Published by New Harvest, 2015
At once a pop culture icon, cult figure, and film industry outsider, master filmmaker David Lynch and his work defy easy definition. Dredged from his subconscious mind, Lynch’s work is primed to act on our own subconscious, combining heightened, contradictory emotions into something familiar but inscrutable. No less than his art, Lynch’s life also evades simple categorization, encompassing pursuits as a musician, painter, photographer, carpenter, entrepreneur, and vocal proponent of Transcendental Meditation.
David Lynch: The Man From Another Place, Dennis Lim’s remarkably smart and concise book, proposes several lenses through which to view Lynch and his work: trough the age-old mysteries of the uncanny and the sublime, through the creative energies of surrealism and postmodernism, through theories of dreams and of good and evil. Lynch himself often warns against over interpretation. And accordingly, this is not a book that seeks to decode his art or annotate his life—to dispel the strangeness of the Lynchian—so much as one that offers complementary ways of seeing and understanding one of the most distinctive bodies of work in modern cinema. Its spirit is true to its subject, in remaining suggestive rather than definitive, in allowing what Lynch likes to call “room to dream,” and in honoring the allure of the unknown and the unknowable.
“The Man from Another Place is a very well written ‘cinema-therapy’ session on the career of David Lynch, one of the few real auteurs left. His movies, obsessions, studio hassles, and personal life are all revealed in a smart, readable analysis by author Dennis Lim, who makes for the perfect film shrink.” —John Waters
“David Lynch’s brilliance as an artist is further illuminated by the laser intelligence of Dennis Lim’s commentary. Packed with new ideas regarding this most enigmatic of American filmmakers and refreshingly free of jargon, DL on DL is a dazzling performance. It is also a pleasure to read.” —J. Hoberman, co-author of Midnight Movies
“The Man from Another Place is an exemplary work of critical biography, in which one DL gives us an invaluable set of keys, or backwards-spoken passwords, for beginning to unlock and navigate the labyrinths of another.” —Tom McCarthy, author of Remainder and Satin Island
“To me, David Lynch is America. His light is brimmed with extreme beauty and violence. The Man from Another Place takes me to this unique terrain to discover one of America’s most intriguing minds. I realize how accessible Lynch’s universe is—it’s as simple as breathing. Seen through Mr. Lynch's eyes, blood is poetry, a murky night is crystal clear.” —Apichatpong Weerasethakul, director of Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
“Dennis Lim's crystalline book packs fascinating Lynchian biographical minutiae and revelatory production anecdotes into astonishingly lucid yet lyrical takes on the work of his subject. Lim is so thoroughly cine-literate his contextualization of Lynch's creative trajectory within the art form and its industry seems definitive—the last word on Lynch!” —Guy Maddin, filmmaker, My Winnipeg
Dennis Lim is the director of programming at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and a frequent contributor to the Arts & Leisure section of the New York Times. A former film editor and critic at the Village Voice, he is the author of The Village Voice Film Guide: 50 Years of Movies from Classics to Cult Hits (2009).