David Lynch Muses About the Magic of Cinema & Meditation in a New Abstract Short Film

One of the won­der­ful things about David Lynch is that, despite inter­views, sev­er­al doc­u­men­taries on his cre­ative process, plen­ty of behind-the-scenes footage of him direct­ing, and the release of a whole memoir/biography told both sub­jec­tive­ly *and* objectively…despite all that, the man is still an enig­ma. Even when he returned 25 years lat­er to famil­iar ground with the third sea­son of Twin Peaks, there was no sign of self-par­o­dy, and he deliv­ered some of the most bril­liant work of his career. How the hell does he do it?

That being said, if you have read his book Catch­ing the Big Fish or have heard him in inter­views, this short film direct­ed by his son Austin Lynch and Case Sim­mons, and pre­sent­ed by Stel­la McCart­ney, might not be any­thing new. If you are just now dis­cov­er­ing Lynch, then this is a quick primer on his cre­ative process and his devo­tion to Tran­scen­den­tal Med­i­ta­tion as a way to dive into that cre­ativ­i­ty and, even­tu­al­ly, bring peace to the world.

Austin Lynch is one of three Lynch chil­dren to work in enter­tain­ment. The eldest Jen­nifer Lynch direct­ed Box­ing Hele­na and wrote the Twin Peaks spin-off book The Secret Diary of Lau­ra Palmer. Riley Lynch is a musi­cian and appeared in two episodes of the recent Twin Peaks.

Giv­en the pedi­gree, Lynch and Sim­mons man­age to hon­or David Lynch with­out copy­ing his style. The short abstract pro­file also fea­tures very short cameos by Stel­la McCart­ney, Børns, Lola Kirk, and sev­er­al oth­ers.

The direc­tor appears here and there dur­ing the nine min­utes, back­lit by sub­tle col­ored lights in a pri­vate screen­ing room, watch­ing a movie. What movie? It doesn’t mat­ter.

“It’s so mag­i­cal, I don’t know why, to go into a the­ater and have the lights go down,” Lynch says. “It’s very qui­et and then the cur­tains start to open. And then you go into a world.”

The direc­tors link this to a famil­iar Lynch tale of the begin­ning of his film career, when Lynch was paint­ing at the begin­ning of his art school years and the can­vas start­ed to move and make sounds. No mat­ter how many times Lynch tells this sto­ry, there’s some­thing so odd about it. Is he talk­ing in metaphor? Did he hal­lu­ci­nate? Did he get vis­it­ed by a force beyond this real­i­ty? Are his great­est Lynchi­an moments his way of try­ing to make sense of that one episode?

He also talks about the cir­cle that goes from the film to the audi­ence and back, a feed­back loop that musi­cians also talk about, and is the rea­son Lynch still loves the cin­e­ma as an event space. Per­for­mance spaces fig­ure promi­nent­ly in his works, whether it’s the Club Silen­cio in Mul­hol­land Dr., the Lady in the Radi­a­tor in Eraser­head, or the var­i­ous lodges and per­for­mance areas in Twin Peaks. (It’s also why he despis­es watch­ing films on iPhones, apart from the size.)

Lynch explains here how he became a film­mak­er through study­ing med­i­ta­tion, how it saved him from anger and despair, and how these tech­niques led to land­ing big­ger cre­ative fish from “the ocean of solu­tions” and expand­ing artis­tic intu­ition.

Is Lynch enlight­ened? No, but he’s clos­er than most of us:

“Every day for me gets bet­ter and bet­ter,” he con­cludes. “And I believe that enliven­ing uni­ty in the world will bring peace on earth. So I say peace to all of you.”

Relat­ed Con­tent:

What Makes a David Lynch Film Lynchi­an: A Video Essay

Hear David Lynch Read from His New Mem­oir Room to Dream, and Browse His New Online T‑Shirt Store

Watch All of the Com­mer­cials That David Lynch Has Direct­ed: A Big 30-Minute Com­pi­la­tion

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the artist inter­view-based FunkZone Pod­cast and is the pro­duc­er of KCR­W’s Curi­ous Coast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, read his oth­er arts writ­ing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.

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