It’s been a real drag not having any cinematic output from David Lynch since 2006’s meta-movie freakout “Inland Empire.” Renaissance man that he is, Lynch has dabbled in a slew of creative pursuits since his last two feature films —the other being “Mulholland Drive,” arguably the most potent distillation of his gifts as a storyteller— which include transcendental meditation, painting, landscape photography and music that sounds like being dragged kicking and screaming into the crimson-red vortex of your darkest nightmares.
And yet, in spite of his dilettante proclivities, Lynch is first and foremost a filmmaker, which is to say he’s a fashioner of dreams. No filmmaker since Luis Bunuel has plumbed the murky depths of the human subconscious to such illuminating and disturbing effect. He’s also given us some of the most haunting and unforgettable screen imagery of the last half-century —we all love the dreadlocked dumpster monster from “Mulholland Drive,” but Robert Frost’s demonic, pasty-faced partygoer from “Lost Highway” will forever be burned into my brain.
Lynch is a fascinating, polarizing figure in the world of art and cinema, and in this fantastic 53-minute interview with Hikari Takano, he dishes on some of his favorite topics, including the notion of universal consciousness, the peculiar rhythms of the creative process and the music of Roy Orbison.
Not surprisingly, Lynch doesn’t seem particularly interested in dissecting his filmography in any sort of intellectual way. Although countless think pieces have attempted to decipher the enigmatic dream logic of films like “Blue Velvet,” “Mulholland Drive” and “Eraserhead,” his best films tend to play out like real dreams. They are absurd, terrifying, nonsensical and enshrouded in a lustrous sheen of mystery that makes his nightmare visions all the more unnerving.
You’d expect the director of a deeply fucked-up murder ballad like “Wild at Heart” to possess what could be called the arrogance of genius, but the Lynch we see in this interview is genial, enthusiastic, and even a little square, not unlike the characters played by his longtime leading-man surrogate Kyle MachLachlan. In fact, he seems like he’d be a pleasure to be around. In his typical, unabashedly earnest fashion, Lynch expounds on a variety of topics, which run the gamut from his now-unmistakable wardrobe (apparently, dude doesn’t care for wind on his collarbone, hence his signature button-up) to the genius of musician Chris Isaak, who recorded music for “Inland Empire” and whom Lynch calls “one of the best musicians [he] has ever worked with.”
The director also dispels the notion of the “suffering artist” (Lynch refers to suffering itself as “big squeezing” and a “clamp on creativity”) as well as his book “Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness & Creativity,” which explores the complex relationship between dreams, creative output and existential awareness. It’s enough to make one wish that Lynch would return to the silver screen, but until then, we have the reboot of his seminal television program “Twin Peaks” to look forward to—let’s hope that doesn’t disappoint. In the meantime, the following interview is a penetrating look inside the warped, beautiful mind of one of modern cinema’s last remaining radicals. It’s a doozy.
Watch the full interview below. Preferably with a cup of damn fine coffee, or Frank Booth’s beer of choice, Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Update 1/21: Interview removed by request of Hikari Takano. You can watch it in full here.