Essays · Movies

The Ultimate Video Essay Guide to David Lynch

Several looks at cinema’s most provocative auteur.
By  · Published on April 21st, 2017

Is there any contemporary filmmaker more provocative or polarizing than David Lynch? People who love him consider him a genius, and people who don’t consider him a weirdo. His films stubbornly eschew understanding for emotion, rely more heavily upon visual storytelling than that of the more traditional, narrative variety, and actively seek to make the audience uncomfortable as often as possible. Regardless where you stand on his work, you can’t deny Lynch is a capital-A Artist, a jack of all creative trades, and a cultural figure the likes of which we haven’t known since the heyday of Salvador Dali.

As such, that makes Lynch ripe for frequent exploration by video essayists seeking to unearth a little clarity from among his body of work. In my time at One Perfect Shot and Film School Rejects I’ve viewed essays attempting to define his themes and aesthetic, essays that breakdown his neo-realistic style, montages that collect his varied visual references, and a score of attempts to excise meaning from films like Mulholland Drive, and now I’ve collected 11 of the best right here into a crash course of all things Lynchian.

In addition to the essays, there are also four bonus videos: one that kicks things off with Lynch himself describing creativity, and then three to close things out that imagine a trio of famous films as directed by Lynch – The Shining, La La Land, and Return of the Jedi, which Lynch was actually asked to direct but passed on.

I can’t promise you’ll be a Lynch expert when all is said and done – can anyone truly be such a thing? – but I can guarantee an increased interest in and understanding of the man and his glorious madness. This is a guide for neophytes and old hands alike, so everyone dive into the deep end.

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Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist