In Lynch/Oz, documentarian Alexandre O. Philippe takes us through David Lynch’s filmography and draws parallels between Lynch’s work and his obsession with The Wizard of Oz.
Name a more singular filmmaker than David Lynch, I dare you. The cult director has provided us with surreal, abstract and mind boggling films throughout his career, but he might also just be the biggest cinephile himself.
The new documentary, Lynch/Oz, highlights this. Lynch has been known to love The Wizard of Oz and now, documentarian Alexandre O. Philippe shows just how much Lynch was inspired and influenced by the 1934 classic.
Lynch/Oz is divided into six distinct chapters; Wind, Membrane, Kindred, Multitudes, Judy and Dig. All chapters are narrated by well-known cinephiles, such as John Waters, critic Amy Nicholson, directors Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead to name a few. They all clearly love Lynch as well as The Wizard of Oz.
Philippe has a long history of examining, interrogating and admiring cinematic history. His previous credits include Memory: The Origins of Alien and Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on the Exorcist. He clearly loves cinema and especially the people who create it and he approaches all his subjects with genuine curiosity and respect.
The Wizard of Oz is positioned here as a remarkable, important part of film history, which not only inspired Lynch, but countless other filmmakers. It’s almost like Oz is the purest form of cinema. Lynch/Oz dissects Lynch’s filmography in great detail, something Lynch fans will surely revel at.
But this isn’t a film just for David Lynch fans, but for all cinephiles. It’s a fascinating deep-dive into the mind of a masterful filmmaker; Phillippe and his contributors try to unravel the mysteries of Lynch’s mind and it makes for a compelling, if somewhat heavy, watch.
It’s sometimes a little far-fetched; not everything is quite a s streamlined as Philippe suggests, but for the most part, Lynch/Oz offers an interesting reading of Lynch’s work as a whole as well as film history. Twin Peaks: The Return is featured perhaps the most as is Wild at Heart, but it’s probably Mulholland Drive that proves to be the juiciest example of Lynch’s inspirations.
Lynch/Oz does slightly suffer from the lack of David Lynch’s own voice. Without him, it all comes across as speculation. But Lynch has always been very secretive about any meaning behind his work; he’s a filmmaker partly defined by his ambiguity. Lynch/Oz is also somewhat fragmented, lacking direction in how and why it examines the elements it examines.
This is still a vital, essential viewing for anyone interested in Lynch’s filmography or just fascinated by how a creative mind works, how we’re influenced by what we love. It’s also the perfect example of postmodernism; everything has already been done and we’re all just creating carbon copies of the same things. At the heart of Lynch/Oz is a deep love of the auteur’s work from Philippe and his contributors. This genuine fascination is what makes Lynch/Oz exciting and so compelling.
Lynch/Oz is in cinemas and available on digital platforms 2 December.