On directing > Intuition / Sense / Absurdity | David Lynch

Intuition / Sense / Absurdity | David Lynch

David Lynch on set of The Elephant Man (1980)

“Stories hold conflict and contrast, highs and lows, life and death, and the human struggle and all kinds of things.”

“Intuition is the key to everything, in painting, filmmaking, business – everything. I think you could have an intellectual ability, but if you can sharpen your intuition, which they say is emotion and intellect joining together, then a knowingness occurs.”

“It makes me uncomfortable to talk about meanings and things. It’s better not to know so much about what things mean. Because the meaning, it’s a very personal thing, and the meaning for me is different than the meaning for somebody else.”


David Lynch and Jack Nance on the set of Eraserhead, 1977

“To me, a story can be both concrete and abstract, or a concrete story can hold
abstractions. And abstractions are things that really can’t be said so well with words.”

“I don’t think that people accept the fact that life doesn’t make sense. I think it makes people terribly
uncomfortable. It seems like religion and myth were invented against that, trying to make sense out of it.”

“I don’t remember my dreams too much. I hardly have ever gotten ideas from nighttime dreams.
But I love daydreaming and dream logic and the way dreams go.”

“Life is very, very complicated, and so films should be allowed to be, too.”

“If you stay true to your ideas, film-making becomes an inside-out, honest kind of process.”


Blue Velvet (1986) / David Lynch – Isabella Rossellini

“To make the script, you need ideas, and for me a lot of times, a final script
is made up of many fragments of ideas that came at different times.”

“I think that ideas exist outside of ourselves. I think somewhere, we’re all connected
off in some very abstract land. But somewhere between there and here ideas exist.”

“The ideas dictate everything, you have to be true to that or you’re dead.”

“Life should be blissful, and blissful doesn’t mean just a small happiness. It’s huge. It is profound.’

“Francis Bacon is one of my giant inspirations. I just love him to pieces.”


Richard Beymer’s behind the scenes photos of the last Twin Peaks episode11

“Somewhere in talking and rehearsing, there is a magical moment where actors catch a current, they’re on the right road. If they really catch it, then whatever they do from then on is correct and it all comes out of them from that point on.”

“In Hollywood, more often than not, they’re making more kind of traditional films, stories that are understood by people. And the entire story is understood. And they become worried if even for one small moment something happens that is not understood by everyone.”

“If we didn’t want to upset anyone, we would make films about sewing, but even that could be dangerous. But I think finally, in a film, it is how the balance is and the feelings are. But I think there has to be those contrasts and strong things within a film for the total experience.”


David Lynch, Mulholland Dr., 2001

“Music as background to me becomes like a mosquito, an insect. In the studio we have big speakers,
and to me that’s the way music should be listened to. When I listen to music, I want to just listen to music.”

“Music deals with time and timing. It’s so magical, but when you get into it, every little sound and every little space between the sounds, it’s critical, so critical. And if it’s not there, it not only feels wrong, but it ruins things.”

“Sometimes I get ideas for lyrics in anyplace, but I work a lot in the studio. So I collect
little bits of lyrics. I go through the box of lyrics I have and see if something fits.”

“A lot of painters listen to music, I think, while they paint. But I hate to do that. It’s a horror. I can’t really
listen to the music. I’m not really concentrating on it, and I’m not really concentrating on the painting.”

“I love paint. I like watercolours. I like acrylic paint… a little bit. I like house paint. I like oil-based paint,
and I love oil paint. I love the smell of turpentine and I like that world of oil paint very, very, very much.”

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Joan Chen and David Lynch on the set of Twin Peaks, 1990-1991

“There are only 24 hours in a day, and my top priority is working on my films, but I love short film experiments.”

“Some things we forget. But many things we remember on the mental screen, which is the biggest screen of all.”

“The concept of absurdity is something I’m attracted to.”

“Sex is a doorway to something so powerful and mystical, but movies usually depict it in a completely flat way.”

“Humor is very interesting to me. My films are not comedies, but there’s comedy in them from time to time, absurdities, just like in real life.”

“I like things to be orderly.”

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David Lynch with his father, 1949

“The greatest thing my father left me was a love for cutting wood – my love for sawing, especially pine wood.”

“Building a set is like building a place, but it’s a temporary place, because sets usually get torn down. Kind of unfortunate.”

“As a kid, I was always building things. My father had a shop in the house, and we built things – we were kind of a project family. I started out as a painter, and then painting led to cinema, and in cinema, you get to build so many things, or help build them.”

“See, a painting is much cheaper than making a film. And photography is, you know, way cheap. So if I get an idea for a film, there are many ways to get it together and go realise that film. There’s really nothing to be afraid of.”

“You get a painting idea, and you go do that. You get a cinema idea, and you go in to do that. The difference is, even though the paintings might take some time to make, with cinema you are booked for a year and a half, minimum.”


David Lynch and Isabella Rossellini, 1988

“More and more people are seeing the films on computers – lousy sound, lousy picture – and they think they’ve seen the film, but they really haven’t.”

“The cinema is really built for the big screen and big sound, so that a person can go into another world and have an experience.”

“What I really like is to be at home, working.”

“I didn’t watch much TV as a kid and I don’ t watch it now. I don’ t find anything beautiful or unique to the medium, and the only thing you can do on TV that you can’t do in film is make a continuing story – which is so cool!”

“Everyone is on the internet but they’re not all talking with each other. There are groups upon groups out there, but they don’t talk to one another. So while the internet brings everyone into a shared space, it does not necessarily bring them together.”


David Lynch and Patricia Arquette on the set of Lost Highway, photographed by Susan Meiselas, 1997

“I believe in creative control. No matter what anyone makes, they should have control over it.”

“You’re right on the money with that. We’re all like detectives in life.
There’s something at the end of the trail that we’re all looking for.”

“I don’t like Thomas Edison. I’m a fan of Nicolai Tesla.”

“I discovered that if one looks a little closer at this beautiful world, there are always red ants underneath.”

 David Lynch

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