From his early days as a struggling artist, ‘David Lynch: The Art Life’ captures the filmmaker before he rose to international fame with his break through film ‘Eraserhead’. Delivered through a series of narrated anecdotes recorded at his home, David talks through the chance meetings and inspirations that shaped his idiosyncratic style.
With each painting and artwork that he shows, a layer peels away from what you thought you knew or possibly guessed about Lynch’s viewpoint – a viewpoint that would later inform such classics as ‘Blue Velvet’ and ‘Twin Peaks’.
…a veiled insight into the man as he would like you to see him.
‘David Lynch: The Art Life’ isn’t an exposé or a retrospective. It’s a veiled insight into the man as he would like you to see him. Eschewing a clear narrative or coherent timeline, the movie rambles like a jagged jigsaw with ill fitting pieces – all of which are designed that way: seemingly random and yet measured in artistic detail.
If you approach this documentary more as if it were an art installation and you will be able to pull the insights from amongst reveries. This is not a film that offers up its jewels lightly. Lynch himself comes across as a couched man, seeing the world through his own filter – and what a unique filter it is. By turns charming and personally negligent to those closest to him, Lynch is and continues to be wedded to the art life before his growth to filmic stature.
In the end you are left with the understanding that his chance movement into films, a realm of moving paintings as he then saw it, was that of an artist changing canvas rather than careers.
Slow in delivery, measured with an eclectic and seldom percussive soundtrack, ‘David Lynch: The Art Life’ will both command your attention and test your patience. Its meandering narrative, a thread that lulls you into his world, can also blind and fascinate. You just have to change your head to his frequency so as to share Lynch’s prismatic view.