Surrealist director David Lynch looks set to embark on his first film since Inland Empire in 2006.
The visionary behind Twin Peaks and Mulholland Drive spoke to ScreenDaily at Poland’s Plus Camerimage, the international film festival of the art of cinematography.
Asked whether filmgoers should expect a new feature, Lynch said: “Something is coming up. It will happen but I don’t know exactly when.”
It would be his first feature in more than six years, during which time he has directed a handful of music videos and shorts.
Sat in Bydgoszcz’s Opera Nova building, with a glass of red wine, Lynch had earlier received a lifetime achievement award as well as the key to the city.
Before being handed the award, the 1,000-strong audience – among them Keanu Reeves and Joel Schumacher – watched a series of clips from Lynch’s 40 years of film-making.
“I couldn’t believe who made them,” he later said.
He also revelaed that although he has seen his debut feature Eraserhead “many times” over the years, it can still surprise him.
“The Japanese Blu-Ray is exquisite. It don’t know what it is but it looks beautiful. It has a quality that captures a deeper Eraserhead.”
Thinking back to 1966, he recalled “When I first made it, it took two months for the lab to make it look like I wanted it.
“It wasn’t just that I wanted it darker. I wanted it darker in a good way and they didn’t have any experience of doing that because they thought it was too strange to go that dark. But it was built for that.
“In those days, people made bright pictures and all the mood went out. Finally this lab created a print that was really exquisite.”
The transition to shooting on digital dominates conversation at Camerimage. Lynch, who was “one of the first crazy directors to go totally digital”, shooting Inland Empire with a Sony PD150, is embracing the format.
“So… There’s things called cameras and they used to run celluloid through the camera,” he explained.
“Today, the light comes through a lens and goes onto a sensor. It has these things – pixels, sensors – but for a cinematographer, it’s the same job. Lighting the thing properly and shooting it properly.
“One of the most important things is that you see what you get right away. Think how absurd it was that you shoot something today and not till tomorrow afternoon or tomorrow night do you see the dailies. Lots of bad things can happen on the way to the lab – in the bath at the lab, in the emulsion, whatever.
“My first cinematographer on Eraserhead, Herb Cardwell, said there should never be any surprises in the dailies. For him, that’s a true statement. But now you point the camera and see what you’re going to get. There’s no hair, no dirt, no scratches. It’s so beautiful. And there are so many tools to manipulate it later.
“It’s a brand new, beautiful ball game in cinematography – and it’s here to stay.”
Speaking about the sometimes surreal nature of his films, Lynch added that it was important to fuse story with the abstract.
“I love stories but stories can hold abstractions and those are the kind of stories I like,” he said.
“If a film is just totally abstract, people will leave the theatre so I like stories that hold abstractions but are still stories. There are many different types of cinema and there’s room for all.
“The language of cinema can say abstract things. It can say things with sound and pictures that go into a viewer’s eyes and heart, and a thing is conjured that is not in a regular language – but there is a knowing, a realisation in the viewer from this language of cinema. It’s beautiful, beautiful language.”