The Commercials – Yes, Commercials – of David Lynch

Perfume, pasta, and pregnancy tests.
By  · Published on June 13th, 2017

Perfume, pasta, and pregnancy tests.

Between Inland Empire in 2006 and the new season of Twin Peaks that just debuted, David Lynch didn’t release any feature work. This drought is in stark contrast to the recent output of directors like Woody Allen, Clint Eastwood, or Ridley Scott, all of whom are over 70 like Lynch and still averaging a film a year.

This isn’t to say, however, that Lynch has been idle. Far from it. He’s always had a rich creative life outside of feature filmmaking: he’s a visual artist, a woodworker, a furniture designer, a musician, and he’s directed numerous short films, a handful of music videos for the likes of Interpol, Nine Inch Nails, Moby, Chrysta Bell (Agent Tammy Preston on Twin Peaks: The Return), a Duran Duran documentary (!!!), and a score of commercials – yes, commercials – for such varied clients as Calvin Klein, Clearblue Pregnancy Tests, the New York Department of Sanitation, and Barilla Pasta (starring Gerard Depardieu).

Some of the commercials are what you’d think of as “Lynchian,” with ethereal atmospheres, odd imagery, and horror-laced looks at modern life, but then there are some that are just straight-up commercials, yet somehow even just knowing that Lynch is behind the camera imbues them with a weird vibe, like they’re building up to some quirky or unnerving punchline that never comes.

In the following, quite extensive compilation from Jeff Keeling, more than half an hour of Lynch-directed commercials have been assembled, and honestly, together like this they feel like a perfectly Lynchian short film: absurd, uncomfortable, hilarious and horrifying all at once. Trust me, this video is worth every second of its run-time.

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