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Non-Review Review: David Lynch – The Art of Life

This film was seen as part of the Audi Dublin International Film Festival 2017.

David Lynch: The Art of Life is a fairly conventional and straightforward affair as these sorts of documentaries go.

The documentary eschews a lot of the trapping of more adventurous entries in the genre. Indeed, most of David Lynch: The Art of the Life could have been filmed and recorded in David Lynch’s art studio, as the director talks at length about his life and the camera pans loving across his working space and intercuts his monologues with art work that seems to hit on some of the core themes of his narration at any given moment. There is something very standard about the way that David Lynch: The Art of Life is put together.

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Indeed, the film largely eschews any sense of outside context or material. The only voice heard over the course of the film is that of David Lynch himself, recording at his own home studio. Only rarely do the production team need to use material that doesn’t belong to Lynch to flesh out his dialogue, notably during his discussion of his time in Philadelphia. Those occasions are especially noticeable because the documentary takes great care to credit those sources, drawing attention to how much material comes from Lynch’s own archives and records.

However, there is a strong argument that Lynch is suited to this approach. Lynch is a surrealist artist, and it is very hard to argue that anybody has a stronger grip on or understanding of his work. Indeed, the most effective and striking aspect of David Lynch: The Art of Life is the way in which it allows Lynch to make his own arguments from his own perspective crafting a narrative that feels distinct and unique. For all that Lynch is a surrealist, David Lynch: The Art of Life allows him to make a strong case as the only sane man in an insane world.

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