From Stanley Kubrick to Federico Fellini: David Lynch lists his all-time favourite films and directors
David Lynch, often labelled as the ‘renaissance man of modern American filmmaking’, is considered by many as one of the most creative directors in cinema today. At a time when cinemas remain closed around the world, we’re turning to his wealth of knowledge to provide some film guidance.
Repeatedly pushing the boundaries with his creative imagination, Lynch’s work with films such Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive and more has seen him hone his now-iconic surrealist imagery and unconventional storytelling techniques which is admired the world over.
For Lynch, finding a relatable source of inspiration has always been a task he hasn’t taken lightly. In his youth, Lynch left the School of the Museum of Fine Arts after only a year, stating: “I was not inspired AT ALL in that place” and instead opted for a prolonged period of travelling.
At times, Lynch has even turned to music to inspire his feature films, Roy Orbison’s ‘In Dreams’ and ‘Blue Velvet’ by Bobby Vinton to name just a few. “It was the song that sparked the movie,” Lynch once said about ‘Blue Velvet’ which inspired his film of the same name. “There was something mysterious about it. It made me think about things. And the first things I thought about were lawns – lawns and the neighbourhood,” he added.
When it comes to cinema, Lynch has studied the greats of years gone by when honing his craft. His favourite directors include the likes of Stanley Kubrick, Federico Fellini, Billy Wilder, Werner Herzog and Jacques Tati who have all directly or indirectly made an impact on his life.
“I love Stanley Kubrick,” Lynch once said. “I can watch his movies over and over. I love Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard in particular, and I’ve watched it over and over. I loved the world Billy Wilder created.”
In an excerpt from Lynch’s book where he speaks about his favourite films, the director says: “If I have to choose films that represent, for me, examples of perfect film making, I think I could narrow it down to four.”
See a list of his favourite directors, below.
David Lynch’s 4 favourite directors:
Here, Lynch breaks down a selection of his all-time favourite filmmakers.
“The first would be 8½, for the way Federico Fellini manages to accomplish with film what mostly abstract painters do – namely, to communicate an emotion without ever saying or showing anything in a direct manner, without ever explaining anything, just by a sort of sheer magic. For similar reasons, I would also show Sunset Boulevard.
“Even though Billy Wilder’s style is very different from Fellini’s, he manages to accomplish pretty much the same abstract atmosphere, less by magic than through all sorts of stylistic and technical tricks. The Hollywood he describes in the film probably never existed, but he makes us believe it did, and he immerses us in it, like a dream.
“After that, I would show Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday for the amazing point of view that Jacques Tati casts at society through it. When you watch his films, you realise how much he know about – and loved – human nature, and it can only be an inspiration to do the same.
“And finally, I would show Rear Window, for the brilliant way in which Alfred Hitchcock manages to create – or rather, re-create – a whole world with in confined parameters. James Steward never leaves his wheelchair during the film, and yet, through his point of view, we follow a very complex murder scheme. In the film, Hitchcock manages to take something huge and condense it into something really small. And he achieves that through a complete control of film making technique.”
In a separate interview clip which appeared online, Lynch is asked a series of questions which include the subjects such as “whose work do you admire?” and “what movies have you watched over and over and could still watch a hundred times more?” to which Lynch addresses separately.
Remaining consistent what is written in his book, Lynch answers: “I love Fellini,” before adding: “Watched ’em over and over. If you want to see some great comedies, check out Jacques Tati’s Mr. Hulot’s Holiday. I like W.C. Fields. I like the movie It’s a Gift. I like Hitchcock, particularly Rear Window.”
“I like a lot of different filmmakers, but those are… some of them.”