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Saturday, May 10, 2008

David Lynch @ Divan Du Monde, May 5

by Jayson Harsin and Karine Lalechere
(also published at gogoparis blog)

Warning, if you are irritated by NewAge-speak, do not read on. You'll never respect David Lynch again. Those who had never read an interview with Lynch before learned how deeply (some would say "cornily") New Age he indeed is.

The gifted oddball Lynch made a special appearance at the hip little Pigalle club Divan Du Monde Monday May 5. As an upstanding "nightlife journalist" for and your beloved Parisnormale, I was on the elite list of bratty invitees.

Lynch's autobiography, MON HISTOIRE VRAIE, les Editions Sonatine, translated by Nicolas Richard, hit the French bookstores this week, and the evening focused on the book's promotion.

First, the audience and Lynch were treated to an orchestral treatment of the Twin Peaks series music, conducted by Jean-Philippe Audin. The music then became a kind of spoken-word accompaniment to Lynch's Q&A session (giving the event a bit of a beat poetry slam flavor).

Then Lynch basked in the Parisian adoration, his graying pate practically pompadoured, his deep black suit and bright white shirt giving him a vaguely clerical aura in conjunction with his animated gestures.

He took questions from the small crowd of invitees, touching on transcendental meditation, creativity, his preferred artistic medium, the meanings of his films, the concept of plot, and internet rumors.

Apparently his new book has a lot to say about his appreciation for and practice of transcendental meditation, which he said he practices twice a day. According to Lynch, TM is "a way to get rid of all the 'negative' to 'expand your bowl of consciousness.' Ideas are 'bubbling' deep inside us. Meditation helps them to come up to the surface. You don't make ideas, you catch them, like fish, and the bigger are the deeper."

Someone asks, “Doesn't getting rid of the negativity kill the creativity?"

DL laughs: "That's a good question and a very French question, because here the myth of the 'artiste maudit' in his attic is very strong. But it's just a trick to attract the girls who will come in the attic to cook meals for the poor guy and maybe spend the night with him to comfort him. But bad feelings, negative feelings do not help to create. On the contrary, meditation makes space inside you for ideas to develop."

An odd question follows: "Do you need to be dead to film a death scene?"

Lynch's response: "No, and in the same way,you don't have to suffer to film sufferings."

Thankfully that mystery is finally solved.

One of the most predictable but necessary questions followed: on the meaning of his films.

Lynch insists that his films do have a meaning. They "grow from ideas." Though sometimes he doesn't know what they mean straight away, he waits and the meanings come. However, all interpretations are valid to him.

Some people leave the movie theater, saying they don't have a clue about his film, and then they go and have a drink with friends, and everybody has his own version of the film. “Then suddenly the guy who didn't have a clue says ,’No, that's something else and he realizes he's got his interpretation too.’”

About the "plot"…

“Some people in Hollywood make recipes, but when there is a rule there are always some people who want to break it.”

"I am one of them," Lynch proudly proclaims.

DL is a very multidisciplinary artist (music, painting, film...). Which medium does he prefer? Someone asks.

"They're all very deep really. Some people like to say that this or that form of art is finished, but there are always some people who come with new ideas." He wonders if maybe cinema is more interesting to him because it combines different arts.

The questions turn to coffee, and one sees a glimmer of his marvelous Twin Peaks character agent "Coop" Cooper, connoisseur of diner coffee.

"Is it true you created a brand of coffee 'David Lynch's signature cup'?"

DL:"Yes, and it's great stuff." He said he blind-tested a lot of brands, and his own is always the one he prefers

Finally, someone asks about an internet rumor: Is a new Twin Peaks coming out?

"Totally false."

That was all he had time for. When meditation calls...

Video of Book-signing, audience reactions, excerpts of Lynch's answers :

--Thanks to Karine Lalechere for photos and help with notes on Lynch's answers
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