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(Credit: Manchester International Festival)


David Lynch lists his favourite modern filmmakers


As one of the most unique and inspiring filmmakers in world cinema, the impact of director David Lynch on the landscape of contemporary cinema cannot be truly appreciated. Thanks to projects such as Twin Peaks, Mulholland Drive, Eraserhead and many more, David Lynch has created a remarkable legacy. 

Engaging with worlds and stories that concern themselves with existential concepts and the ethereal dreamscapes, David Lynch consistently creates a mysterious, creeping tone that seems to suffuse into every film he produces. Unconcerned with shallow, throwaway films, Lynch explores his own concept of inspiration, stating in an interview with The Atlantic, “Ideas are like fish. If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you’ve got to go deeper. Down deep, the fish are more powerful and more pure. They’re huge and abstract. And they’re very beautiful.”

When it comes to the inspiration of contemporary cinema, however, Lynch notes that “he’s not a film buff”, and also “rarely has the time to go [to the cinema]”. Despite this, David Lynch’s eclectic taste comes as the result of decades of film history, noting Stanley Kubrick, Billy Wilder, Federico Fellini, Jacques Tati and Alfred Hitchcock as particular directors of inspiration. 

Questioned in 2013 during an interview in Madrid, David Lynch was asked about his favourite modern films and filmmakers, before replying that he doesn’t have time to watch new films, noting, “Not that I don’t have interest, there are only 24 hours in a day and I like to work”. Pressed for an answer, however, Lynch went on to announce, “I like the Coen brothers, I think they’re always solid, I like Werner Herzog, I like Martin Scorsese, I like Aki Kaurismäki, I like a lot of people”. 

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Having risen to industry prominence at similar times, it’s no wonder that David Lynch appreciates similar masters of filmmaking like the Coen brothers and Martin Scorsese, whilst Werner Herzog well complements Lynch’s own meditative musings. The addition of Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki is a surprising one, however, a writer and director known for vibrant idiosyncratic tales. 

Deadpan and droll, Aki Kaurismäki has been compared to Dead Man filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, though is certainly worthy of individual praise. Suffusing his films with a large dose of social criticism, empathy, humour and existential dread, the modern Finnish master of cinema has created a unique style of filmmaking that makes use of low-budget limitations. It is likely this self-expressive vibrancy in spite of limitations that makes Aki Kaurismäki such a favourite of David Lynch. 

Take a look at the short clip below in which David Lynch lists his favourite modern filmmakers.

David Lynch’s favourite modern filmmakers:

  • Coen brothers
  • Werner Herzog
  • Martin Scorsese
  • Aki Kaurismäki