Lynch On Lynch, Edited by Chris Rodley

Lynch On Lynch - book cover

The filmography of David Lynch is, for someone who toys with the mainstream, one for he most obscure and inscrutable you might find as he explores everything from bleak visions of dark Americana (Blue Velvet) to the history of a Victorian sideshow act (The Elephant Man) and even the tale of a man and his mower (The Straight Story).

With this in the mind the notion of of him talking his way through what has driven him to make these movies (and various other artistic projects) is undeniably fascinating and something that, in Lynch On Lynch, writer and editor Chris Rodley has tried to do.

Early on in the book, which in its revised edition spans Lynch’s early short films and then onto Eraserhead all the way through to Mulholland Drive (so only missing out Inland Empire and Twin Peaks: The Return), it’s clear that, true to form, Lynch isn’t actually going to reveal much about the meanings behind his work, but really if he did it would spoil things somewhat.

David Lynch
David Lynch

Instead what we get a fascinating story of his life, via his work, with a real insight into what drives his work and his process which, it seems, is entirely based on a kind of enthusiasm that feels almost childlike and is amazing counter intuitive given much of the content of his films.

It’s clear that Rodley has a real rapport with the director and this makes the whole thing fabulously readable even when they had into the real minutiae of things that could often really only appeal to the particularly dedicated cinephile.

What is particularly striking is the honesty that seems to come from Lynch. There is no feeling of the kind of falseness that often appears in a Hollywood or celebrity biography and he doesn’t shy away from the more challenging aspect of his career – highlighted by his issues on making his version of Dune or frustrations with TV networks around the latter Twin Peaks episodes, a sitcom that never came to fruition and even the early stages of Mulholland Drive.

The Elephant Man - David Lynch
David Lynch on set of The Elephant Man

Of course, as said, Lynch offers no real explanations but throughout we build a picture that, in a sense, does shed light on quite why he works like he does and the whole thing is laced through with a kind of infectious positivity that leaps off the page which feels counter intuitive to how Lynch’s work is usually approached.

Ultimately then this is a fantastically constructed look at Lynch’s life and work that is a must for any fans of the director and sheds light on a particularly unique journey through cinema that feels at once entirely alien from the mainstream but couldn’t be much more embedded in Hollywood.

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