The late writer David Foster Wallace defined the word “Lynchian” as referring to “a particular kind of irony where the very macabre and the very mundane combine in such a way as to reveal the former’s perpetual containment within the latter”. And this seems a pretty accurate description of my morning at Lynch’s house.
No, the door wasn’t answered by a backwards-talking dwarf; there was no severed ear on the lawn. And we are not here to talk about films, or the lack thereof. Lynch hasn’t directed a movie since 2006’s Inland Empire. A tricksy three-hour epic, it followed two other narratively challenging, dream-state movies, Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive. That triptych, bookending a career that began with 1977’s monochrome horror film Eraserhead, set the seal on Lynch’s reputation as a bafflingly obtuse, somewhat perverse film-maker. Having said that, he’s unfailingly polite, rarely swears, and is beloved by those who work for him. (On realising that Eraserhead might be a hit, he quickly had the cast and crew’s contracts rewritten so they’d get a share of the profits for as long as they lived.) In fact, film criticism aside, the harshest thing anybody has had to say about him was when ex-girlfriend Isabella Rossellini blamed their painful break-up on Lynch’s unreasonable hatred of “cooking smells” in the house.
David Lynch: mild at heart