The Philosophy of David Lynch

The Philosophy of David Lynch

The Philosophy of David Lynch

The Philosophy of David Lynch

Synopsis

From his cult classic television series Twin Peaks to his most recent film Inland Empire (2006), David Lynch is best known for his unorthodox narrative style. An award-winning director, producer, and writer, Lynch distorts and disrupts traditional storylines and offers viewers a surreal, often nightmarish perspective. His unique approach to filmmaking has made his work familiar to critics and audiences worldwide, and he earned Academy Award nominations for Best Director for The Elephant Man (1980), Blue Velvet (1986), and Mulholland Drive (2001).

Lynch creates a new reality for both characters and audience by focusing on the individual and embracing existentialism. In The Philosophy of David Lynch, editors William J. Devlin and Shai Biderman have compiled an impressive list of contributors to explore the philosophy at the core of the filmmaker's work. Lynch is examined as a postmodern artist, and the themes of darkness, logic, and time are discussed in depth. Other prominent issues in Lynch's films, such as Bad faith and freedom, ethics, politics, and religion, are also considered. Investigating myriad aspects of Lynch's influential and innovative work, The Philosophy of David Lynch provides a fascinating look at the philosophical underpinnings of the famous cult director.

Excerpt

Award-winning film director, producer, and writer David Lynch is perhaps best known for his unorthodox filmmaking style. The Lynchian cinema is distinctively unique. From his cult classic film Eraserhead (1977) to his neonoir television series Twin Peaks (1990–1991) to his abstract film Inland Empire (2006), Lynch distorts and disrupts viewers’ expectations of a traditional approach to narrative and story line, plot points, character development, frame composing, and film styling. He presents to viewers a surreal, often nightmarish, perspective that allows us to experience the world of film in an entirely new way. While his approach to filmmaking may deter some, Lynch has attracted a wide audience over his thirty-plus years as a director.

Lynch’s films are predominantly character-driven. Through the artistic and eccentric mind of Lynch, we are introduced to memorable characters through his film corpus. First, we have distinctive protagonists such as the perky, straitlaced, and incisive FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper, who is famous for his love of coffee and pie in Twin Peaks; The Straight Story’s (1999) loveable curmudgeon Alvin Straight, who, after years of fighting with his brother, travels hundreds of miles on a riding mower to make amends; and the physically deformed John Merrick, who is willing to sacrifice his life to prove he is a human being in The Elephant Man (1980). Second, we have such sinister villains as the perverted and brutal Frank Booth in Blue Velvet (1986), whose twisted combination of ferociousness and sexual desire offends many viewers; the menacing Feyd-Rautha of Dune (1984), who haunts Paul Atreides’ dreams; and the perplexing and appropriately named Mystery Man, whose eerie appearance in Mulholland Dr. (2001) challenges the notion of consistent identity (à la being in two places at the same time). Finally, we have the outright enigmatic and elusive characters, such as Twin Peaks’s Man from Another Place, who dances and talks backward, and the Giant, both of whom leave mysterious clues for Agent Cooper to help him . . .

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