Brow Beat

Watch A Lyrical Video Essay on David Lynch

Still from David Lynch In Four Movements

Left: Rebekah Del Rio in Mulholland Dr. Center: Julee Cruise in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. Right: Isabella Rossellini in Blue Velvet.

Still from “David Lynch In Four Movements: A Tribute”  by Richard Vezina.

David Lynch’s movies aren’t easily explicated. After trekking through Mulholland Dr. shot by shot over 12 hours with some 1,000 students, even Roger Ebert gave up on that one. For this reason his work is perhaps best explored through something like Richard Vezina’s new video essay, “David Lynch in Four Movements,” embedded below.

While you could spend hours attempting to puzzle out the plot mechanics of Mulholland Dr., Lynch’s substance more often comes through style, mood, and motifs—and those are the aspects Vezina highlights here. Over twenty minutes, Vezina collects and juxtaposes several of Lynch’s most powerful recurring images—maternal faces staring kindly at the viewer, cameras diving into hidden cavities, headlights prowling down deserted night highways, bare flickering lightbulbs, clownish spooks, and the kind of loungey musical performances I explored in a previous post for Slate—letting viewers run their own analyses.

It’s a little artsy, perhaps—the title, “In Four Movements,” tells us Vezina is aiming for something symphonic—and, as with all Lynch’s work, inscrutability doesn’t always conceal hidden depths. But each segment also doubles as a pretty killer music video. I should lastly warn that it’s slightly NSFW—it seems that female frontal nudity is just one more of Lynch’s motifs.