David Lynch on the iPhone

David Lynch on the iPhone

One of film's greatest minds checks in on new tech

I don't want to imagine the world of cinema without David Lynch in it. Not only has he made some of the most iconic and simultaneously enigmatic feature films in the history of the medium, he's populated the scene with quite a personality. His playful strangeness is always a delight; he knows how to play to the media. Anyone who's wondered who exactly could make such a film as Eraserhead ought to be pleasantly surprised upon viewing interviews with the director. He's not the dark, brooding type. He's got an ineffable sense of humor, like the whole world's a game to him, like he's only putting out these thickly surreal and disturbing films to toy with us. Maybe that's even the case. Even if it is, I'm loving the game. 

But despite his public shenanigans, there's plenty to point to the fact that Lynch as a director and an artist cares deeply about the medium in which he works. He takes film very seriously and believes in the power of the film experience. Take, for example, this clip below, where he disparages the trend of watching movies on ultraportable devices like cell phones. A 3 by 5 inch screen is no art house, and Lynch goes so far as to argue that movies are in fact unwatchable on smartphone screens. Or watchable, but artistically incomprehensible. The experience of the film can't be shrunk to that resolution. The movie screen is supposed to hold you in its palm, not the other way around. Video playback capabilities on phones might be great for checking out music videos on the go, but they're not how you ought to take in quality cinema. The tiny screen will never have the same power as a theater. Lynch knows the power of the movie theater all too well as one of its prime wielders. I first saw Eraserhead on the big screen at a small art house theater in Cambridge. By the time I walked out, I had forgotten what colors were. That's how immersed I was; Lynch's black-and-white movie had made me forget that the real world had such a thing as color. Powerful stuff indeed. 

The video contains NSFW language. It also contains words like "telephone" and "trillion", made hilarious by Lynch's incredulous exasperation at the iPhone trend. It's only thirty seconds long but it contains a thousand times more swag than whatever the kids are watching at the multiplex now. I just want a YouTube channel devoted exclusively to David Lynch getting mad at things.