's as though all his internal complexities come out in his work, but it's not clear whether that's because he saves them for the work or he literally can't articulate them any other way. A couple of things he says and stories he tells . . . You kind of go, "Oh, well that explains a few things."

I believe art should stand on its own in the absence of its creator. That's the point of art. You shouldn't have to know things about the writer, painter, etc. in order to appreciate the work. BUT. Watching this documentary added depth for me to some of Lynch's work.

At one point Lynch says that, when he was starting out as an artist, he knew his work was crap. But that he had to keep painting and keep painting to find his style or whatever. And as an author, I totally get that. We all start out crap. You have to prime the pump and get all the dirty water out before the good stuff comes up.

Anyway, whether you like Lynch or not . . . If you're even just a little curious about him . . . This is a good one. They don't talk to anyone but Lynch, so it is a bit one-sided, but at the same time, hearing solely from him gives perspective on his work.

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