David: Lynch The Art Life Gives Fans A Unique Glimpse Into One Of Cinema’s Most Enigmatic Directors


Following a very lengthy break (like 15 years lengthy) from filmmaking, David Lynch came back swinging with last year’s exquisite Twin Peaks: The Return. During his absence, Lynch wasn’t exactly sitting in the bleachers staring at the clouds. The legendary cult director spent several years being interviewed about his early life as an artist (not filmmaker) for this documentary, which came out just before Twin Peaks’ Season 3 premiere.

David Lynch: The Art Life doesn’t get into the gory details behind the auteur’s most iconic work, like Blue Velvet or Mulholland Dr., but rather focuses entirely on his earlier days as a painter, among other artistic pursuits that would nevertheless shape his weird and wonderful career. If you’re looking for in-depth behind-the-scenes nuggets from the artist’s cinematic oeuvre, go watch some special features on those discs, notably Criterion’s releases of Eraserhead, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, and Mulholland Dr. If you’re interested in learning more about the life and non-cinematic art of one of the most iconic filmmakers of all time, this is the doc for you.

The majority of the film showcases Lynch has he creates his various artworks while telling the camera about his childhood and formative years as a budding artist. Lynch has always considered himself more of an artist than a filmmaker, and this is a testament to that. In fact, his first short film, 1966’s Six Men Getting Sick, was basically made just to put his painting into motion.By the end of the doc, you kind of get the sense Lynch would rather be remembered for his painting than his celebrated films.

In terms of the extras, Criterion’s provides a really nifty fold-out insert featuring Lynch’s art, as well as an essay by author Dennis Lim. Accompanying the feature presentation is another interview with Lynch, conducted by the film’s co-producer Jon Nguyen. This is essentially a continuation of what the movie offers, with addition insight into Lynch’s head and workspace.

David Lynch: The Art Life is available now on DVD and Blu-ray. Check out an interview of co-directed Jon Nguyen talking about his experience making the film and capturing Lynch.