(2007) dir. blackANDwhite
What does the mind of an artist look like? What is the state at which the threshhold of genius is crossed? What separates genius from non-genius?
Lynch is a documentary, loose and often as opaque or non-sequitur-like as many of the thoughts and creations of its subject, filmmaker/artist David Lynch. Much of the film is shot in and around the production of his fantastic 2006 film Inland Empire. Much of the film is about the creative process, or at least the creative process which Lynch employed throughout the production of that film.
The film doesn’t try to delve, even if that were possible, into the interiors of David Lynch’s mind. Rather, the viewer is right along side of him, seeing how he operates in a multitude of media, when dealing with the actors both on set and on the phone, cutting holes in walls, making objects, and free-wheeling his sense of set design, camera usage, and narrative. The cogs are turning constantly, and he’s a bit of a tsar, commanding his assistants around and making fun of people on occasion.
The film’s direction is credited to blackANDwhite. The IMDb doesn’t even list a director. According to Netflix, the director is Søren Larsen. But maybe that is sort of the point. The film is really not about its own construct but rather the process and art and artistry of David Lynch himself. There are even some allusions to the possibility that there are coming sequels to this documentary, with the DVD even featuring “teasers” for them. Who knows?
I am a dedicated appreciator of David Lynch. I’ve followed his career since the 1980’s and was completely amazed by Inland Empire. I think it’s his best film. I think his work has gotten stronger and stronger since his Twin Peaks days. And I think he’s a very American filmmaker, perhaps a true voice of a generation. Of course, in my sensibility about what that statement means is not only is he literally American and focused on America as much of his subject matter, he is also unique. Not so “oft-imitated, never replicated” as just out there in his own fully unimpeded-upon space.
Well, even with this being my attitude and appreciating the artistry of the filming and freedom in Lynch, I wasn’t utterly blown away by it. It’s a film for people who would be interested in doing a ride-along with Lynch in his day to day. Seeing “the master” at work, in his elements, creating masterworks, even. There is much to be gleaned. But you have to be a gleaner. You don’t get much handed to you here. Which is fine, suits its subject well. Just nothing powerful or as radically strange as Lynch’s films, or Lynch himself. Quite a character. And an artist.