Documentary filmmaker Alexandre O. Philippe delves deep into David Lynch’s cinematic psyche and finds recurring references to an unexpected film: The Wizard of Oz.
There’s a world between the whimsical musical The Wizard of Oz and the bizarre world of David Lynch. In appearance, at least. On closer inspection, Swiss documentary filmmaker Alexandre O. Philippe, accustomed to deciphering cinema from Aliens to The Exorcist and zombie films, finds, on the contrary, disturbing similarities.
There is this recurring image of the red shoes, which evoke those that Dorothée kicks together in the hope of returning home. There is this obsession with doubles, already present in the 1939 classic which, the documentary reminds us, owes its fame to its countless television broadcasts and not to its cinema release. There is also, in a general way, the presence in the work of David Lynch of a world hidden under appearances, like the one in which Oz makes believe, itself hidden behind a character and a simple curtain.
Lynch/Oz not only catalogs the – plentiful – visual evidence of The Wizard of Oz’s influence on the creator of Sailor and Lula (Wild at Heart), Mullholland Drive and Twin Peaks, it also digs into it meaning through the observations of six film critics and filmmakers, including Amy Nicholson and John Waters. With them, the documentary filmmaker shows the deconstruction of the American dream directly and indirectly operated by David Lynch’s cinema and how the tragic fate of Judy Garland, an actress who played Dorothy, embodies this shipwreck.
The demonstration and the staging of Alexandre O. Philippe leave completely speechless as they are convincing. In addition to feeding his analysis with enlightened words, he supports it with a phenomenal amount of carefully chosen excerpts. Lynch/Oz is a niche film, of course, but it has everything it takes to fascinate moviegoers who have remained haunted by Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks and Lost Highway.