David Lynch is a filmmaker who is known for his surrealist films. The surreal nature of Lynch’s films are often combined with violent elements, which leads his movies to have the reputation of being “offending, disturbing, and mystifying” all at once.
After being born in Missouri, Lynch moved to Philadelphia where he studied painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Lynch then moved to Los Angeles where he directed such amazing films as Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, The Elephant Man, Lost Highway, and Twin Peaks.
While Lynch is known for his surreal movies, he has a very interesting relationship with Philadelphia, as seen in the following quotes:
“I had my first thrilling thought in Philadelphia.”
“…when I was there it was a very sick, twisted, violent, fear-ridden, decadent, decaying place.”
“Philadelphia, more than any filmmaker, influenced me. It’s the sickest, most corrupt, decaying, fear-ridden city imaginable. I was very poor and living in bad areas. I felt like I was constantly in danger. But it was so fantastic at the same time.”
“It all started for me in Philadelphia because it’s old enough, and it’s got enough things in the air to really work on itself. It’s decaying but it’s fantastically beautiful, filled with violence, hate and filth.”
“The house I moved into was across the street from the morgue, next door to Pop’s Diner. The area had a great mood - factories, smoke, railroads, diners, the strangest characters, the darkest nights. The people had stories etched in their faces, and I saw vivid images-plastic curtains held together with Band-Aids, rags stuffed in broken windows, walking through the morgue en-route to a hamburger joint.”
“We lived cheap, but the city was full of fear. A kid was shot to death down the street, and the chalk marks around where he’d lain stayed on the sidewalk for five days. We were robbed twice, had windows shot out and a car stolen.”
“I lived at 13th and Wood, right kitty-corner from the morgue; That’s real industrial. At 5:00 there’s nobody in that neighborhood. No one lives there. And I really do like that. It’s beautiful , if you see it the right way.”
“Yes, [Philadelphia is] horrible, but in a very interesting way. There were places there that had been allowed to decay, where there was so much fear and crime that just for a moment there was an opening to another world. It was fear, but it was so strong, and so magical, like a magnet, that your imagination was always sparking in Philadelphia…I just have to think of Philadelphia now, and I get ideas, I hear the wind, and I’m off into the darkness somewhere.”
If you are a fan of movies, you have to see Lynch’s movies. Lost Highway, Eraserhead, and The Elephant Man are my favorites.
All of these quotes, and the inspiration for this post are courtesy of “The City of Absurdity.”