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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

David Lynch: The Art Life [Blu-ray]


(Jon Nguyen, Rick Barnes, Olivia Neergaard-Holm, 2016)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Absurda

Video: Criterion Collection Spine #895



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:28:45.570

Disc Size: 32,146,517,872 bytes

Feature Size: 27,027,437,568 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.79 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: September 26th, 2017



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 2774 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2774 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English (SDH), none


New interview with codirector Jon Nguyen (16:24)
Trailer (1:48)
PLUS: A new essay by critic Dennis Lim






Description: A rare glimpse into the mind of one of cinema’s most enigmatic visionaries, David Lynch: The Art Life offers an absorbing portrait of the artist, as well as an intimate encounter with the man himself. From his secluded home and painting studio in the Hollywood Hills, a candid Lynch conjures people and places from his past, from his boyhood to his experiences at art school to the beginnings of his filmmaking career—in stories that unfold like scenes from his movies. This remarkable documentary by Jon Nguyen, Rick Barnes, and Olivia Neergaard-Holm travels back to Lynch’s early years as a painter and director drawn to the phantasmagoric, while also illuminating his enduring commitment to what he calls “the art life”: “You drink coffee, you smoke cigarettes, and you paint, and that’s it.



The Film:

David Lynch had a near-perfect childhood: an idyll of picket-fence tranquillity; loving parents who hardly exchanged a cross word. There’s no deep-rooted trauma to explain his art, with its insatiable spelunking into American nightmares. You can’t use Freud to solve him.

Nor could you use David Lynch: The Art Life as a behind-the-scenes primer on his filmmaking, because it isn’t about that. Not a frame of his post-
Eraserhead work appears. Instead, Lynch himself is on screen a lot – daubing, smoking, recollecting. It’s about his early days as a fine artist, before the grants he won from the American Film Institute allowed his surrealism to migrate onto film.

Excerpt from Telegrapgh located HERE

Lynch's account of his memories ends when his career as one of the world's greatest directors begins - with Eraserhead. We get to watch Lynch work on a sculpture, sit and smoke, or interact with his toddler daughter Lula in the present. Family photos and home movies light up the past. His mother refused to give little David colouring books, so as to not restrict his creativity. "She was warm but not demonstrative," he describes her.

Sight and sound, with a few carefully chosen exceptions, are not synchronised in this dazzling documentary by Jon Nguyen, Rick Barnes and Olivia Neergaard-Holm, who leave wonderfully grand room to form your own opinion. There is the traumatic, "otherworldly" childhood encounter with a naked woman on the street, which Lynch talks about while we see a big moth wanting to get out by the window. "You can live in one place and have everything," is his motto. Time seems to fold in on itself.

Excerpt from EyeforFilm located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

David Lynch: The Art Life looks a strong replication of its HD source transferred to Blu-ray by Criterion.  There really is nothing to go wrong with the modern footage of Lynch, smoking, creating - and the old footage from 16mm and vintage photos looks authentically grainy - damage intact. Colors are bright and deep - contrast excellent. The art shown is fascinating. This dual-layered Blu-ray, with max'ed out bitrate, reproduced a flawless 1080P presentation.


















Audio :

Criterion use a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround (24-bit) but there are few separations - being mostly dialogue/narration driven. The music in the documentary is credited to Jonatan Bengta, and we can also hear David Lynch and Dean Hurley performing their own compositions of I Have a Radio, The Night Bell With Lightning and Sparkle Lounge Blues. It plays well with the film. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A' disc.


Extras :

David Lynch: the Art of Life co-director Jon Nguyuen first collaborated with David Lynch on Lynch (2007), an intimate portrait of the filmmaker as he completed Inland Empire. In the included interview, shot for Criterion in March 2017, Nguyuen discusses the origins of this, their subsequent project together, the unique access his team had, and the challenges they faced in constructing the film. It runs just over 1/4 an hour. There is also a trailer and the package has a liner notes booklet with a new essay by critic Dennis Lim.



David Lynch: The Art Life spends some marvelous, relaxing, time with a unique artist. Lynch provides interesting details of his life, maturing and his personal philosophy. Fans will love this as he is more in the retirement-mode than filmmaking... but the creativity never goes away. It's necessary for him. I'd love to get some of that art. This Blu-ray package is an easy recommendation. A fascinating exploration in one of the more profound directors and thinkers - who managed to stay true to his vision. Strongly recommended!!

Gary Tooze

September 6th, 2017


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze





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