“If I have to choose films that represent, for me, examples of perfect film making, I think I could narrow it down to four,” David Lynch writes in his book “Catching the Big Fish.” Read on to see his favorites — and where you can watch them.
“The first would be ‘8 ½,’ for the way Fellini manages to accomplish with film what mostly abstract painters do — namely, to communicate an emotion without ever saying or showing anything in a direct manner, without ever explaining anything, just by a sort of sheer magic.” (FilmStruck)
“For similar reasons, I would also show ‘Sunset Boulevard.’ Even though Billy Wilder’s style is very different from Fellini’s, he manages to accomplish pretty much the same abstract atmosphere, less by magic than through all sorts of stylistic and technical tricks. The Hollywood he describes in the film probably never existed, but he makes us believe it did, and he immerses us in it, like a dream.” (Amazon)
“After that, I would show ‘Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday’ for the amazing point of view that Jacques Tati casts at society through it. When you watch his films, you realise how much he know about — and loved — human nature, and it can only be an inspiration to do the same.” (FilmStruck)
“And finally, I would show ‘Rear Window,’ for the brilliant way in which Alfred Hitchcock manages to create — or rather, re-create — a whole world with in confined parameters. James Steward never leaves his wheelchair during the film, and yet, through his point of view, we follow a very complex murder scheme. In the film , Hitchcock manages to take something huge and condense it into something really small. And he achieves that through a complete control of film making technique.” (Amazon)
Lynch’s love of Fellini also extends to the Italian maestro’s “La Strada,” which won the first Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film. (FilmStruck)
Billy Wilder also shows up more than once in Lynch’s listo of favorites. This one is considerably more lighthearted than “Sunset Boulevard,” but no less essential. (Amazon)
“I love Stanley Kubrick, and I can watch his movies over and over,” Lynch once said in a video about his favorite movies. About “Lolita” — which he programmed as part of David Lynch Selects, a screening series at International House Philadelphia a few years back — he offered: “staggeringly great performances, direction, writing and mood.” (Amazon)
W.C. Fields starred in six films in 1934 alone, including this comedy that’s proven to be a favorite of the “Blue Velvet” and “Mulholland Drive” director. Lynch has never made a comedy in this vein, but few would deny he has a sense of humor all his own.
If this choice surprises you, just watch “Wild at Heart” — it’s full of overt references to “The Wizard of Oz.” “It was an awful tough world and there was something about Sailor [Nicolas Cage] being a rebel,” he once explained. “But a rebel with a dream of the Wizard of Oz is kinda like a beautiful thing.” (Amazon)