Watching a David Lynch film is bound to mark you.
Notice I didn’t say harm you. It might do that. In fact, I imagine many moviegoers with tender sensibilities have felt harmed by certain scenes in such films as “Eraserhead,” “Blue Velvet” or “Mulholland Drive” among many others.
But even if you were immune to such harm, some sort of mark likely remains. Some sort of lingering attitude, or feeling that the world has shifted just the slightest bit.
That’s the effect that Lynch can have. He’s one of those filmmakers about whom one can safely say that there’s life before seeing his work, and then there’s life after.
A life that may be worse (harm) or better (film appreciation) but is certainly different. With or without Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Lynch and his films are the subject of a documentary that will open Friday at the Magic Lantern. That documentary, “David Lynch: The Art Life,” was directed by Jon Nguyen and Rick Barnes and delves deeply into the man and his views on art by letting the man explain everything himself. Following are some critical comments:
Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times: “No one else weighs in on Lynch here - it's all him, all the time. And, although chatty, he's not the warmest or most engaging presence. Still, Lynch devotees should dig this respectful, offbeat portrait.”
Christina Newland, RogerEbert.com: “This cockeyed, oblique attempt to get closer to the worldview of David Lynch – one of American cinema's finest oddities – is a compelling slice of cinephile inquiry.”
Scott Marks, San Diego Reader: “Is there a more rewarding way of spending 90 minutes than watching Lynch putter, reminisce, and work on a sculpture? Maybe, but you'd need to give Lynch the budget to produce another feature to find out.”
Lynch talking is the next best thing to Lynch directing. Either way, he’s a filmmaer who certainly has – wait for it – made his mark.