David Lynch Decoded * Mark Allyn Stewart (2007)

I am not in the habbit of reading the many books explaining the work of David Lynch, but somehow the description (and price) of this one caught my attention. Fortunately the title of this little book is slightly pretentious. The writer not so much unravels the work of Lynch, but rather points towards themes, Leitmotiven and especially: symbolism. Throughout the entirity of the work I must add by the way. Stewart discusses all Lynch’s major films (including “Dune” and “The Straight Story”) and discusses different scenes to explain how Lynch uses certain themes all the time and how he shows the viewers what is going on. Stewart does not explain the stories of each film, but he has some interesting ideas about some of them. Contrarily, like I said, the writer investigates the films to show how Lynch’s works point towards things, returning themes so to say. Two things I must add here. First: Stewart takes it that the readers of his book are very familiar with the works of Lynch. Do not expect him to describe a scene to make you remember when “Henry in Eraserhead did this and that”. Another aspect of Stewarts assumption about his readers is that this book is one big “spoiler”. In the first lines of his text about “Twin Peaks”, Stewart reveals who killed Laura Palmer. Therefor This booklet is not an introduction to Lynch; do not read it when you have not seen all of Lynch’s work at least a dozen of times. For the seasoned Lynch-fans there is plenty here. Stewart makes connections between films, points to details I have missed and his theories are quite plausible. In the process he sometimes gives an interpretation of certain storylines which makes me have to think over the film and the cross-referring makes the films come to life while reading. To give you an idea what we are talking about: the colour blue points to a secret, electricity to the ‘other world’, a blown-out white screen to heaven; Stewart talks about duality/doubling and passways to ‘the other world’. These kind of elements can be seen in each film and Lynch uses them to give hints to his viewers. Stewart has found a lot of them and with his examples he shows how they work. The book makes a nice read and makes we want to start viewing the films again to see if it gives me clues about each individual work. Not badly done!

2007 AuthorHouse, ISBN 1434349853

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