Staff Review/ David Lynch – The Marriage of Picture and Sound

Cornerhouse Digital Reporter Paul Atkinson reviews David Lynch – The Marriage of Picture and Sound…

David Lynch is not usually associated with straightforward narratives, veering towards surrealism, he is best known for titles like Eraserhead, Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive and is widely regarded as a master of his craft.  In The Marriage of Picture and Sound we are given an insight into Lynch’s motivations, inner thoughts and aspirations as he talks of his youth, beliefs and the importance of ideas in a selection of audio recordings of the man himself.  In these recordings we are privy to secrets that give insight into his way of life and how his outlook on the world is translated to the big screen.

Several of the recordings include aspects of Lynch’s childhood, namely that his mother refused to let him have colouring books.  She worried her son would grow up with a stunted imagination and fear of straying outside the lines, a decision for which he remains extremely thankful.  Instead of focusing on restrictions like financing, Lynch claims ideas are the only essential ingredient for any artwork, outweighing the need for an overarching message which comes further down the line.  The recordings often include reference to his love of art and how the idea of moving paintings led him towards the film medium.

Lynch also discusses his experience of transcendental meditation and how this positively changed his state of mind and his art.  Whether you know much about this subject or not, Lynch talks so passionately about it that you can’t help but be engaged by his evident excitement about the practise.

For any aspiring filmmaker, these recordings prove both mentally intriguing and practically useful as he discusses the uses of light and dark, the foibles of the Hollywood studio system and the imperative to retain final cut.  In one recording, the significance of sound and music to the generation of tone and mood is truly insightful.  Lynch also raises several contentious issues including film violence and the transition from film to digital, expressing excitement about the practical implications for manipulation, speed and experimentation.

The recordings are arranged in a fluid manner and you get the sense of being present at a lecture where all attending are hanging on every word of the speaker.  While you don’t have to know much about Lynch to find The Marriage of Picture and Sound engaging and thought provoking, you would likely take more from the material should you be familiar with Lynch’s back-catalogue.  Aspiring filmmakers, fans of cinema or anyone interested in the art of film and its cultural significance would be sure to enjoy Lynch’s observations and anecdotes.