Film Review

Lynch/Oz

todayApril 13, 2023 238

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By – Gareth Jones

For fans of David Lynch, The Wizard of Oz, film history, directors talking about other directors

Lynch/ Oz makes a very strong case that not only is The Wizard of Oz the most influential film for David Lynch but in many ways is even more influential than Citizen Kane for all of film history. I often introduce Citizen Kane to my students when I teach it with the caveat that it may not be the best film ever made, but it is the most influential.  I am rethinking this after viewing this fascinating documentary from Swiss director Alexandre O. Philippe. He has made a career out of deeply insightful investigations of films including Memory: The Origins of Alien, 78/52:Hitchcock’s Shower Scene and Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on the Exorcist.  In all cases, he looks for connections behind the art, between history, philosophy, and reality.  These documentaries serve as wonderful companion pieces to their subject matter, enhancing your appreciation while giving you new understanding. 

In this film, Philippe divides the film into chapters with interviews with both contemporary directors like John Waters (my favorite chapter) and modern directors like Karyn Kusama, David Lowry, and the duo of Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead.  All of them are great admirers of Lynch but they also interweave their own relationship with The Wizard of Oz and the picture of how this film connects to all of us.  You also realize immediately how every Lynch film has an element of The Wizard of Oz. This is comforting and disturbing simultaneously as it dawns on you how obvious this has been.  Lynch is known for not explaining his films when asked but he is also know for being a blunt mid-westerner who grew up in Idaho and Montana.  After viewing this documentary, I immediately wanted to watch all of Lynch’s films again.  This film does a magnificent job of not only reminding us of his obsessions, but also his brilliance as an artist.  I recommend some meditation, a cup of strong coffee, and an open mind when you watch Lynch/Oz as it asks you to think about your own relationship with the filmmaker and with the influence of The Wizard of Oz on your life.

 

Not available to stream yet so keep an eye out to see if it will be playing at your theatre or if you are in Birmingham, at the Sidewalk Cinema.

Written by: Gareth Jones

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