DAVID LYNCH BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY:
David Keith Lynch is an American director, noted for his own unique cinematic style given the name of “Lynchian”. His pictures are distinguishable for their surrealistic characteristics, complete with dreamy imagery and cautious sound design. His techniques carefully walk the line between mainstream and avant-garde, bringing his audiences into a mystifying and disturbing view of reality. They follow a timeline of unordered events, confusing and random, to give each viewer a unique experience and understanding of the film’s emotional purpose. As the director himself said: “film to me is a magical medium that makes you dream…allows you to dream in the dark. It’s just a fantastic thing, to get lost inside the world of film.”
Lynch was born January 20, 1946 in the small American town of Missoula, Montana. After high school, he attended Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts. He left early to travel around Europe for a few years, but returned to the U.S. fifteen days later. Lynch then enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. Here, he began his first experimentations with film. His first short film was “Six Men Getting Sick” (1966), which he described as “57 seconds of growth and fire, and three seconds of vomit”. It played on a loop at an art exhibit, and won the Academy’s annual film festival. The win led to a commission with H. Barton Wasserman, which led to Lynch’s second film, “The Alphabet” (1968). The four minute picture combined live action with animation, and featured a girl tormented by the alphabet.
Thanks to “The Alphabet”, in 1970 the American Film Institute (AFI) granted Lynch $5,000 to make his first film. He used the money to produce “The Grandmother” (1970), a thirty minute film about a neglected boy who plants special seeds and grows a grandmother that will love him. The feature demonstrated many elements that would become characteristic of his approach to film: creepy sounds and imagery, with a focus on hidden desires instead of a traditional narrative.
In 1971, Lynch moved to Los Angeles with his wife, Peggy (whom he married in 1967 and divorced in 1974), and their daughter to study at the AFI Conservatory. In 1972, with $10,000 in grant money, he began “Eraserhead” (1977), a disturbing look at family life. He quickly realized he would need more funds to complete the project, leading friends to donate money and Lynch to take on any job necessary to secure enough financial backing. The picture was inspired by the director’s own life. He referred to it as “my Philadelphia story”, for it displayed many dangers that he encountered while living in The City of (not so) Brotherly Love. It also reflected fears that he had of fatherhood, personified by a constantly hissing mutant baby. At first, the movie had trouble getting released, but thanks to distributor Ben Barenholtz, it hit theaters and became an instant cult classic. “Eraserhead” also caught the attention of producer Mel Brooks, who declared Lynch a “madman” and gave him the opportunity to direct “The Elephant Man” (1980). The picture, based on the true story of 19th century disfigured Englishman Joseph Merrick, earned eight Academy Award nominations. Two of them were for Lynch – Best Picture and Best Director. Although the picture could hardly be called conventional, it allowed the director to be accepted in mainstream Hollywood.
After, he agreed to adapt the Frank Herbert science fiction novel Dune for Dino De Laurentiis. The first of Lynch’s features to star Kyle MacLachlan, “Dune” (1984) was a commercial and critical failure. However, the director only agreed to make the film so that De Laurentiis would finance his next project, “Blue Velvet” (1986). The picture followed the story of a college student (Kyle MacLachlan) who finds a sinister underworld hidden just beneath his peaceful suburban town, where he becomes entangled with a beautiful but disturbed young woman (Isabella Rossellini). On top of refreshing the careers of its stars, like Dennis Hopper, the movie earned an Oscar nod for Best Director. It additionally stirred up much controversy, but was also a major sensation among critics.
Following a few television stints, Lynch created and directed six episodes of the groundbreaking series “Twin Peaks” (1990-1991), which got audiences everywhere asking “Who killed Laura Palmer?” The ABC crime drama built up hype quickly, becoming a national phenomenon. However, Lynch left direction during the second season, and the show soon fell apart and was cancelled. His return to film was in “Wild at Heart” (1990), a hallucinatory thriller that proved to be rather forgettable besides its win of the Palm d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. In 1992 he released “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me”, a feature film prequel to the “Twin Peaks” series. Critics tore it apart, and audiences were nonexistent.
After a couple short lived television efforts, Lynch finally came out with his next motion picture: “Lost Highway” (1997). The experimental, dream like film left many unanswered questions, causing failed commercial success and polarized critical review. The director’s reasoning for the inventive filming style: “Life is very, very confusing, and so films should be allowed, too.” However, thanks partly because of its soundtrack – featuring artists such as Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, David Bowie, and The Smashing Pumpkins – Lynch developed a new fan base of Generation X viewers.
In 1999, the director had two projects. First, he surprised audiences and critics with his involvement in the G rated Disney movie “The Straight Story”, based on the true story of an elderly man who rides his lawnmower 350 miles to reconnect with his ill and estranged brother. Next, he went to ABC with an idea for a new television drama. They allowed him to create its pilot, “Mulholland Dr.”, but it was abandoned before it ever went prime time. Instead, in 2001, he completed the pilot as a film, titled “Mulholland Dr.”. The non-linear surrealist tale, exposing the dark side of Hollywood, performed well at the box office and earned Lynch Best Director at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. He also received a nod for Best Director at the Academy Awards.
With the popularity of the internet, the director decided to try a new medium. He released several series and digital creations on his website, davidlynch.com. In 2006 he made a return to film with the three hour long “Inland Empire”. Lynch depicted the cyclic piece, featuring actors that morph into completely new characters, as “a mystery about a woman in trouble”.
Since “Inland Empire”, the director has made a number of videos and shorts, like the mystery “More Things That Happened” (2007), drama “Lady Blue Shanghai” (2010), and musical “Crazy Clown Time” (2012). Lynch currently has plans to direct a documentary on Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, which will consist of interviews of people who knew the Transcendental Meditation movement guru.
2012 Crazy Clown Time
2011 The 3 Rs
2011 Duran Duran: Unstaged
2011 I Touch a Red Button
2010 Lady Blue Shanghai
2009 42 One Dream Rush
2007 More Things That Happened
2007 To Each His Own Cinema
2007 Dynamic:01: The Best of DavidLynch.com
2006 Inland Empire
2002 Darkened Room
2002 The Short Films of David Lynch
2001 Eraserhead Stories
2001 Mulholland Dr.
1999 Mulholland Dr.
1999 The Straight Story
1997 Lost Highway
1995 Lumière and Company
1993 Hotel Room
1993 The King of Ads
1992 On the Air
1992 Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
1990 Wild at Heart
1990 Twin Peaks
1990 Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Brokenhearted
1990 American Chronicles
1988 Les Français vus par
1986 Blue Velvet
1980 The Elephant Man
1974 The Amputee
1970 The Grandmother
1968 The Alphabet
1966 Six Figures Getting Sick