© NFP/Filmwelt

David Lynch: The Art Life
U.S.A./Denmark 2016

Opening 31 Aug 2017

Directed by: Jon Nguyen, Rick Barnes, Olivia Neergaard-Holm
Writing credits:
Principal actors: David Lynch

Film director David Lynch was born January 20, 1946. This film celebrates his 70th birthday with him reminiscing about the past and discussing the present. He has fond memories of his childhood “in a happy family with the whole world in just two blocks. I could live in one place and have everything.” As a teenager he disliked school and discovered a love of illustration. At age 14 he actually booked an atelier in an art studio through his friend Toby Keeler, whose father was artist Bushnell Keeler. He had short-lived professional training at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Later he was more successful at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia (which he calls “a poor man’s New York City”), where he majored in painting, sculpture, and photography.

This diversity is typical of his career. He said he “saw his illustrations move” which inspired him to consider making a film. His short film The Grandmother paved the way to acceptance in the American Film Institute in Los Angeles in 1970. His first film Eraserhead (1977) resulted in many more successful films and also the TV series Twin Peaks.

We learn all of this from Lynch himself as he sits in his home and talks into the camera. Between conversations there are excerpts of videos which underline his memories. We meet his first wife Peggy, his friend Jack Fisk, a daughter Jennifer, singer Peter Wolf. This is an excellent film for anyone interested in documentaries in general, and, of course, in David Lynch specifically. Perhaps it is a surprise to learn that he is not only well-known as a film director, but is an artist with exhibits in the US, Japan, France, Germany, England, etc. He is a photographer and a sculptor, and in this film: a composer, writing and performing three songs. One leaves the film wanting to know even more, and I’m sure we will not be disappointed as this is not the first documentary about Lynch’s life and certainly will not be the last one. (Becky Tan)

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