The worlds that David Lynch creates are as visionary and immersive as any in cinema, and part of their allure lies in the fiercely maintained elusiveness of the man behind the camera. Jon Nguyen, Rick Barnes, and Olivia Neergaard-Holm’s documentary David Lynch: The Art Life, now playing at New York’s IFC Center, lifts the curtain on this iconoclast, offering a rare glimpse at his private life and the creative process that has shaped his art, music, and early films. Take a look at what critics are saying:
- For Vogue, Julia Felsenthal writes that the documentary serves not only as Lynch’s “artistic bildungsroman” but also as “a film about fatherhood, the traumatizing birthing process that makes a child into a parent.”
- Over at Slant, Chuck Bowen delves into the film’s dark side, explaining how it illustrates “the idea that, yes, you can go home again, but at the risk of revealing your home to be built atop decay.”
- The wealth of archival material on display, including footage of Lynch as a young man, makes The Art Life “delicious watching for a fan . . . He always had that thousand-yard stare—as if looking over the top of everybody’s head—but it didn’t used to be so stylish,” writes Josephine Livingstone in the New Republic.
- Christina Newland at RogerEbert.com hails Lynch as “one of American cinema’s finest oddities” and calls the documentary “a compelling slice of cinephile inquiry.”
- At the A.V. Club, Sean O’Neal notes how the film highlights Lynch’s dedication to the life of an artist, “capturing him as a man who hates leaving his woodshed and is never happier than when left alone to his craft.”
And in this exclusive clip, Lynch recalls the joy of crafting the macabre, insular world of his first feature, Eraserhead: