Martha Nochimson, Film Critic and Writer / Covering David Lynch, Soap Opera, The Sopranos, David Chase, and Film Writing

Martha P. Nochimson, Film Critic and Writer

David Lynch Swerves: Uncertainty From Lost Highway to Inland Empire

2013. University of Texas Press.

Beginning with Lost Highway, director David Lynch 'swerved' in a new direction, one in which very disorienting images of the physical world take center stage in his films. Seeking to understand this unusual emphasis in his work, noted Lynch scholar Martha Nochimson engaged Lynch in a long conversation of unprecedented openness, during which he shared his vision of the physical world as an uncertain place that masks important universal realities. He described how he derives this vision from the Holy Vedas of the Hindu religion, as well as from his layman’s fascination with modern physics.

With this deep insight, Nochimson forges a startlingly original template for analyzing Lynch's later films - the seemingly unlikely combination of the spiritual landscape envisioned in the Holy Vedas and the material landscape evoked by quantum mechanics and relativity. In David Lynch Swerves, Nochimson navigates the complexities of Lost Highway, The Straight Story, Mulholland Drive, and Inland Empire with uncanny skill, shedding light on the beauty of their organic compositions; their thematic critiques of the immense dangers of modern materialism; and their hopeful conceptions of human potential. She concludes with excerpts from the wide-ranging interview in which Lynch discussed his vision with her, as well as an interview with Columbia University physicist David Albert, who was one of Nochimson's principal tutors in the discipline of quantum physics.

"Taken as a whole, the MS is nothing less than a revelation of a new David Lynch. I want to say the true David Lynch, so convincing are the book's claims, so well-substantiated and explained. I've studies all these films obsessively over the past ten years....But I never saw the profound meanings the MS so powerfully discloses. The focus on the physics of Lynch is a true paradigm, shift....Nothing will ever the the same in Lynch studies again." -- Eric G. Wilson, author of The Strange World of David Lynch: Transcendental Irony from Eraserhead to Mulholland Dr. (Continuum, 2007)

"Many write about Lynch, but Nochimson speaks to him personally, and doesn't skip over the scenes others conveniently ignore (e.g., the 'Winky's' sequences in Mulholland Drive which no one has ever been able to explain to me, until now). Her criticism is syncretistic in the best sense of that term: combining film studies with literature, religion, and--now-contemporary physics. Nochimson does not claim to be an expert in all these areas, but part of the joy of the book is watching this gifted, intellectual mind stretching out beyond herself into an exciting journey of scholarship." -- Joseph G. Kickasola, author of The Films of Krzysztof Kieslowski: The Liminal Image (Continuum, 2004)