Wednesday, July 22, 2009

David Lynch Now Praises Famous Men

Barry, from David Lynch's Interview Project

Allie Mae Burroughs by Walker Evans, from Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, 1936, published in 1941

If you haven't seen any of the interviews from David Lynch's 'Interview Project' then you owe it to yourself to check them out. Lee Siegel, writing for 'The Daily Beast' opines, a bit hysterically, that they are "the most affecting instances of documentary journalism since Let Us Now Praise Famous Men." For the most part the interviews are presented in a very straight forward and direct manner that is similar to that of the great Walker Evans and James Agee project. In fact, it comes as a bit of a surprise at first glance that the stories we hear are not pickled and packed in the same dramatic brine and cinematic gymnastics that you associate with David Lynch. But on second glance they are! While the subjects occupy a world more like the characters in Lynch's 1999 The Straight Story it wouldn't be difficult to imagine them playing many of the more peripheral roles in Blue Velvet or Twin Peaks. What distinguishes these lives from the lives of Lynch's fictional characters is the simple truth that these are lives that are brimmimg with a drama that is far more crushing than anything Wild at Heart or Mullholland Drive could conceive of or had to offer. They confirm Thoreau's over quoted passage that "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation...." Leave it to Lynch to find those whose lives are perhaps a wee bit quieter and a tad more desperate than most. These are lives of "regular" people who were found in the small, non coastal, pockets of America that seem to have been discarded by the general economy, culture and popular imagination some time ago. These are subjects whose dreams are deffered, unrealized, and in some cases and saddest of all, never even conceived of.

You can see the interviews at: INTERVIEW PROJECT

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