Since his cinematic debut with Eraserhead, David Lynch has captivated – and disturbed, and disgusted – audiences worldwide with his otherworldly creations. The director has long been a festival favorite, winning accolades with films like Mulholland Drive, but TV show Twin Peaks is his most widespread project by far. Fans of Lynch’s work have often wondered at the complex mind behind his enigmatic productions, and now they’re about to get a closer look at the man himself in Jon Nguyen’s new documentary, David Lynch: The Art Life.
Though we’ve seen other David Lynch documentary projects throughout the years, including Nguyen’s own Lynch in 2007, The Art Life offers a look at the filmmaker’s past, in an intimate investigation into the life of the iconic creator. Basically, if you want to learn how a young, blonde, Midwestern Cub Scout turned into David Lynch, this is the film for you.
The film’s trailer (above), released by The Guardian, offers us a look at what appears to be a biography of Lynch as dark and enigmatic as the man himself. The preview is peppered with images of the artist himself, interspersed with Rorshachian distortions, and laden with the director’s own home movies.
Lynch’s ghostly voiceover narrates the trailer – “Sickness, corruption, fear in the air,” he says, “it was so good for me. I can imagine a whole world that doesn’t exist.” An excerpt from the film’s synopsis describes the work:
An intimate journey through the formative years of [Lynch’s] life. From his idyllic upbringing in small town America to the dark streets of Philadelphia, we follow Lynch as he traces the events that have helped to shape one of cinema’s most enigmatic directors. David Lynch: The Art Life infuses Lynch’s own art, music and early films, shining a light into the dark corners of his unique world, giving audiences a better understanding of the man and the artist.
An exclusive clip from Empire focuses on how the artist used painting to cope with his consistent displacement. “I couldn’t control, it, you know?” he says of his desperate state. “It just was what was happening.” Watch the clip, below:
Experimental junkies and critics alike have high hopes for the documentary as it prepares to make its debut at the Venice Film Festival, but whether a film like this can reach beyond the art house demographic remains to be seen. With Lynch’s Twin Peaks revival in the works, fan interest in the director has hit a resurgence, but this artistic biography may read as pedantic for some.
Still, with recent docu-biographies like Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck receiving such intense critical acclaim, this could pave the way for more meta-commentaries on creators and filmmakers who have bent the concept of film as expertly as Lynch. We suggest you keep an eye on your local independent cinema for this intimate portrayal of the inscrutable director.
David Lynch: The Art Life premiers September 4th, 2016 at the Venice Film Festival.