Documentary Film: David Lynch: The Art Life

07/19/2017, 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM

$9/$5 Brooks members and students with valid id/Free with VIP Film Pass. map


This close look at the American director, screenwriter, producer, painter, musician and photographer’s art, music, and early films, shines a light into the dark corners of his unique world and gives audiences a better understanding of the man and the artist. We’re invited in and given private views from Lynch’s compound and painting studio in the hills high above Hollywood, as he tells personal stories that unfold like scenes from his films. Strange characters come into focus only to fade again into the past, all leaving an indelible mark. We become witness to the fears, misunderstandings and struggles that Lynch overcomes, and along the way meet the various people that have helped to mold him. It became evident early in Lynch’s life that he views the world differently, absorbing its shadows and weaving a dream-like tapestry for audiences worldwide to become tangled in.

The film, which serves as a personal memoir from Lynch to his youngest daughter, was culled from more than 20 interviews conducted over a four-year period, with Lynch at his home. Through these conversations, the iconic creator of Eraserhead, Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks and director of Mulholland Drive and The Elephant Man discusses the formative years of his life and retells personal stories from his past including key events and inspirations.

As Lynch himself says, “I think every time you do something, like a painting or whatever, you go with ideas, and sometimes the past can conjure those ideas and color them. Even if they’re new ideas, the past colors them.”

Says A.V. Club critic Sean O’Neal, “lots and little of David Lynch are on view in The Art Life. For the filmmaker behind enigmatic masterworks, ambiguity tantalizes in a way linear storytelling never could. That vagueness typically extends to Lynch himself, whose reserve in interviews matches the elusiveness of his movies, which so often proves frustrating to anyone digging for some tidy, armchair psychologist’s interpretation of the Freudian nightmares in his work. Lynch usually demurs that he’s just a vessel for his many unsettling creations, comparing their genesis to catching fish or putting together puzzles whose pieces have been flipped over one by one for him—presenting himself as merely the interpreter of notions received from some mystical source, and all but removing himself from the process.”

Directors: Jon Nguyen, Olivia Neergaard-Holm & Rick Barnes | USA | 2017 | 90 minutes

$9/$5 Brooks members and students with valid ID/Free with VIP Film Pass.


Tickets are available online until 2:30 pm the day of the screening or 2:30 pm on Friday for weekend matinees. Tickets are also available at Visitor Services, or by calling 901.544.6208 during regular business hours. Unsold tickets are also available in the rotunda immediately preceding a screening.