DVD Movie Review: David Lynch: The Art Life

By Jamie Mercer 31.01.2018 1

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David Lynch: The Art Life (UK Rating: 15)

David Lynch: The Art Life is a fascinating and intimate take on one of America's most 'out there' filmmakers. The documentary, which pieces Lynch's art, family photos, and home movie footage over his own narration, starts in Lynch's early childhood. Viewers are introduced to his parents who seem both supportive of, but also disappointed in, Lynch's chosen profession as an artist, and to his friends and acquaintances who made him the man he is.

Growing up in small-town middle-America, areas he has since used as locations for his film and TV work, Lynch recalls in this documentary the moment his world gained focus during an encounter with a distressed, naked woman who stumbled through his neighbourhood. The juxtaposition of beauty and despair struck a chord with the young Lynch and went on to influence his artistic vision.

Admittedly not interested in academia or school, Lynch soon turns to art as a way to express himself and, later, during a Twin Peaks-esque vision, ponders the possibility of experiential filmmaking - "a moving painting… with sound…" - which ultimately led to his career as an avant-garde director.

The documentary does not focus so much on Lynch as a filmmaker, instead focusing on his artistic endeavours as a young man. The audience learns that his father would prefer him to have a steady office job, while his mother just wants him to fulfil his potential. Lynch, however, is more interested in the idea of the 'Art Soul,' which he read about as a teenager. He took this ideology and shaped it into his own philosophy, which he calls 'Art Life' - drinking coffee, burning through cigarettes, and doing nothing but making art, living up to just about every stereotype of an artist there is.

The Art Life is beautiful in its simplicity. It features paired back imagery and allows plenty of lingering time as Lynch fastidiously fossicks and fiddles with his art as he's creating it. It's an oft-overused phrase, but this truly provides a fly-on-the-wall look at a prolific artist's creative process.

Film-buffs and art-aficionados may want to look elsewhere, though. The documentary doesn't name drop, nor does it cover much in the way of art or cinema theory; Lynch isn't interested in that. This is a look at raw and primitive artistic creation in its purest form.

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10
Fans of film or art theory may want to look elsewhere, for the making of Eraserhead this is not! Instead, The Art Life allows a deep and studious look at one of America's most gifted creators, roughly up until his mid-20s. Fans and completionists of Lynch's work will find something to enjoy here, though, even if it's just how unashamedly passionate he is about art.

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really wish he made more movies

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