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  • Gareth Crook

David Lynch: The Art Life (2016) - 9/10

I’m predisposed to love this. I love David Lynch. Who doesn’t. People with no imagination. No sense of wonder. That’s who. Lynch is someone who sees art everywhere. Sees possibility. Draws on his experiences. Here he talks candidly about childhood memories as he works in his home studio, painting, drawing, playing. He talks fondly of his mother, her role in encouraging young David to experiment. It sounds like an idyllic start in life. Visualised by happy photos and home cine footage. Until he recalls an early traumatising memory, that sparks wonder and mystery. From here the stories get dreamier, darker. House moves, new friends. More introspection. Disapproving parents, perhaps not understanding where he might be headed. We don’t see anyone but David. He works. He smokes. He narrates. The only punctuation are shots of the art he’s produced and bits of archive. It’s heady stuff. Inspirational stuff. He talks of his own inspiration. Exposure to “The Art Life”, “You drink coffee, you smoke cigarettes and you paint and that’s it. Maybe girls come into it a little bit”. I can certainly see the appeal. If his mother disapproved of early choices. His fathers hands on look at the world, building, fixing, promotes that work ethic. Both parents though are clearly hugely influential and the way he speaks about them is with pure love. That slow methodical delivery. Every word from him feels careful, special. Wise and yet completely humble and honest. The shots of him sat smoking in his studio, contemplating as he looks at something he’s working on are a picture of pure zen tranquility. He’s such an interesting character to watch, that hair, those eyes. He’s like a canvas himself. The stories build a world. His world. An insulated place where he called the shots. Made the rules. No rules. He returns to the same things time and again. Work ethic. Being challenged. A young artist being forced. Forced to find his way. It’s a brilliant documentary. You feel totally immersed. It’s not, but it sometimes feels as engulfing as one of his films. It’s fascinating to hear him talk and make sense of his origins. Through art, through painting. Losing himself in the work, ideas mixing in his head, until… “That idea stuck in my head. A moving painting”.



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