The Passion of David Lynch: Wild at Heart in Hollywood

The Passion of David Lynch: Wild at Heart in Hollywood

The Passion of David Lynch: Wild at Heart in Hollywood

The Passion of David Lynch: Wild at Heart in Hollywood


Filmmaker David Lynch asserts that when he is directing, ninety percent of the time he doesn't know what he is doing. To understand Lynch's films, Martha Nochimson believes, requires a similar method of being open to the subconscious, of resisting the logical reductiveness of language. In this innovative book, she draws on these strategies to offer close readings of Lynch's films, informed by unprecedented, in-depth interviews with Lynch himself.

Nochimson begins with a look at Lynch's visual influences- Jackson Pollock, Francis Bacon, and Edward Hopper- and his links to Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles, then moves into the heart of her study, in-depth analyses of Lynch's films and television productions. These include Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, Wild at Heart, Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, Dune, The Elephant Man, Eraserhead, The Grandmother, The Alphabet, and Lynch's most recent,Lost Highway.

Nochimson's interpretations explode previous misconceptions of Lynch as a deviant filmmaker and misogynist. Instead, she shows how he subverts traditional Hollywood gender roles to offer an optimistic view that love and human connection are really possible.


When David Lynch tells us, as he does in his every public statement, that he makes films to give his audience a place to dream, he is not waxing metaphorical. Rather, he is referring as directly as he can to a relationship between narrative and image, one that he first saw as a young art student in the work of his early painter ideals-- Robert Henri, Francis Bacon, Jackson Pollock, and Edward Hopper--from whom he took much more than inspiration for the still image on canvas.

In the simplest terms, David Lynch the Hollywood film director learned from his fine arts education how to tell stories in the special way that we have come to associate with him. The young David Lynch dreamed of spending his life as a painter. But as he learned to fill a canvas, he was also learning a lesson that propelled him in what some would call a very different direction. From his early influences he took an understanding that narrative can bring us to truth and to each other if it makes us dream. At the same time, and paradoxically, he instinctively gleaned that the logic of narrative can push an artistic expression too close to empty conventions and become a formidable barrier to the dreaming mind. To use narrative as a support for the dream, Lynch takes a page from the painters who inspired him and neutralizes as much as he can of the drive in narrative to take control of a film. In the interviews that Francis Bacon, the most articulate of his early influences, granted to David Sylvester, Bacon sheds much light on Lynch's understanding of narrative when he identifies narrative as an ex-

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