Lynch/Oz (2023)

Lynch/Oz (2023)

A fascinating rabbit hole of a documentary about the intertextual richness of David Lynch's films



United States of America
Aaron Moorhead, Amy Nicholson, David Lowery
108 min


It's hard not to imagine Lynch in ruby slippers at this point.

What it's about

A six-part video essay-style documentary about the potential links between David Lynch's whole oeuvre and The Wizard of Oz (1939)

The take

Swiss filmmaker Alexandre O. Philippe gave us the free-flowing fandom doc The People vs. George Lucas in 2010 and hasn't stopped obsessing over his favorite filmmakers ever since. Can you blame him? Dedicating years of your life to research of the the weird Lynch-verse is a mammoth task, especially since the kernel of his new doc can be found in a single line uttered by the director. At a Q&A in 2001, he said:"There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about The Wizard of Oz," and that was reason enough to conceive of the 1939 Technicolor film as a lens to read Lynch's whole filmography through. Philippe is dedicated beyond measure, which is both an advantage and a disadvantage for the whimsical exploration of such a fascinating body of work deserves complete devotion. Perhaps even bordering on obsession. A wildcard documentary for the Lynchheads, Lynch/Oz includes not only excerpts from shorts, features, and TV he made, but also clips from various appearances. Plus, the six chapters feature different filmmakers and critics who imbue the film with their own interpretation of the enigma that Lynchian cinema is.

What stands out

It's not often you get to see a documentary made entirely out of film clips with narrator commentary that is analytical and provocative. Usually, one relegates this kind of thing to YouTube, streamers, or armchair film critics. Lynch/Oz is one example of a very compelling use of the video essay form to construct a feature length film that conveys a subjective point of view, but it does so objectively. With a careful selection of clips, their juxtaposition and weaving the arguments through voiceover, Alexandre O Philippe manages to go reeeeeally deep down the Lynch rabbit hole and to show the never-ending riches of film interpretation. Even if you don't remember any of the carefully curated montages, you'll surely wince next time you watch Blue Velvet and realise the mysterious singer is actually named... Dorothy.


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