I passed on the closing night gala and the communal celebratory high-five with Werner Herzog's Encounters at the End of the World and swanky par-tay at the 7 Sushi Ultra-lounge (ultra-lounges make me break out in hives) for one last screening at St Anthony Main. The documentary Lynch was no doubt the less cinematic offering, but a much needed low-key experience. Assuming Encounters at the End of the World will open here at a later time, I think I made the right choice.
Lynch is the first installment of the massive amount footage shot during the making of Inland Empire. (Lynch 2 is available on the invaluable special features disc of the Inland Empire DVD set, and rumor has it that there is enough footage for a few more installments.) There is sort of a mystery surrounding who actually shot the footage, but as the documentary proves with the candidness we get from the man himself, the director, simply credited as "blackANDwhite," was someone very close. Scenes that elude to the fact that it might be Lynch himself are probably just aimed at the fact that it doesn't matter who directed the film: this is the David Lynch show.
There may not be too much here that is ground breaking, or even very illuminating to a Lynch fan, but it is undeniably fascinating. When David Lynch lets loose on a yarn, whether it is about bloated cows or the streets of Philadelphia or transcendental meditation, it is captivating. Never a showboat, Lynch earnestly offers up stories that seem as fascinating to him as they are to the listener. Watching him work is no different, offering a glimpse into his mysterious creative process. The documentary captures him not only working on Inland Empire and various aspects of the film, but also on paintings, sculptures and photos. Sometimes you really have no idea what he is doing, but it doesn't matter. Watching him work on the decorative finish to a floor for what I assume is Inland Empire is pretty amazing. You can see what his subconscious process, or 'catching the big fish,' is all about: he seems totally sure and convicted about what he's doing with little idea of what exactly it is.
The style of the documentary is somewhat distracting, using multiple types of stock to shoot one session, or the black and white interludes of a passing landscape, or shots of Lynch that have him cropped partially out of the frame. Lynch may not be the revealing documentary some expect, but it is certainly another piece of the compelling puzzle. Watching Lynch be Lynch is what this doc is all about.