David Lynch: "I Never Said I Wasn't Going to Make Films Anymore"

Categories: Interviews

Wow. So, if I decide to take a Transcendental Meditation class you want me to call you back and tell you how it went.


The only issue that I may have, and I'll be honest with you, is after the DUI that I mentioned, I was on trial facing ten years in prison, and I started praying. I met Jesus Christ, and I will never be the same. My life has been totally transformed. I started going to church and playing drums at this church. I began reading and believing the Bible, and in the Bible there is a lot of stuff about meditation and meditating in the Word. There is speaking in tongues, there is healing and spiritual gifts, and there is that love, joy, and peace that you mentioned. I wonder how you would say that Transcendental Meditation may or may not interfere with being a believer in the Holy Spirit.

That is a very good question. Such a beautiful question. It will be a time coming soon when all the Pentacostals, all the Evangelists, all the born-again Christians will be practicing Transcendental Meditation. Why is that? Because in the Bible it says, "First seek the Kingdom of Heaven which lies within, and all else will be added unto you." That within is the Kingdom of Heaven. That's the unified field. That is the ocean of pure consciousness. That is the eternal level. Unbounded, within every human being.

And you can experience that with this technique of Transcendental Meditation. Every time you experience it, you grow in that; life gets better and better and better. And it's not a religion to practice Transcendental Meditation; it's a technique. It is not against any religion. People from all religions practice this technique. More and more and more people these days are receptive to this. They are going for it, and they are seeing the change in their life. It is really beautiful.

The Kingdom of Heaven which lies within. And you grow in that. You unfold that. It is a thing that is going to bring the world to a beautiful place. So tell all your people, it is not a thing to be afraid of. It is a thing to embrace, and the sooner the better.

You quoted Matthew 6:33: Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.

Exactly right! That is the Kingdom.

Wow. I have one more question that I promised someone I would ask, and it is a coffee-related question.


In Lost Highway, Henry Rollins appeared in the film.


And years ago, Henry Rollins wrote a lot of poetry about drinking coffee at 7-Eleven in Los Angeles. He sang for a band called Black Flag in the '80s.


They had this great song called "Black Coffee," and it was all about the power of drinking black coffee and staring at the wall. Um, have you ever sat and had coffee with Henry Rollins, and if so, was there any kind of coffee fanatic bond between the two of you?

Well, I did work with Henry on Lost Highway, and I also saw him at an event when a great recording studio in Los Angeles closed, Cherokee Studios. And Henry is a really great intellect and musician. He is such a good guy. We might have shared some coffee together, but we didn't really comment on it. I hope we had some good coffee together. [laughter] I didn't have my David Lynch Signature Cup Coffee then. But I don't really remember sitting across from Henry drinking coffee and commenting on our mutual love for this great drink. [laughter]

It is a wonderful beverage.

It really is.

It has been around for so long, and it's totally legal and society supports its drinking. Every job I've had, you can drink coffee. There is nothing illegal about it. You can drink coffee and drive.


For me and a lot of people, it takes away the urge to backslide and do those things that you shouldn't be doing.

Exactly right. At recovery houses, they serve lots of coffee. [laughter]

I know! Well, I really look forward to receiving the David Lynch coffee and really tasting it and reviewing the potency of it...

You check it out and see what you feel. And here is another thing. I just want to leave you with this: Coffee is great, but transcending is the best thing for a human being. So I want you to go to the David Lynch Foundation website and read all about Transcendental Meditation and see what it has done for so many people. The church can give you so much good feeling and put you in that place, but nothing takes the place of that experience of the light of God. That deepest level of life. It is so sublime. Tell your church people about that and get going on that and then call me after a couple of months.

I certainly will take you up on that offer. Thank you.

Absolutely. Any problems, give me a call.

All right. Thank you so much, and have a great day. This was amazing.

OK, Jason. Take good care of yourself.

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Inland Empire possibly the best movie ever made


"INLAND EMPIRE was a complete failure" ??? I beg to differ. True, David Lynch made and marketed the film on his own terms, without big studio help and interference, and as a result it was seen by relatively few people. But artistically INLAND EMPIRE may very well be the purest distillation of Lynch's art EVER. And fortunately a LOT more people have seen it on DVD than could have possibly see it in the theater.

The first time I watched INLAND EMPIRE, there would be times during the nearly 3-hour running time that I would have to get up to go pee or grab a beer or something. So I would stop the film ... and find myself unwilling to move. Instead I would gaze up at the mysterious TV lamp casting its glow on the wall, the ominous folding doors concealing the den next to the living room ... and suddenly my comfortable home environment felt vaguely threatening.

Last night I began watching INLAND EMPIRE again, getting about halfway through the film before it was time to go to bed. Having plunged through it once already, I found myself free to simply watch rather than analyze, to simply listen to the exquisitely written dialogue rather than trying to puzzle out every nuance. And I found the film moving along a lot more quickly than the first time around.

And make no mistake: INLAND EMPIRE is a lot to digest. I'm still working on it. But after two days and some additional viewing, I find myself appreciating the film much, MUCH more. The first time I watched it, I thought to myself, "There is a story here, but it is told in extremely unconventional terms." And now I think there are several stories here that exist in a kind of orbital resonance and sharing themes of loss, guilt, and regret.

Oddly enough, spinning like a neutron star (or perhaps an old acetate record) at the core of this film is a Polish gypsy folk tale cum movie script so cursed that it has the ability to suck its actors and characters into other realities and identities, shuffling them around mercilessly, and in the process causing us, as members of the audience, to question our own grip on what is real and what is fiction.

There is the story of Nikki Grace, a veteran Hollywood actress with a chance to reclaim the limelight with the role of a lifetime. She ultimately falls victim to the aforementioned curse, losing both her identify and her marital fidelity. But how real is Nikki herself? She might in fact be nothing more than a DREAM of stardom, a fantasy concocted by a doomed Hollywood prostitute. In this regard INLAND EMPIRE shares some of the themes previously explored in David Lynch's previous film, "Mulholland Drive."

(Bill Macy, in a VERY brief appearance as a television announcer, utters what could possibly be the most telling line in the film, saying that Hollywood is "where DREAMS become STARS, and STARS become DREAMS!")

There are other stories at work here: The prostitution ring in Hollywood may parallel a similar racket in Poland. We are teased with scenes from a Polish film that ultimately went uncompleted, the same film being remade with Nikki Grace (played brilliantly by Laura Dern) and Devon Burke (Justin Theroux). There are cryptic references throughout the film to something called "axonn.n" ... which, according to the first spoken words in INLAND EMPIRE, is the longest radio play in history. And then there are the rabbits (Trapped? Caged?) used as the films most surreal device.

But to hell with all that. Ultimately what's really most important about INLAND EMPIRE is the art of filmmaking. Cinema is most often used to tell stories in the simplest, most conventional terms, just as oil paint on canvas is most often used to portray people, landscapes, and bowls of fruit. But both painting and cinema can be used in far more adventurous and experimental ways, even if such efforts are not commercially viable. I doubt that Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel made "Un Chien Andalou" in hopes that it would be a big box office smash; they were more interested in expanding the artistic potential of film, and if they challenged and confounded the viewer in the process, so much the better. And throughout the history of filmmaking there have been a great many other directors that have pushed the envelope of the medium in their own ways, whether through storytelling or visual imagery.

With INLAND EMPIRE, I think David Lynch has gone back to his roots, forsaking the interference of big studio executives and marketing his film on his terms. As everyone knows by know, he is notoriously reticent to discuss the film's "meaning." But if all he really wanted to do was blur the distinction between fantasy and reality, and in the process make his viewers become just a little unhinged ... well, I think he succeeded in spades. Few films that I can think of have crept into my mind so tenaciously. And when some reviewers dismiss INLAND EMPIRE as pretentious nonsense, all I can think of is the old curmudgeon who looks at a Jackson Pollock painting and sneers, "My four-year-old granddaughter could do better than that!"

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