David Lynch's Cinematic Language

David Lynch is an American filmmaker, painter, visual artist, and writer. A recipient of an Academy Honorary Award in 2019, Lynch has received three Academy Award nominations for Best Director, and the César Award for Best Foreign Film twice, as well as the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and a Golden Lion award for lifetime achievement at the Venice Film Festival.

By Balthazar Malevolent

David Lynch's Cinematic Language

David Lynch is an American film director, screenwriter, artist, musician, photographer and actor. He is a representative of American independent cinema. He has won the Palme d'Or (1990) and the Director's Prize (2001) at the Cannes Film Festival as well as the Golden Lion for his contribution to cinema (2006) and an Honorary Academy Award for outstanding contribution to cinema (2019). Lynch is the Legion of Honour officer (2007). British newspaper The Guardian called him the most important filmmaker of the current era. AllMovie has named him the Renaissance Man of modern American cinema and the success of his films has earned him the title of the First Pop-Surrealist.

Analyses of Lynch's films are often referred to by followers of Freud and Lacan, who see in them a demonstration of compulsive repetition: the inevitable return of the psychotrauma caused by the first scene. The characters in Lynch's films often refuse to accept the painful truth about themselves, but their displaced consciousness invariably returns to their lives in even more bizarre and frightening forms. The director's style is characterised by films filled with vivid details of a surrealist, psychedelic or mystical nature. This lineage goes back to the experimental short films of Maya Deren. Lynch himself avoids giving any interpretation of his films, saying that cinema is a special experience which one has to go through, preferably on a big screen, but which cannot be retold in words.

It is believed that certain shots, perspectives and mise-en-scenes in David Lynch's films are directly or indirectly borrowed from pictorial works, and that the pictorial element is part of the content of his works. Images from the director's films find direct parallels in the works of Francis Bacon, Diego Velasquez, Claude Monet, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, René Magritte and Edward Hopper. The pictorial system remains a fundamental element of David Lynch's films, defining the content of the film and the specificity of its cinematic language.

Pictorial thinking can be considered one of the essential features of David Lynch's cinematic works. The proximity of Lynch's films to baroque painting is an interesting circumstance. A baroque spirit is inherent in Lynch's films which affects not only the structure of the shot but the character of Lynch's films as a whole. The baroque system of Lynch films can be supported and demonstrated in two main ways. The first is the literal resemblance or quotation of famous Baroque works. The second is the use of Baroque pictorial principles: excessiveness, redundancy, a mismatch between the effort and the result achieved.

David Lynch
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