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David Lynch: what is the uniqueness and cult of the director
David Lynch: what is the uniqueness and cult of the director

The third season of the legendary series "Twin Peaks" has just finished. In this regard, Lifehacker decided to talk about the creative style of director David Lynch.

David Lynch: what is the uniqueness and cult of the director
David Lynch: what is the uniqueness and cult of the director

Who is David Lynch and what is he famous for?

David Lynch is one of the most famous representatives of independent filmmaking. In simple terms, Lynch always does exactly what he wants, and exactly the way he wants. In his filmography there are only a few examples when he filmed for the studio, for example, the film "Dune" based on the novel by Frank Herbert. But the director himself was dissatisfied with the result and even removed his name from the credits of the full version of the film.

David Lynch: director
David Lynch: director

Basically, Lynch shoots his own stories according to his own script. Most often they are filled with mysticism, they have a lot of symbolism and hidden meanings. Moreover, quite often the director's films end very ambiguously, not giving specific answers to the questions posed, but allowing the viewer to seek meaning on his own.

The author's approach and a completely unique creative style have brought David Lynch numerous Oscar nominations, prizes at the Cannes Film Festival and other well-deserved awards.

What is so unique about his work?

For Lynch, the form of presentation and the picture itself are often more important than the plot. This is quite logical, considering that he is an artist by training. The director presents his thought through symbols, which are far from always obvious. In many films, you can see curtains (often red) or shutters, as if separating different worlds, hear the crackle of electricity. Heroes over and over again can perform the same action or repeat the same phrases, showing the cyclical nature of what is happening. But at the same time, Lynch does not completely immerse himself in abstractionism or formalism. His paintings have content and characters, and these are real living people who want to empathize.

In the descriptions of David Lynch's films in various encyclopedias, one can often see the section “interpretations”, and this is no coincidence. Not all of his films can be understood unambiguously, and the director himself flatly refuses to explain the meaning. Freud's followers love to interpret his works, speaking of repressed memories or obsessive repetitions.

David Lynch: an inner empire
David Lynch: an inner empire

On the other hand, many fans refuse to interpret the paintings in any particular way at all and simply enjoy the picture and parts of the plot. Lynch's work can consist of two practically unrelated parts. Or, most of the film may be a dream or a fantasy. Or part of the plot is the filming of the film, and the second part is the penetration of this film into life. It is not always possible to analyze where the reality is and where the fiction is.

Why is the director's approach to filming so unusual?

Lynch is very fond of spontaneity and naturalness. To audition for Mulholland Drive, actor Justin Theroux arrived directly from the plane. Therefore, he was all in black, dented and disheveled. It was in this way that he was shown in the film. And during the filming of the first season of Twin Peaks, the director forbade changing the flickering lamp above the table, because it created a more mystical effect.

David Lynch: Bob
David Lynch: Bob

But most of all, this approach is reflected in the selection of actors. Yes, David Lynch, like many famous directors (for example Christopher Nolan), often works with the same people. Kyle McLachlan, Laura Dern, Naomi Watts and many other artists appear in several of his films. But at the same time, completely unfamiliar faces can be seen in the frame.

The fact is that many of those whom Lynch films are not professional actors. Frank Silva, who played the evil spirit Bob in Twin Peaks, worked as a decorator on the set, and Harry Goaz, who got the role of funny deputy Andy, worked as a driver and once gave a lift to David Lynch. The same trend can be traced in the later works of the director. Small roles in Mulholland Drive feature stunt coordinator, script editor and even composer Angelo Badalamenti.

What works of David Lynch should you watch first?

During his long career, the director has shot not so many films, so it will not be difficult to get acquainted with almost all of his work. But there are a few starting points to start viewing David Lynch's paintings.

Blue velvet

  • Detective thriller.
  • USA, 1986.
  • Duration: 120 minutes
  • IMDb: 7, 8.

Young Geoffrey Beaumont finds a severed human ear near his home. At first, he simply hands over the find to the police, but then curiosity draws him into a strange and dangerous story. Jeffrey learns about the singer Dorothy, her family tragedy and the cruel drug dealer Frank.

Twin Peaks

  • Drama, fantasy, horror.
  • USA, 1990.
  • Duration: 3 seasons.
  • IMDb: 8, 9.

FBI agent Dale Cooper arrives in the small town of Twin Peaks to investigate the mysterious murder of local high school student Laura Palmer. At first glance, simple and quiet, the city turns out to be filled with secrets and mysticism, and many of its inhabitants lead a double life and hide very dark sides of their nature.

Initially, David Lynch intended to shoot only eight episodes, leaving the ending open. But the show's high ratings forced the producers to release a sequel. In the filming of the second season, Lynch himself practically did not participate, but later he released a separate film-prequel "Twin Peaks: Fire Through".

It was because of dissatisfaction with the plot of the second season that the director for many years refused to work on the third, until he got the opportunity to shoot exactly what he himself wants.

Mulholland Drive

  • Psychological detective, neo-noir, drama.
  • USA, 2001.
  • Duration: 147 minutes
  • IMDb: 8, 0.

They try to shoot a mysterious girl in the car, but a sudden car accident interferes with the plans of the criminals. Having lost her memory, the girl comes to the house where the aspiring actress Betty settled. They get closer and try to figure out the mysterious past of the stranger. But history can take on such an unexpected turn that it is impossible to predict it.

What else to see if all of Lynch's films are already familiar?

It is very difficult to find analogues to the work of David Lynch, that is why he is unique. But you can still try to find films that are similar in atmosphere.

Dead man

  • Fantasy, drama, western.
  • USA, Germany, Japan, 1995.
  • Duration: 121 minutes
  • IMDb: 7, 7.

The film by another prominent representative of independent cinema, Jim Jarmusch, tells the story of a young accountant who went to the Wild West. By chance, he becomes a participant in a shootout and is injured. He is nursed by an Indian nicknamed Nobody, mistaking the young man for his complete namesake - the long-dead poet William Blake. Together, Blake and Nobody escape from pursuers who want to receive a bounty for the head of an Indian, and the former accountant suddenly discovers a significant change in his personality.

Donnie Darko

  • Science fiction, thriller, drama.
  • USA, 2001.
  • Duration: 113 minutes
  • IMDb: 8, 1.

One night, young Donnie leaves the house, obeying the telepathic command of a man in a rabbit costume. And exactly at this time, an engine from an airplane falls on his room. From that moment on, strange events begin to occur in Donnie's life: he either foresees the future, or creates it himself, or finds himself in a time loop. But it is not known what his actions will lead to and what kind of person in a rabbit costume he meets regularly.


  • Horror, fantasy, drama.
  • Denmark, Italy, Germany, France, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, 1994.
  • Duration: 2 seasons.
  • IMDb: 8, 4.

The series by Lars Von Trier, sometimes referred to as the European answer to Twin Peaks, follows the staff of the neurosurgical department at the Royal Danish Hospital. There are several lines in the plot, which eventually intertwine in the most bizarre way. The patient hears the cry of a long-dead girl. The pathologist is trying to get hold of the liver of a patient with sarcoma. The surgeon hides his mistakes during the operation. The show also features ghosts, a vanishing ambulance, and more to provide a surreal dimension.

Is music in films really that important to David Lynch?

The filmmaker's approach to soundtracks is always very careful. While working on Blue Velvet, he found a permanent composer - Angelo Badalamenti, who wrote music for many of Lynch's films. The most famous can be called the title theme from the series "Twin Peaks", familiar to almost everyone.

In addition to background music and main themes, many of David Lynch's films feature separate musical inserts and live performances by bands. In real clubs, on the set or in mystical places, famous and not so famous teams play in his paintings. And the title of the movie "Blue Velvet" refers to the popular old song Blue Velvet.

The new season of Twin Peaks is also keeping up with this trend. Each episode ends with a performance by a group or performer. Even Nine Inch Nails appear there once.

Is music in Lynch's life limited to films only?

A talented person is talented in everything. David Lynch comes up with scripts, films, paints and writes music. He has been fascinated by this for a long time. Lynch often finds little-known artists and helps them promote them by recording and releasing their music. So it was with the singer Julie Cruz, for whom he also wrote the lyrics. Roughly the same story happened with Christa Bell, with whom Lynch recorded the soundtrack for the film "Empire Inland", later released the joint album This Train, and now took on the role of agent Tamara Preston in the new season of Twin Peaks.

In addition, he did remixes of famous compositions. And from the beginning of the XXI century, David Lynch began to release his own albums of electronic music. He records in his studio and even sings, although his voice is often heavily distorted.

What else can you learn about the director?

For a long time, David Lynch was rather reserved and shy and gave few interviews, but later became a very good speaker. According to the director himself, transcendental meditation helps him. He traveled a lot around the world talking about meditation, and even published the book "Catching a Big Fish".

And if you want to learn more about childhood and the beginning of a director's career, you can watch the documentary “Life in Art”, in which he himself talks about his life.

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