The most talked-about filmmaker of the spring of 2022 is a 76-year-old director who hasn’t made a new movie since 2006 and may very well never release a new film ever again.
But for some reason, David Lynch is everywhere this spring, at the forefront of both movie news and Film Twitter argument.
The Inland Empire Restoration
Inland Empire, released in 2006 and the director’s last feature film to date, is probably Lynch’s weirdest and most experimental feature, and that’s saying something. It didn’t get much of a theatrical release but has retained cult status, and soon, we’ll be getting another look at it.
Janus Films has “remastered” Inland Empire, in 4K, and it opened in New York in early April, with a “national rollout” to follow.
That Cannes “Movie”
This might be the weirdest one of all. Lynch hasn’t made a full-length movie since Inland Empire, and his last long-form project was 2017’s Twin Peaks: The Return. He’s directed nothing since, unless you count What Did Jack Do?, the amusing short film featuring Lynch interviewing a monkey, which debuted on Netflix in early 2020. A Lynch TV show, called Wisteria, was allegedly in the works at Netflix, but that appeared to peter out at some point.
But suddenly, in March, Variety reported that according to “two well-informed sources,” Lynch would be debuting a new film this May at the Cannes Film Festival. The untitled film, “completely off the radar” up to that point, would star Laura Dern as well as “some other Lynch regulars.”
This got the Lynch fandom excited until the director denied it a few days later in an Entertainment Weekly interview.
“I have no new film coming out. That’s a total rumor. So there you are. It is not happening. I don’t have a project. I have nothing at Cannes,” Lynch said in the interview. Then, when the Cannes lineup was unveiled, it did not include a new Lynch film.
But there will be a Lynch-related film at a film festival in the coming months ― just not one he directed himself. That would be Lynch/Oz, a documentary by Alexandre O. Philippe about a very specific subject: The influence of The Wizard of Oz on Lynch’s work. In the film, which debuts in June at the Tribeca Film Festival, the topic will be explored by six filmmakers and critics, among them Karyn Kusama, John Waters, and Amy Nicholson.
A $500 million TM institute
Also this week, Lynch announced the launch of the $500 Million Transcendental Meditation World Peace Initiative. A longtime practitioner of TM, Lynch is establishing the initiative to train 30,000 college students to practice the discipline. You may be wondering how Lynch could afford $500 million for such a thing, and not a small fraction of that to make another movie, but presumably, it’s not all coming out of his pocket.
A New Dune?
The biggest flop of Lynch’s career was his version of Dune is his 1984 adaptation of Dune, which was long considered an unadaptable novel, although Denis Villeneuve’s version of the first half of the novel last year appeared to crack the Dune code in a way that no previous project had. In an interview this week, Lynch said he’s interested in making a director’s cut of his version.
David Lynch is an idiosyncratic man who makes idiosyncratic films, so it’s perhaps not surprising that he also has idiosyncratic politics. He has praised Ronald Reagan and said that he voted for Bernie Sanders. He has supported the Black Lives Matter movement, and at one point went viral for a quote that appeared to praise Donald Trump, from which he later distanced himself.
Lynch doesn’t appear to be someone who binge-watches MSNBC or Fox News, or thinks much about politics at all, nor has any of his work been made with any type of explicit political agenda. But the director’s political views became a surprisingly Film Twitter topic this month. Namely, due to this tweet:
A major part of Lynch’s work has always been to present images of classical Americana ― small towns, apple pie, diners, homecoming queens, innocent Hollywood dreams, and a lot more ― and to explore the hidden darkness beneath all of them.
That’s what Blue Velvet is about, and Mulholland Drive, and (most of all) Twin Peaks. And that is many things, but it’s absolutely not a full-on belief in conservatism.
Also this year: You’ll get to see David Lynch, in an acting role, in Steven Spielberg’s The Fablemans.