David Lynch’ name has been the hottest it’s been in years of late, with the forthcoming Twin Peaks revival set to honor one generation of fans and introduce another to the weird, hallucinatory world of one of the most distinctive American auteurs. But then, the anticipation has been running high for a while now; while Lynch has been prolific in other corners of the art world, directing a number of short-form features and music videos in addition to his own musical endeavors, he hasn’t made a feature-length film in 11 years, the last one being his divisive, proto-digital Inland Empire in 2006.
What’s been clear for a while has now been made crystalline by Lynch: it’s unlikely that we’ll see another proper movie from the director. In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald about Twin Peaks in advance of its May 21st premiere, Lynch touched on why he fell out of filmmaking after Inland Empire: “Things changed a lot. So many films were not doing well at the box office even though they might have been great films and the things that were doing well at the box office weren’t the things that I would want to do.”
Given that Lynch’s last attempt to dabble in the big-budget mainstream resulted in the troubled, tepidly received Dune, it stands to reason that he’d be gunshy. However, as the article continues, it lead to a wave of clarity for Lynch: “He is uncertain at first, but then appears to make up his mind: he has indeed made his last feature film. That’s a yes? ‘Yes it is,’ he says.” It’s not exactly a secret at this point that Lynch ultimately found himself disillusioned with the regimented processes of Hollywood studios, but it’s nevertheless an upsetting reminder that cinema might well have lost one of its most singular artists, even as virtually every other medium has gained one.
The whole of the interview is worth reading for Lynch’s (tight-lipped) thoughts on Twin Peaks and more, particularly his perspective on modern marketing’s effects on artistic mystique: “Completely ruins it. People want to know up until the time they know, then they don’t care. So, speaking for myself, I don’t want to know anything before I see something. I want to experience it without any purification, pure; [I want to] go into a world and let it happen.”
On the 21st, he’ll allow audiences to do just that on TV, but alas, it’s unlikely it’ll be happening in theaters anytime soon.