By: Eric Weintraub
Most Famous Works: Eraserhead (1977), Blue Velvet (1986), Mulholland Dr. (2001)
Ten years before Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan became one of the most talked about films in town, there was another piece of surrealist filmmaking that included an ambitious woman struggling to become famous, a case of multiple personality disorder and a lesbian love scene that puts Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis to shame. The film’s name was Mulholland Dr. and its director was David Lynch.
A director like Lynch defines the name auteur in every sense of the word. His work comes with a voice so unique that it can only be described with the word born from the director’s name itself, “Lynchian”. Lynch’s use of eerie music, atmospheric scenery and unexplained phenomena are only some of the trademarks in the Lynch résumé. His clever twists on age-old archetypes are the stuff of legend. What other director could humanize a man with Elephantitis such as John Hurt’s titular character in The Elephant Man or think of setting a plot involving murder, deceit and sexual abuse in 1950’s suburbia like Lynch did in Blue Velvet?
The list of Lynch’s trademarks go on, but the most bizarre, and admiring, point to note about Lynch’s style is that the man has never chosen to explain the purpose for any of his choices in filmmaking. Lynch prefers to let his films speak for themselves and be open to the interpretations of his audience. It is for this reason that we will never know what truly happens to Bill Pullman’s character as he steps into the black hallway at the ending of Lost Highway’s first act, or if the plot of Mulholland Dr. is meant to be fact, or a mere fever dream of Naomi Watt’s character’s mind. One thing is certain however, although Lynch is reaching the end of a great career, the man has left a mark that will forever change Hollywood and the way movies are made.
Most Aesthetically Pleasing Scene:
In the finale of the first half of Mulholland Dr., the female leads travel to a place called Club Silencio. It is at the club where a man on the stage speaks the words, “This is just a recording. Everything is illusion.” With these words, the man does more than explain the scene; he defines Lynch’s entire career.