2007, Movie, NR, 84 mins


Directed by an anonymous entity calling itself blackANDwhite, this 84-minute documentary about David Lynch isn't exactly a straightforward biography, but rather a snapshot of the iconoclastic American maverick at a particular point in his career: during the making of his bizarre 2006 magnum opus INLAND EMPIRE. With the static camera sitting on the floor of his office or basement workshop, or set up in his backyard garden where one his large-scale canvases hangs, Lynch is seen filming the daily weather report for his website, taking calls from actors and producers (whom he sometimes yells at) and talking about the role that transcendental meditation has played in his life. (He hasn't missed a daily meditation in 32 years, and feels all artists need to visit the "absolute pure being" to be truly successful creatively.) Lynch also tells stories from his Idaho youth (his surreal memory of hunting jackrabbits in the sagebrush would make a great short) and the penniless years he spent as a student in the badlands of Philadelphia. But mostly Lynch is busy with his latest project, INLAND EMPIRE, his first since 2001's MULHOLLAND DR. and the first David Lynch film to be shot entirely on consumer-grade digital video. After the storied fracas over MULHOLLAND DR., Lynch has foresworn celluloid forever (or so he says), and he waxes poetic over the mobility an unsettling, off-balance mood throughout the film. Lynch, his assistants and his small crew also find themselves in Poland, where sections of the film is set, and Lynch thrills to the decaying industrial interiors of Lodz's dead factories, which he gleefully photographs. Those already initiated into the esoteric mysteries of INLAND EMPIRE will no doubt find a lot of this interesting, but anyone looking for a general overview of the director will do better looking elsewhere (Toby Keeler's 1997 documentary PRETTY AS A PICTURE: THE ART OF DAVID LYNCH is as good a place to start as any). blackANDwhite's film captures an important American filmmaker at a pivotal moment when he has boldly flung himself into the void, shooting without a proper script and seeing where it all lands. But it's really the kind of thing one would expect to find as an extra on the bonus disc of the INLAND EMPIRE DVD, which is exactly where you can see its shorter sequel, LYNCH 2. leave a comment --Ken Fox

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