13 November 2015

Fear of language

David Lynch projects a kind of 1950s niceness that people often assume must be fake. The biography he offers the press says simply “Eagle Scout, Missoula, Montana.” He diligently refuses to explain his works, and the movies themselves seem to try to avoid language.

The movie director who had the most in common with Lynch was Stanley Kubrick. Like Lynch, Kubrick was obsessed with attempting to tell his stories visually, with a minimum of expository dialog (which is why “2001: A Space Odyssey” only has around 40 minutes of dialog in a 140 minute movie). This makes sense if you consider that Kubrick started out as a photographer.

Also like Lynch, Kubrick refused to enter into complicated explanations of what his work meant. Like Lynch, his movies proceed at a naturalistic pace that can bore inattentive viewers. And he viewed language as a source of alienation.

Unsurprisingly, Lynch loves Kubrick’s movies, and Kubrick screened “Eraserhead” to the cast and crew of “The Shining” to get them in the right mood.

© mathew 2017