There’s an excellent interview with “David Lynch creepy” in this week’s Guardian of London. Martian readers in particular should prick up their ears (antennae?) at the following:
He is at his most animated when discussing ideas. “They’re like fish. If you get an idea that’s thrilling to you, put your attention on it and these other fish will swim into it. It’s like a bait. They’ll hook on to it and you’ll get more ideas. And you just pull them in.”
When he puts a story on screen, he does not think in term of beats or plot points. “No, it’s a feeling, more of an intuition. It’s the idea that you’ve fallen in love with, and you try to stay true to that. You see the way that cinema can say that idea, and it’s thrilling to you.”
Audiences, however, must do their own figuring out. “I don’t ever explain it. Because it’s not a word thing. It would reduce it, make it smaller.” These days he rarely gives interviews, not even during the hugely hyped return of Twin Peaks last year – a show that is still debated as either the best or worst TV of 2017. “When you finish anything, people want you to then talk about it. And I think it’s almost like a crime,” he explains. “A film or a painting – each thing is its own sort of language and it’s not right to try to say the same thing in words. The words are not there. The language of film, cinema, is the language it was put into, and the English language – it’s not going to translate. It’s going to lose.”
The thing is, surrealism (and its smarter younger brother, magical realism) is usually pretty dull. Le Chien Andalou is a landmark film, a triumph of the impossible, but even at only 21 minutes, I challenge you to stay awake through it. I certainly couldn’t, the first time I watched it in a cinema. But nobody sleeps through Lynch. He makes surrealism entertaining. He is mesmerising, breathtaking, zen. From the “lynch” scene in Elephant Man to the atomic explosion, and what are those blessed giant rabbits watching television about? Sure, we could have done without “he truly is the Kwisatz Haderach”, but even Orson Welles had his sherry commercials. So don’t think in terms of beats or plot points; just ride the giant worm.