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David Lynch explains what 'New Wave' is

My cow is not pretty, but it is pretty to me.” – David Lynch

Multi-talented American filmmaker David Lynch, who is also a painter, musician, sound designer, actor, singer and photographer, is revered for his brilliant films such as EraserheadThe Elephant ManBlue VelvetMulholland Drive as well as his cult classic television series Twin Peaks. His work is critically acclaimed, with Lynch being labelled as the “first popular surrealist” and collecting a cult following in the process. In 2007, a panel of critics assembled by The Guardian concluded that Lynch is “the most important film-maker of the current era” and cemented his place in the annals of cinematic history.

Apart from spearheading several experimental films which have become iconic in later years, Lynch is also a passionate music aficionado and has worked as a musician himself. Before the unprecedented success of his cult-classic TV show Twin Peaks, he even directed an avant-garde musical play called Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Broken Hearted. More than 30 years ago, he was asked about the definition of New Wave art and this is what David Lynch answered.

The acclaimed filmmaker said, “It’s a truck going down the highway at 70 miles an hour and in the back of the truck there are a hundred smiling cows. Except one of them has its head stuck through the floor of the truck and its nose is grinding on the highway. That smell and that scream: that’s New Wave.”

This was Lynch’s characteristic way of defining an art movement in his unique descriptive way. The band that’s playing in the background is appropriately called the Irritators, introducing us to their New Wave music which is just how Lynch described it.

Although most popular new wave bands like Talking Heads and Blondie never really assaulted the listener like the smell and the scream of a cow grinding its nose on the asphalt, Lynch certainly captured his own artistic sensibility quite poetically.

Watch the clip, below.