LOST AND FOUND
lT‘S ALWAYS 'l‘EMVl‘lNG to use the term ‘Lynchian‘. Director David Lynch has an instantly recognisable brand of filmmaking which embodies one of the most unique and consistent visions in modern American cinema. His movies are often described as ‘surreal’. but it‘s the ‘real‘ part of the equation that is most recognisany his own — small town
settings. motels and highways.“ industrial wastelands.
‘To give a sense of place. to me. is a thrilling thing.‘ says Lynch. ‘A sense of place is
made up of details. And so details are incredibly important.‘ Some of these details have become
hallmarks of Lynchian cinema — white picket fences. burning cigarette tips. fire trucks. coffee ‘n‘ doughnut shops. Lynch goes to the heart of the American myth. but once there. what he uncovers isn‘t pretty — vice. corruption. perversion and psychosis. lt‘s precisely because the settings are so familiar that his work seems so weird. The films are baffling. unnerving experiences that plumb the depths of the psyche, leaving the viewer in a constant state of partial understanding.
‘I don‘t think that people accept the fact that life doesn’t make sense.‘ suggests Lynch. ‘I think it makes people terribly uncomfortable. It‘s better not to know so much about what things mean. or how they might be interpreted. or you‘ll be too afraid to let things keep happening. It makes me uncomfortable to talk about meanings and things.
‘What‘s so fantastic is to get down into areas where things are abstract and where things are felt. or understood. in an intuitive way.‘
Which brings us back to surrealism and probing the subconscious mind. except that. as Lynch says. ‘psychology destroys the mystery. this kind of magic quality’.
So it's art that Lynch is concerned with. Art over science or commerce. It‘s Lynch‘s passion for the inexplicable — this magic quality — that has lead to his films achieving cult status.
Bill Pullman in Lost Highway
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rather than success at the box office and kept Hollywood at bay.
‘In order to say you‘re successful. a film has to make quite a lot of money. and I haven't really done that. If I was successful in that way. I'd be I don't know. making pictures maybe more within the system.’
Lynch nearly did. After the critical success of The Elephant Man. he was offered Return Of The ./(’(/f. but turned it down for another intergalactic sci-fi epic. Dime. 'l‘hat film flopped. which sent Lynch spiralling back to small-town America to make the films that gave birth to the term ‘Lynchian' — Blue V’/\‘(’i. Wild At Heart and the TV series Twin Peaks. His new film. Lost Highway. is no wild departure. rather it con- solidates his vision and is. if anything. less cxplicable than the other films.
heart of the
Lynch goes to the
myth, but once there, what he uncovers isn't pretty -— vice, corruption, perversion and psychosis.
Five years after Twin Peaks, David Lynch takes another journey into the dark heart of America with Lost Highway. Words: Miles Fielder
David Lynch: surreally saying something
With his co-screenwriter Barry Gifford. Lynch has dubbed Lost Highway a ‘let cen- tury noir horror film‘.
"l'here‘s a human condition there.‘ explains Lynch. ‘People in trouble. people led into sitttations that become increasingly dangerous.’ 'l‘easingly he insists the new film‘s unfathomable narrative is ‘not inexplic- able . . . in a way. it‘s kind of logical.’ Further eluci— dation‘.’ ‘lt‘s a dangerous thing to say what a picture is. If things get too specific. the dream stops. When you talk about things. unless you’re a poet. a big thing becomes smaller.‘
Lost Highway (Film Festival), ABC 2, Edinburgh, 0131 467 8855, 11 Aug, 6.30pm, £6 (£4). See review, page 86.