David Lynch is one of the most distinctive voices in the history of the cinematic art form. But he’s not going to make any more of them.
The director of the celebrated surrealist classics Eraserhead, Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive returns to television this month with a long, long, LONG-awaited follow-up to his influential early 1990s series Twin Peaks. But David Lynch, 71, told the Sydney Morning Herald that the film industry has evolved away from him.
“Things changed a lot,“ David Lynch told the publication. “So many films were not doing well at the box office even though they might have been great films and the things that were doing well at the box office weren’t the things that I would want to do.”
When asked to confirm whether Inland Empire, the filmmaker’s most recent feature film, released in 2006, will be his last, he confirmed: “Yes it is.”
David Lynch broke into filmmaking with his dreamlike, morbid, experimental psychodrama Eraserhead in 1977. The film, about an isolated man left to care for his disfigured baby in a nightmarish apartment, quickly became a cult hit. Stanely Kubrick (2001: A Space Odyssey) called it his favorite film. And somewhat surprisingly, Lynch was able to parlay that midnight movie success into a career that successfully balanced mainstream success with audacious artistry. His follow-up was the disturbing and humane drama The Elephant Man, which earned eight Academy Awards nominations and successfully married Lynch’s ethereal aesthetic to an accessible storyline.
The filmmaker’s career would go through a series of highs and lows (his ambitious production of Dune remains a legendary cautionary tale in Hollywood), but throughout the majority of his work he has exposed uncomfortable truths about American culture, embracing and subverting key cultural iconography and changing the way filmmakers and audiences interpret the portrayal of Americana imagery.
David Lynch may be done making movies, but he’s not done making art. His revival of Twin Peaks debuts on Showtime on May 21, 2017. He is also an accomplished painter and musician. We haven’t seen the last of David Lynch.
But it appears that, unless we are very lucky, we have seen the last of his movies.
Top Photo: Glenn Hunt/Getty Images
William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on The B-Movies Podcast and Canceled Too Soon, and watch him on the weekly YouTube series What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.