Twin Peaks, decoded for novices and obsessives alike

But more on that later.

What’s the deal with David Lynch?

David Lynch is the writer and director behind such lauded (and controversial) films as Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Dune, Mulholland Drive, and Blue Velvet. He is particular, insular, and relentlessly inscrutable. His work, methodical and aggressive, tends to be divisive. He inspires either total adoration — especially in the actors he repeatedly casts in his work, like Laura Dern — or complete confusion.

But his approach is like no one else’s, full of saturated colors and odd angles juxtaposed with sharp emotional climaxes, and never at the moment you might expect. One of the best descriptions of Lynch’s aesthetic came from the man himself, when he made a surprise appearance at the January 2017 Television Critics Association press tour for Twin Peaks. “I only wanted to be a painter,” Lynch said, “and I got into film because I wanted to make paintings move, and one thing led to another…”

Lynch is also notoriously reclusive. When David Foster Wallace wrote a profile of the director on the set of Lost Highway in 1996, for example, he never even got to meet the guy. But Wallace still tried to define Lynch’s sensibility, or what makes a film “Lynchian.” After struggling to piece together an accounting of how the “macabre” meets “mundane,” Wallace basically threw up his hands and admitted that the paradox of Lynch’s filmmaking is that it’s purposely indefinable — but also immediately recognizable:

You get the idea. Or maybe you don’t! Either way, that’s kinda the point.

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