At once a pop culture icon, cult figure, and film industry outsider, master filmmaker David Lynch and his work defy easy definition. Dredged from his subconscious mind, Lynch’s work is primed to act on our own subconscious, combining heightened, contradictory emotions into something familiar but inscrutable. No less than his art, Lynch’s life also evades simple categorization, encompassing pursuits as a musician, painter, photographer, carpenter, entrepreneur, and vocal proponent of Transcendental Meditation.
David Lynch: The Man from Another Place, Dennis Lim’s remarkably smart and concise book, proposes several lenses through which to view Lynch and his work: through the age-old mysteries of the uncanny and the sublime, through the creative energies of surrealism and postmodernism, through ideas of America and theories of good and evil. Lynch himself often warns against overinterpretation. And accordingly, this is not a book that seeks to decode his art or annotate his life—to dispel the strangeness of the Lynchian—so much as one that offers complementary ways of seeing and understanding one of the most distinctive bodies of work in modern cinema. Its spirit is true to its subject, in remaining suggestive rather than definitive, in allowing what Lynch likes to call “room to dream,” and in honoring the allure of the unknown and the unknowable.