Lynch/Oz (2022) Movie Script

[ Dramatic music plays]
[ Electricity buzzes]
Ladies and gentlemen.
[ Down-tempo music plays ]
NICHOLSON: When you look at
the grand scope
of American storytelling...
in this strange,
mixed-up, argumentative,
polarised country...
...finding a story
we can all agree on
is next to impossible.
There's these two
very similar films
that are famous
in film history
because they share
the same story beats,
the same trajectory.
They were both flops
when they came out.
The first one is
"The Wizard of Oz,"
and the second one
is Frank Capra's
"It's A Wonderful Life."
I'm shaking the dust of this
crummy little town off my feet,
and I'm going to see
the world.
Get me back!
Get me back!
I don't care what happens to me.
There's no place like home.
There's no place like home.
NICHOLSON: And a curious thing
happened with both of them.
They went away for a few years,
and then they were
re-presented on TV
and they were kind of
put forth as special events.
50% of the television sets
in America
were tuned to
"The Wizard of Oz."
And then "Oz" did so well
in the numbers
that the network
brought it back
and it eventually
settled into a pattern.
Always the same time of year.
Always the same moment.
It's right there, and it's
special and it's precious.
If "The Wizard of Oz" is not
the quintessentially
American fairy tale,
I really don't know what is.
It's one of the first movies
I think most children
are introduced to
as "Hello, you are a child.
Welcome to the world of movies.
Let me open up the curtain
of what cinema is."
Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly
NICHOLSON: But even beyond that,
what makes it special
is this is a movie
that we've had
that every generation of kids
has watched for eight decades.
[ Chanting indistinctly]
There's just something
in the shared
candy-coloured musical universe
of "The Wizard of Oz"
that I find so remarkable,
so visually
and sonically influential.
We've all been to Oz.
One is starved for Technicolor
up there.
NICHOLSON: And the thing is,
it has not aged at all
because it's a film
that takes place so squarely
in the world of musical
and fantasy.
You can never underestimate
the power of
when a movie that is
extensively taking place
in a normal universe
breaks out into song.
Because that is the moment
when the film looks
at the audience and it says,
"Are you in?"
NICHOLSON: It makes me think of
the moment early on
in "Wild at Heart."
Nicolas Cage takes Laura Dern
to a metal bar,
and suddenly in the middle
of this metal bar,
he begins to sing Elvis.
I would beg and steal
Just to feel
Just to feel
Your heart
NICHOLSON: And the band
magically knows the notes
and everybody else
who's also at this metal bar
magically sings along.
So close to mine
NICHOLSON: David Lynch must
have been four or five years old
that first year they put
"The Wizard of Oz" on TV.
I do see the story of
"The Wizard of Oz"
as the story of David Lynch
himself becoming a filmmaker.
[ Down-tempo music plays ]
I feel like I see him in it
more than I even see
his individual films.
Despite all the references,
despite all the red shoes
and the curtains.
[ Down-tempo music plays ]
He's a guy from the Plains.
Missoula doesn't
look too different
than the Kansas in this movie.
And so he goes
on this journey himself.
He's always talking about
consciousness and transcendence.
And he takes us there
through his films.
There's an ocean of pure,
vibrant consciousness
inside each one of us.
flows, the wind blows,
the cloud fleets,
the heart beats.
LYNCH: And it's right at
the source and base of mind,
right at the source of thought,
and it's also at the source
of all matter.
You, uh --
You'd better close your eyes,
my child, for a moment,
in order to be
better in tune
with the infinite.
NICHOLSON: And I think that's
what Dorothy does in this film.
She transcends and she goes
to this other world
and she goes on this journey
where she winds up
finding herself
and knowing her own powers,
which to me is the David Lynch
story above everything.
There's no place like home.
NICHOLSON: He talks about his
movies like "Lost Highway,"
for example, as being what
he calls psychogenic fugues,
where a character
gets knocked upside by trauma
and they wind up slipping
into this other dimension
almost as a way of trying
to find stability.
I mean, whether or not
you believe Oz is real,
you know that Dorothy
got hit on the head,
that something very bad
happened to her
and that she was unconscious
for a long time...
that she went to another place,
that she had this
near-death experience
in the middle of a tornado.
Got this damn sticky stuff
in my hair.
NICHOLSON: There's this very
small detail
at the opening
of "The Wizard of Oz."
Right when the title
comes up onscreen,
you hear this gust of wind,
but it's not a sound effect.
It is humans sounding
like a gust of wind.
They're going "Woooh."
That human wind sets up
this mood for the whole film,
you know, a whole film that
winds up being defined by wind.
And then when the house starts
to swirl around,
it is an absolute cacophony
inside of this tornado.
And then she lands
and this entire movie
goes silent
for the first time.
And that silence clears
the table for the audience.
And then the music kicks in
and you start to hear
the Oz theme,
and you get a little gust
of that human wind sound again.
And you have to wonder
if those same winds
are the ones we hear
in David's films.
PEOPLE: Woooh! Woooh!
LYNCH: I was painting a painting
about four-foot square.
And I was sitting back,
probably taking a smoke,
and looking at it.
And from the painting,
I heard a wind.
NICHOLSON: I've heard
David Lynch say that
when he wants something
special from his actors,
he says "More wind,"
which means put more mystery
in their performance.
He, too, has that love of rooms
that seem filled with wind
that you can hear,
even if a room seems like it
should be completely airless.
[Wind rushing ]
And I love that he talks about
wind as the source of mystery
when that is exactly
what happens in "Oz."
Wind is the source
that rolls the girl around
and it puts her somewhere new.
The camera work in that scene
helps set this really
ominous sense about Oz.
And it sets up this vibration
of this land is beautiful,
but you need
to watch your back.
Something with poison in it,
I think.
With poison in it,
but attractive to the eye.
NICHOLSON: I think there is
a sense in a David Lynch film
where he trains you
really early on
as the audience
to never be content
to just take things
at surface value.
He is always interested in
what's underneath the surface,
and he is pushing
underneath that,
and he is the person
who would say,
"Do you think that group
of apple trees
just looks like apple trees?
I would look again.
That grove of apple trees
is actually alive."
NICHOLSON: There's violence
where you're not
expecting to see it.
"The Wizard of Oz" is absolutely
darker under the surface
than the movie forces you
to acknowledge.
I mean, Dorothy enters Oz
killing somebody.
And that's all that's left
of the Wicked Witch of the East.
NICHOLSON: Two powerful women
die in "The Wizard of Oz"
at the hands of a young girl
who is pretty okay with it.
Like, does Alice
go into Wonderland
and just start murdering people
left and right?
I'm melting! Melting!
She's dead. You killed her.
NICHOLSON: And it's funny
because Frank Baum
looked across the ocean
at Hans Christian Andersen
and the Brothers Grimm,
who were writing
really grisly, gory stuff.
And he thought,
"I'm going to write a story
that does not have that horror."
But he didn't really do that.
NICHOLSON: I think if there is a
driving question or driving goal
that really connects David Lynch
in all of his films,
it is that nothing
should be taken for granted
and that nothing is
exactly what it is.
I'm not me.
I'm not.
I'm not me.
I'm not. I'm not me.
[ Gasping ]
NICHOLSON: And that we all
contain within ourselves
a deep truth of who we are
and the power to be the person
that we want to be.
NICHOLSON: It's interesting
because every time
I see David Lynch, I see a man
who has done a lot of work
to maintain the sense of moving
through the world like a child.
And I love that he is so drawn
to a character like Dorothy,
whose defining characteristic
is a complete lack of cynicism.
She walks through this world,
and when people are kind,
she's grateful.
The only way to get Dorothy
back to Kansas
is for me
to take her there myself.
[ Gasps ]
Oh, will you? Could you? Oh!
NICHOLSON: And when people
are mean, she's like,
"Well, you're mean."
Shame on you.
[ Crying 1
What did you do that for?
NICHOLSON: But yet she's
never jaded about anything.
She has this gigantic, curious
spirit that propels her forward.
I think where David Lynch
and Dorothy
have this strong point
of connection is in the fact
that they both know that
adventures cannot be planned.
Is full of surprises.
NICHOLSON: They can only be
with the right attitude.
A man's attitude --
A man's attitude go some ways.
The way his life will be.
Is that something
you might agree with?
NICHOLSON: He still thinks,
I think, of curtains
almost as this gateway to magic.
They open up and then you get
to enter this other world.
He favours theatrical curtains,
the kind of curtains that belong
to magicians and movie theatres,
you know, the kind of curtains
that you only use
when you are
framing a performance.
The kind of curtains
he would have seen
when he goes to the movies
when he was a young boy
and that curtain opens up.
And so when you see
a curtain like that,
you know that something is about
to happen that is not real life.
If a curtain is your divider
between reality and fantasy,
the curtain is easy to get
through and to walk through.
The curtain is welcoming.
It's as easy as Toto
pulling back the curtain
on the great wizard himself.
WIZARD: Think yourself lucky.
Oh, ah, I -- I am the great
and powerful Wizard of Oz.
You're a very bad man.
NICHOLSON: And you see
on the Wizard's face
this disappointment
because he has
disappointed them.
I'm just a very bad wizard.
NICHOLSON: And it's almost
unfair, I think,
for everybody to be
so sad when they see him
because it's still a great show.
There's this fear that
the director does not want
his craft to be exposed.
And I wonder if that's
a little bit of
where David Lynch is like,
"I don't want
to explain my films.
I don't want to ever show you
my gears and my levers
because nothing lives up
to what you have perceived
on the screen."
Damian asks, "What's behind
the red curtains?"
It's a top-secret thing, Damian.
And, uh...
Just leave it --
leave it like that.
NICHOLSON: Sometimes when you
see a filmmaker make an allusion
to a film that they love,
they're doing it for this reason
of saying "This film
was an influence on me.
You know, go watch it,
go pay attention to it."
But that is not at all
how I think David Lynch
uses "The Wizard of Oz."
I mean, you can't use
"The Wizard of Oz" like that
because everyone's seen
that film.
I think he wants to go home.
Where is your home?
Is that right?
He knows where his home is.
Well, where is his home?
Where home.
We're off to see the Wizard,
the wonderful Wizard of Oz
He almost uses it as a way
of making his films
more approachable.
When you have something
like "Wild at Heart,"
which is a story without
really clear arcs,
and there's violence
that comes in out of nowhere,
and tragedy that comes in
out of nowhere,
and yet incredible hot lust
and humour and romance,
to take this crazy, like,
mother figure
with her red press-on nails
and keep associating her
with the Wicked Witch
is almost a way of giving
that character a parallel.
Look out!
I'm going! Ohhh!
NICHOLSON: And letting
the audience say,
"I kind of understand who she is
and why she does this.
And I don't need to know
any more about her motivations."
He's using "The Wizard of Oz,"
I think,
almost as a way of shaking hands
with the people in the audience
and saying, "We do have
this shared language.
You can trust me."
We will pursue...
Capture, and incarcerate.
Let's hit the road.
[ Dramatic music plays]
ASCHER: My family and I
were just watching
"Back to the Future,"
which couldn't be a less
Lynchian movie if it tried.
But if you use the lens of "Oz"
to look at it,
well, what do you have?
A young man from Any town, USA,
who travels magically
to another world,
in this case, his own past.
This has got to be a dream.
ASCHER: Where he encounters
doppelgangers of people
that he knows from home.
Now. I've got no reason
to suspect
that "Back to the Future" was
inspired by "The Wizard of Oz."
But "The Wizard of Oz"
is a really sturdy template.
It's a provocative lens
to look at, you know,
a lot of different stories
Mom. Dad.
-Did you hit your head?
-Marty, are you alright?
You guys -- you guys look great.
Auntie Em, it's you.
ASCHER: There's a strong
Oz/Kansas dynamic
in "Blue Velvet."
We see how close the real world
and then that nightmare world
are to one another.
FRANK: Dreams talk to you.
ORBISON: In dreams
In dreams, you're mine.
ASCHER: Jeffrey leaves the
Kansas of his family's bubble
deep in the suburbs of Lumberton
to the other side of Lincoln,
where the sinister
adults-only action goes down.
Here's to an interesting
I'll drink to that.
ASCHER: He crosses over
when he sneaks into
Dorothy Va | | en's apartment.
She's certainly
a character from Oz,
not from Kansas,
in Jeffrey's journey.
And then Jeffrey is dragged
through hell,
kills the big bad,
and then returns to his family.
And then at the very end
of that scene with the robin,
with Jeffrey and his family
gathered around the window...
lunch is ready.
ASCHER: ...looks an awful lot
like Dorothy in her bed,
surrounded by her loving family.
It's a strange world.
Isn't it?
ASCHER: But knowing things,
having experienced things
that they never will.
Paul Atreides is
a very Dorothy-like character.
He certainly travels
through multiple worlds.
Moves from the more colourful
Caladan to Arrakis, Dune,
which is sepia-toned,
a lot like Kansas.
Ultimately, he liberates Dune
just as Dorothy liberates Oz.
John Merrick,
the Elephant Man,
is really the epitome
of a character
who moves between
different worlds.
A freak on exhibit
in the carnival
is just about the lowest
social class
I can imagine
in Victorian England.
And he leaves it
for London Hospital,
which becomes his gateway
to the upper class.
If Oz echoes Kansas,
well, then, the hospital
echoes the carnival.
The horror and the abuse
recur again,
first, more politely
as scientific curiosity,
but then again
quite literally.
So if you see Dorothy
as an innocent character
flung into a dangerous world,
well, Merrick's been
born into one,
and he strives to find
his kinder Kansas,
which, you know,
is sort of a reversal of "Oz."
And the images that we see
of his angelic mother seem,
at least to me,
to be a little inspired
by Glinda the Good Witch,
the epitome of kindness.
Nothing will die.
ASCHER: But just because "Oz"
can be a handy way
to help parse out particular
elements of Lynch's work,
I wouldn't assume that
all of those similarities
were necessarily
directly inspired by "Oz."
They could be.
Desiring an idea is like
a bait on a hook.
-MAN: Yeah.
-You can pull them in.
I like to think of it
as in the other room,
the puzzle is all together,
but they keep flipping in
just one piece at a time.
-In the other room...
-Over there.
ASCHER: Based on G | inda's
appearance in "Wild at Heart,"
I think it's safe to assume
that he spent some time
thinking about the movie.
But, you know,
I personally have no idea
how far that influence
really goes.
He's certainly aware of "Oz."
It's certainly something
that he thinks about.
Certainly something
that's important to him.
I'm going to play
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
And try to, anyway-
ASCHER: A lot of people
go to the movies
in order to experience
new worlds and new sensations,
and for that,
you need a relatable, innocent,
inexperienced character to
be confronted by those things.
And I think that that approach
works really well
because, I mean,
the real world often feels
chaotic and strange.
Every day we're dragged into
some chaotic new hellscape
against our will.
And we have to find allies.
We have to find a way out
to not only achieve our goals,
but make it back home
at the end of the day.
Of course,
I could be projecting.
It might be that
the broad strokes of "Oz" --
an innocent character finding
herself in a nightmare world,
characters appearing
in more than one shape
within more than one avatar,
having multiple doppelgangers,
even the man behind the curtain,
sort of a sinister power figure
at the centre of the narrative,
one who has two faces --
Well, could be that
that's a generic enough,
a powerful enough metaphor
that you could squeeze it
and poke it and prod it
to apply to most anything.
Thousands of movies are based on
the idea of fish out of water.
"Beverly Hills Cop" --
Axel Foley travels from
the urban grime of Detroit
to glitzy Beverly Hills,
learns a couple lessons,
including that there's less
difference than you might think
at first glance
between those places,
and then he goes back home.
The idea of going
on a great journey,
extending yourself beyond
your comfort level...
Look. They're shooting buffalo.
It's a story that's, what,
three-quarters of
American movies?
It's probably hard to overstate
how common that trope is.
Luke travels from his home,
his Kansas-like desert home
to the Death Star
to the Rebellion.
Is that an "Oz" narrative?
Is everything?
There's a really interesting
movie I watched recently,
"The Miracle Worker,"
Arthur Penn's 1962 movie
about Helen Keller.
And it really felt like
I was watching an early
lost David Lynch film.
There's a dinner scene
where the very formal
and proper Keller family
are sitting around the table,
and Helen is racing around it
like a wild animal,
growling at food,
and all the rest
of the family around her
are trying to act
like nothing is strange.
That kind of contrast,
at once comic and horrifying
and a little sad,
it felt very Lynchian.
She'll be alright in a minute.
ASCHER: There's another moment
where her teacher
is watching Helen
out the window,
and then Annie flashes back
to her own school days.
As a kid, she was in
an institution for the blind,
and Penn uses a double exposure
dissolve that lasts
just an incredibly long time.
If it doesn't look like
a dream scene
straight out of
"The Elephant Man"
or "Eraserhead,"
I don't know what does.
It's something that David Lynch
does in a way
that feels effortless
and it has this powerful,
dreamlike effect.
There's that amazing dissolve
on Cooper's face
that lasts a minute,
minute and a half
where he seems to be
unmoored in his world.
In "The Miracle Worker,"
it's almost as if the ghosts
of Annie's past have returned.
And in both cases,
it's slightly "Oz"-like.
All these characters
are becoming untethered
and losing track of which layer
of reality they're in.
Why would Lynch be that absorbed
with "The Wizard of Oz"?
Well, it's a very nostalgic
American icon of a film.
But anyway, Toto, we're home.
Home. And this is my room.
ASCHER: In a lot of his movies,
there's a sense of a search
for a sort of lost,
perfect American world.
A nostalgia for paradise lost.
Perhaps for one
that never really existed.
Did he watch "The Wizard of Oz"
on a perfect day
at the perfect time as a child
and it sort of baked
into his subconscious?
I wonder if on the same day
he watched "The Brain
From Planet Arous" instead,
would his movies be
very, very different?
[ Dramatic music plays]
Many filmmakers' works
are often variations on a theme.
To me, Stanley Kubrick's films
are often
about exposing the abuses,
the excesses of people in power.
"Paths of Glory" being one
of the most literal ones.
[ Speaks German ]
-Guten tag.
-[ Laughter]
Hey, talk in
a civilised language!
But that continues all
the way up to "Eyes Wide Shut,"
which is about the decadent
super rich.
Ladies, where exactly
are we going?
-[ Laughter]
Where the rainbow ends.
Where the rainbow ends.
ASCHER: In "The Shining,"
there's the whole conversation
about all the best people
who stayed at the Overlook.
We had four presidents
who stayed here.
Lots of movie stars.
All the best people.
ASCHER: Even Lolita is a girl
who's preyed upon
by different powerful men,
Clare Quilty
and Humbert Humbert.
Gee, I'm really winning here.
I'm really winning.
I hope I don't get
overcome with power.
ASCHER: Lolita is a girl
who's forced to live
in multiple worlds,
the normal one of teenagers,
but also a darker adult one.
You want to stay
with this filthy boy?
-That's what it is, isn't it?
-Why don't you leave me alone?
-Shut your filthy mouth.
ASCHER: There's a lot of
"Lolita" the film
in "Twin Peaks,"
and there's a lot
of Dolores Haze
in Laura Palmer.
What is real?
How do you define real?
ASCHER: Right now,
I'm wrapping up a film
about simulation theory
and "The Wizard of Oz"
has been coming up a lot
because at the end of the day,
what kind of movie is it?
It's the story of a young girl
who moves between
parallel worlds.
It means buckle
your seat belt, Dorothy,
because Kansas
is going bye-bye.
-[ Thunder rumbles]
-ASCHER: And there's a question,
a sort of question mark
left at the end.
Which of these worlds
is the real one?
Are both of them real
in some way?
But it wasn't a dream.
It was a place.
And you, and you,
and you, and you were there.
ASCHER: That's a question
that people play with
in countless movies
that have been influenced by it,
everything from "Nightmare
on Elm Street" to "The Matrix."
Lynch's films are filled
with characters
who move between
different worlds,
and they're often very innocent
characters like Dorothy.
Never seen so many trees
in my life.
W.C. Fields would say,
"I'd rather be here
than Philadelphia."
ASCHER: In "Mulholland Drive,"
which might be the most
"Wizard of Oz"-y of all of them,
Betty is a perfect innocent
who finds herself in sort of
the twin versions of Hollywood,
the dream and the nightmare.
I think that in Lynch's
duelling realities,
the membranes between
layers of reality are thinner
than they were
in "The Wizard of Oz."
In many of these movies,
there are characters
who hold all the cards,
just like
The Wizard of Oz himself.
The man behind the curtain.
Characters whose influence
travels between worlds.
We've met before, haven't we?
I don't think so.
Where was it
you think we met?
At your house.
Don't you remember?
When Lynch was talking
about "Inland Empire,"
another story of a woman
who moves between
different levels of reality,
he once answered,
"We are like the spider.
We weave our life
and then move along it.
We are like the dreamer
who dreams,
then lives in the dream.
This is true
for the entire universe."
Like Mulholland Drive
and Winkie's Diner,
that guy is talking
about his dream,
and he's afraid that
the dream could come true.
And then, soon enough, he finds
himself in the nightmare
of having to relive that dream.
He says to a psychiatrist,
"In the dream,
I was sitting here,
and you were up there
by the cash register,"
and then it panned slowly over
to the cash register.
And you see the absence
of the psychiatrist.
And it cuts back
and then you see the gears
turning in the psychiatrist's
head who says,
"Oh, you want to see
if it's real."
And then the man can't
stop it from happening.
The psychiatrist gets up
and he walks to the register
and we pan over.
And now he is
exactly in that position.
He's filled the negative space,
and then the man
finds himself in his dream
the way Dorothy is transported
into her dreams of Oz,
only without a tornado
or even a dissolve.
Just in the space
of a line of dialogue or two.
That very last scene
in "Twin Peaks: The Return"
is the summation
of a lot of ideas
that I think about with "Oz"
and with Lynch.
The question of dreams
versus realities.
Because I read that
the woman who answered the door
in the scene
is actually the woman who lives
in that house in our world.
Is this your house?
Do you own this house
or do you rent this house?
Yes, we own this house.
ASCHER: So it's almost as if,
well, which of the thousands
of possible multiple realities
does Cooper land in
at the end of the series?
He lands in the same one
that you and I are living in
and that the woman who owns
the house that they film
"Twin Peaks: The Return"
lives in.
And it's more than Cooper
and Carrie are able to take.
What year is this?
[ Dramatic music plays]
[ Screams ]
ASCHER: They end that sequence
in a complete mental breakdown,
a complete panic,
which was an experience
that I really went through
while watching
that whole season.
It was shortly after
the election
and a lot of us
were confused and scared
about what was going
to happen in the world.
God bless America.
ASCHER: So it's really nice
to return
to the world of "Twin Peaks,"
even if within the show,
there's one unspeakable
nightmare after another,
at least it was our
unspeakable nightmare.
This is the water.
And this is the well.
Drink full, and descend.
The horse is the white
of the eyes,
and dark within.
ASCHER: But the strangeness
crossed over into my reality
because I remember
episode eight, the big episode,
the one with the atom bomb
and the fireman and that lizard.
I've watched that episode twice.
And each time, another horror
would be waiting for me
the morning after.
The first time
my wife and I watched it,
our cat was acting
really strange,
rubbing her head
against the TV.
The next morning,
we came downstairs,
and the floor was just littered
with blood and feathers
of a bird that she had
managed to catch
while locked
in the house all night.
Maybe she escaped
through a window
and maybe she pulled it back
inside somehow.
I've got no idea.
But she murdered it
while we were sleeping
and scattered its remains
all over the floor.
And then two or three
weeks later,
I watched it again alone.
And maybe this is in hindsight,
but as I imagined myself walking
down the steps the next morning,
I'm feeling a sort of
Lynchian dread,
like that guy
in "Mulholland Drive"
who's walking back
behind Winkie's.
And I come to my desk
and on my phone,
there's like 20 new messages
that have just popped
in the last hour waiting for me.
My father back in Florida,
he died the night before.
He hadn't been doing well for
a while, so it wasn't a shock.
But I don't know,
the timing felt really strange.
I don't think I'm going to watch
that episode again anytime soon.
I don't want to know
what's going to happen.
There's bad juju baked
to the bones of that thing.
[ Dramatic music plays]
It is happening again.
ANNOUNCER: Like wildfire
in the wheat field,
the fabulous tale
of "The Wizard of Oz"
spread from town to city
to nation to the entire world.
WATERS: For me,
"The Wizard Of OZ"
was the ultimate
not just American movie,
movie period
that I saw as a child
that made me want to be
in show business,
that made me want
to create characters,
that made me want
to go on adventures
and probably made me take LSD.
[ Mid-tempo music plays ]
I think it was a good influence
on me all the way around.
For me, it changed my life
when I saw it.
My obsession with it
started before television.
My parents took me to see it
at the Rex Theatre in Baltimore,
which, oddly enough,
later became the sexploitation
nudist camp movie theatre
like 30 years later.
Then the Christmas thing
became like the sequel
in my mind as a child.
Every year, we watched it.
I mean, it was a big deal event.
And you always watched it
because it didn't come on again.
There was no other way.
Nobody could imagine
that you could ever
buy a video of something
and watch it whenever
you wanted or rewind it.
That's the thing I always
thought was kind of against.
You give away the magic trick.
But, you know,
the saddest thing I ever heard
was I talked to this young
kind of hipster kid,
and we were just talking
about movies.
And I said, "Do you like
'The Wizard of 02'?"
And he said,
"No, not really.
I mean,
it's basically just walking."
I thought, "God, what a blurb."
If a kid watches
"The Wizard of Oz" today,
the film completely works.
I think it's the perfect --
like a drug to kids
to get them hooked on movies
for the rest
of their young lives.
Well, I don't think
that's the only movie
that influenced David Lynch
or me,
but certainly he probably --
it was maybe one of
the first movies he saw, too.
And whatever
those first movies are --
The other one for me
was "Cinderella," Walt Disney's,
and I love the stepmother
in that movie.
And she was the same to me
as the witch.
She was the villain, the one
you were supposed to hate.
But I was a puppeteer
when I was young.
Was David?
We're all very happy
to be here tonight.
First of all,
I'd like to introduce my boys.
This is Chuckle
and this is Buster.
And this is Pete.
I'm David Lynch.
And this is Bob and this is Dan.
Many, many directors are.
And later in life,
your actors always say
"We're not your puppets,"
you know.
Well, yes, you are.
But I wonder if he was,
because it seems like many,
many directors were
puppet enthusiasts as children,
and they were their actors
and they told them
what to do in a way.
It looks like this.
And I got it.
-I got it.
And start bouncing up and down.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Bounce around and kissing.
Yeah. Okay.
WATERS: So I think
it came from that,
that the villains were always
better characters.
They had better outfits.
They're the ones
you remembered more, in a way.
Captain Hook in "Peter Pan,"
I mean, that little girl in
"The Bad Seed," Patty McCormack.
These were
my childhood playmates.
Give me those shoes back.
Oh, no, I got them shoes hid
where no bother or bee
can find.
You better give me those shoes.
They're mine.
Give them back to me.
WATERS: I wrote
Margaret Hamilton in my life,
and she did send me back
an autographed picture
and she always signed
her autographs
"WWW Margaret Hamilton,"
like the Wicked Witch
of the West,
which I prayed she had
monogrammed sheets
that said that.
What a performance,
what a performance.
Who killed my sister?
Who killed the Witch
of the East?
Was it you?
WATERS: And she was so much more
fun than the good witch
who dressed like
she had gone insane
getting ready for the prom.
Most directors
can always tell you
one of the first few movies
that obsessed them
when they were a kid.
And that is what led them to
pick this as a career forever.
"The Wizard of Oz" is still
my favourite movie.
Wicked Witch -- I was in drag
only once in my life,
and that was as
the Wicked Witch.
And I went to
a children's birthday party.
You know, I raised
a few parents' eyebrows.
WATERS: I think all my films
have been influenced.
Oz was Queen Carlotta, maybe.
I think "Desperate Living"
had some "Wizard of Oz" in it.
Bring me her broomstick,
and I'll grant your request.
Now, go.
Loyalty to the Queen
sometimes results in reward.
The Munchkins were --
Hey, that was like Mortville,
kind of.
"The Wizard of Oz,"
a special little weird town.
Even Divine was not
the Wicked Witch,
but Divine would have hung
around with a wicked witch.
They would have
gotten along well.
I'm trying to think
is there one scene
that was really like
"The Wizard of Oz" on purpose?
Like a parody of it?
You've got the magic touch
[Warbling ]
Well, if you could just tell me,
if you could --
[ Dramatic music plays]
[ Indistinct singing ]
WATERS: "Dorothy,
the Kansas City Pothead"
was a movie I made
that never really got made.
Dorothy smoked pot
and then went to -- went to Oz,
which was a psychedelic high.
I don't think we ever got
any further than that.
The people that
are my heroes or heroines
would have been the villains
in other people's movies.
And the villains in my movies
are usually people
that are more middle of the road
and judgmental
and don't mind
their own business.
Now, Miss Gulch didn't mind
her own business.
I want to see you and your wife
right away about Dorothy.
WATERS: I make the same film.
The moral is the same.
Mind your business.
Exaggerate what
people use against you.
Turn it into a style and win.
All my movies say that.
We find the defendant
not guilty of all charges.
WATERS: They're different
but the moral of all my movies
is definitely the same.
David might agree with that
with his own movies.
I think David and I
both have a love
and a hate
for the 1950s in America.
I mean, the '50s
was a terrible time.
EDNA: Tracy, I have told you
about that hair.
All ratted up
like a teenage Jezebel.
Oh, Mother, you're so '50s.
WATERS: I mean, it was
the most judgmental,
conformist thing ever.
And not a one of us
is going to start eating
until Laura washes her hands.
Wash your hands.
WATERS: That's why rock
and roll exploded.
It was the first way
to -- to rebel from all that.
God bless Dwight Eisenhower.
PRISONERS: God bless
Dwight Eisenhower.
God bless Roy Cohn.
PRISONERS: God bless Roy Cohn.
WATERS: So I think David would
probably agree with that,
that we grew up
with the same music,
the same censorship in movies
that came falling down
over the years.
I don't think that America
has changed that much.
People still want to go home.
That's why
I never left Baltimore.
This city has great style,
I think.
It's sort of like
white trash chic.
I did stay here because --
because to me,
my real friends were here
and people that didn't care
about show business
and -- and we went over
the rainbow ourselves here
with -- with my friends
when we were young.
And most of those friends,
I still have.
MAN: Hey, does that dog
have to shit?
[ Laughter]
WATERS: David has gone
over the rainbow
from the very first film ever.
He lives in a different reality
than you or I do,
and that's quite obvious.
The last TV show he did was --
was my favourite thing
he ever did,
because if there was ever,
like, being kidnapped
and taken into a Lynchian world
that you didn't even know
where you were,
you were so disoriented that
it was like "The Wizard of Oz."
And I couldn't wait each week to
go there with him on that show.
Somehow he got that through
the Hollywood system.
That is amazing to me.
But from the very
first moment
I ever saw a David Lynch film,
which was "Eraserhead,"
it may have been the first
weekend it was ever at Midnight.
And I started raving
about it in the press
because it was such
an amazing movie.
And of course, it still is.
I've met John Waters
many times,
and I always make sure
I thank him for that.
WATERS: And that's kind of
how we met.
And there is kind of
a famous shot of David Lynch
and I meeting out
front of Bob's Big Boy.
Have you ever seen that picture?
At that period,
David did eat lunch
at Bob Big Boy's,
every day, I think.
Can we say
you're a creature of habit?
Yes, habit
and a daily routine.
And --
And then when there's
some sort of order there,
then you're free to mentally
go off any -- any place.
You've got a safe
sort of foundation
and a place to spring off from.
One day in Bob's,
I saw a man come in
to a counter.
Seeing him came a feeling.
And that's where
Frank Booth came from.
Let's fuck!
I'll fuck anything that moves!
[Tires squeal ]
WATERS: And even though
I think our films
are very, very different,
I think that we are
certainly kindred spirits
and have the same
sense of humour.
Your seat belt!
It's the law!
[ Screaming ]
Don't you ever fucking tailgate!
-Tell him you won't tailgate.
WATERS: My favourite thing
that David said is that --
that he loves making the movie,
he loves editing,
he loves thinking it out.
But then it's released
and the heartbreak begins.
What a great line.
I know the feeling.
I would have loved to have
met him with Margaret Hamilton
while she was alive.
That would have been the best.
[ Sombre music plays ]
KUSAMA: I was once a struggling
artist in New York City
and waited tables at a diner.
David Lynch would come in
as a customer.
I was just so fascinated
that he always ordered pancakes
and used a lot of maple syrup.
Short stack of griddle cakes,
melt butter, maple syrup,
lightly heated, slice of ham.
Nothing beats
the taste sensation
when maple syrup
collides with ham.
KUSAMA: He's quite handsome,
almost a caricature
of Midwestern courtesy
and bluntness,
which I think we see
in some of his Q&As.
Do you want some more pie?
A whole pie?
Yes, I would, Miss Johnson.
And a piece of paper
and a pencil.
I plan on writing
an epic poem about
this gorgeous pie.
KUSAMA:In 2001 , I went to see
"Mulholland Drive"
at the New York Film Festival,
and then Lynch came out
at the end
and he spoke about the movie
quite elliptically,
as he is won't to do.
No hay band a.
There is no band.
KUSAMA: I remember somebody
had asked him,
"What does the film mean?"
And his response was,
"Well, I think you know."
And that was it.
I know you hate saying
what things mean
in your films,
but am I right in thinking
that that's at least
in the right area?
-[ Laughter]
KUSAMA: And then a guy asked,
"Can you talk about
your relationship
to 'The Wizard of Oz'
in relation to
'Mulholland Drive'?"
And his response was,
"There is not a day
that goes by that
I don't think about
'The Wizard of Oz.'"
I will say that it was one of
those watershed moments for me
as a filmmaker to understand
his sense of humility
in front of another
piece of art.
Because he said it
with a kind of childlike wonder,
in all of my subsequent viewings
of "Mulholland Drive,"
I've always thought of it as
a companion piece
to "Wizard of Oz."
Part of that has to do with
perhaps a left turn away from,
"on-the-nose gestures"
of a film like "Wild at Heart"
and something more
about its structure.
This idea of the dream within
the consciousness of a character
essentially comprising
two-thirds of the film,
a dreamscape
given narrative life.
"Mulholland Drive"
is an exploration
of a character named
Betty Wilkes,
a fresh-faced aspiring actor
who comes to Hollywood
to make it big.
She immediately meets
a cast of characters
who are also searching
for something themselves,
and she's immediately thrust
into mysteries
beyond her comprehension
and romance that's unexpected
and somewhat unruly.
And in the process
of investigating this mystery,
we learn about another woman
who looks very much
like Betty Wilkes
named Diane Selwyn.
And we learn about a kind of
shadow world that she lives in
that's very much like Betty's,
but the failed version
of Betty's life.
You've come back.
KUSAMA: We're given access
to the fantasy and the dreams
and the hopes
of Betty's character.
And then by pulling
the lid off of that,
we realise that there is a hope
for something
that never happened in
the character of Diane Selwyn.
It's as if Lynch is saying,
"We're not going to learn
as much about this character
by watching her in
her dank Hollywood apartment,
planning a murder,
haunted by the odiousness
of her own thoughts.
We're going to learn
so much more about her
seeing her
as the best version of herself."
10 bucks says you're Betty.
Yes, I am, Mrs. Lenoir.
KUSAMA: The most capable,
the most talented,
the most hopeful and loving.
KUSAMA: And in the process,
we're going to see
Diane's imagination
of a better version
of her girlfriend,
which is so heartbreaking.
What's your name?
KUSAMA: And the way to get
to that better version
of the girlfriend is to strip
her of all of her identity.
Diane Selwyn.
Maybe that's my name.
There's something so deeply
moving about this strategy
because it's saying sometimes
we learn more about a character
not from their reality,
but from their dreams.
COWBOY: Hey, pretty girl.
Time to wake up.
KUSAMA: "Mulholland Drive"
is an inverse of "Oz,"
in that the home
we return our Dorothy to,
in this case, Diane Selwyn's,
is not one
she wants to return to.
It's a much darker register
of the "Oz" narrative.
I was so struck
watching the movie again
by how it is such a merciless
depiction of Hollywood.
It seems to be such
a personal film for Lynch.
You feel a sense of deep,
almost anticipatory wounding
in him in his depiction
of Hollywood.
There ain't no way
that girl is in my movie.
[ Shouts indistinctly]
This is the girl.
That girl is not in my film.
It's no longer your film.
KUSAMA: And to me,
there's nothing more nightmarish
than the moment
that the director says,
"This is the girl,"
because you understand
he has surrendered his agency
to larger forces as a way
to just stay in the game.
There is almost nothing
more brutally truthful
about the process
of making movies in Hollywood
than that moment.
Might as well be a documentary
as far as I'm concerned.
When you don't have final cut,
total creative freedom,
you stand to die
the death.
Dying the death.
And died, I did.
KUSAMA: I just think there's so
many things in Lynch's work
that are speaking back to "Oz,"
and they show up
so profoundly in this film,
like Rebecca del Rio
lip-syncing the Spanish version
of Roy Orbison's "Crying."
It's like hearing Judy Garland's
incredible recorded real voice
lip-syncing to herself
singing "Over the Rainbow."
It's foundational in "Oz,"
but it's also foundational
in Lynch
to watch characters lip-synch.
I just feel that as a kid,
he must have been aware
that Garland was moving
her mouth to a recording
of her own voice.
The drama
and the uncanny weirdness
of that Rebecca del Rio
that's all "Oz."
The blue-haired lady,
that's all "Oz."
There's a couple of
extraordinary moments in "Oz"
where you just get close-ups of
the Witch's face,
of the Tin Man,
and the Cowardly Lion,
where you really see
the artifice of the makeup.
When Lynch plays
with those gestures,
I think they are intentional.
Thinking about movies like
"Fire Walk with Me,"
where Lynch will do something
so simple as Laura Palmer
talking to her old boyfriend,
and he does a hard cut to her
wearing black lipstick
and laughing
and then cuts out of it,
it is so scary, so shocking.
That kind of simple
makeup gesture
truly going back
to the origins of theatre.
He's looking back
at the green-faced witch
when he puts that black lipstick
on Laura Palmer.
And I think the same is true
with the man
who I believe
is actually a woman
behind Winkie's
in "Mulholland Drive."
It's a gesture
of theatrical artifice,
but also something
emotionally more true
than just seeing
a guy back there
roasting hot dogs or squirrels.
That black makeup
with the red-ringed eyes.
It's such a strong,
strange, deeply bold choice.
And I feel like that kind of
choice is directly influenced
by some of the wildness
that we've come to take
for granted in "Oz."
What I think is perhaps
a through line
between "Oz" and the films
Lynch has made
is this kind
of unconscious courage
that the character is willing
to keep opening doors
they shouldn't be opening,
to keep going to addresses
they shouldn't go,
to keep spying on
those they should not spy on.
They invite chaos
into their life
because they have to know.
I'm involved in a mystery.
I'm in the middle of a mystery.
And it's all secret.
KUSAMA: He applies the quotidian
narrative trope of the detective
to many of his films,
characters who are detectives of
metaphysical mysteries,
cosmic mysteries, sometimes
to their great peril or horror.
Gordon! Gordon!
KUSAMA: And if you think
about Dorothy and Oz,
she's a child detective with
her dog and a picnic basket.
She's being asked to go
on this insane journey
and trust to follow
that yellow brick road.
Part of the irony to me when
I think about "The Wizard of Oz"
is I think of it
as forever coupled, of course,
with "Gone With the Wind,"
these two completely
foundational works
made by the same person
and released in the same year.
It's a strange statement
about the American unconscious.
I'll go home.
And I'll think of some way
to get him back.
KUSAMA: And when you look
at Lynch's films,
which are so driven
by a law of the unconscious,
why wouldn't "Oz" be
the foundational text for him?
I do wonder if he would have
found his way
towards some version
of what is his inimitable
style over time anyway
but that "Oz" gave him
permission to think so big,
to think so wildly
and off the map.
I don't think it's so unusual
to find new inspiration
or comforting lessons
in a single work.
In the same way
that we might consult the Bible,
I think "Oz" has served as some
kind of foundational text
for Lynch.
I really do.
His body of work is braided with
gestures and moments in "Oz,"
which have burned their way
into Lynch's creative mind.
My sense is that his work
is governed by irrationality
and that he arrives
at some of his best ideas
through a trip
into his unconscious
as opposed
to his conscious mind.
In some of his work,
he's proving the theorem
that once we see certain works
and once certain images
and story passages
and characters
are burned into our brain,
there is no unseeing.
And somehow that work
has landed in our DNA.
And for him, there's just
a lot more of "Oz" in his DNA
than there is
in another filmmaker.
There are so many gestures
that I wonder
if Lynch himself would say,
"I love to watch people singing
lip-synch songs," for instance,
which happens in at least
every other one of his movies
and sometimes within his movies
multiple times
as in "Mulho | | and Drive,"
and always in front of curtains.
And I'll see you
And you see me
And I'll see you
KUSAMA: I just wonder if that's
his dream of "The Wizard of Oz."
Do you know what I mean?
Like in his dream life,
that's how "The Wizard of Oz"
has landed,
as a Dorothy in front of
curtains, as a torch singer,
not a 12-year-old farm girl
in a gingham dress.
WOMAN: velvet were I
Somewhere over the rainbow
KUSAMA: But part of what I think
is so juicy about this idea
that he is so influenced
by the film
is the meta story
beyond "The Wizard of Oz."
It's the story of Judy Garland.
Her brilliance, her greatness.
The deep betrayal
that she experienced
as a genius in Hollywood.
The tragedy of her life,
the wreckage of her life.
You don't know what it's like
to watch somebody you love
just crumble away bit by bit,
day by day,
in front of your eyes.
KUSAMA: I think that is
as influential to Lynch
-as the film itself.
-Good night, baby.
KUSAMA: It's the story
outside of the story.
And that is so much Lynch to me,
that he's always
telling the story
outside of the story
and sort of saying,
"But it gets bigger.
It expands."
And "Mulholland Drive" to me
is one of those movies
where he completely sticks
the landing
in terms of proposing
a world of great possibilities
and great mystery
and then actually showing it
to us the way that "Oz" does.
-Howdy to you.
KUSAMA: The scene that
stands out for me
as it relates
to Dorothy and "Oz"
is the masterful scene
of Betty auditioning.
First watching her play the
scene with the Rita character,
reading the lines horribly
and being clearly not an actor,
which is its own sort of
wish fulfilment
on Diane Selwyn's part.
So get out of here before --
B-Before what?
Before I kill you.
Then they'd put you in jail.
KUSAMA: There's something
so inspirational to me
about watching
her transformation
in that audition scene
and playing the character
so differently.
Get out of here before...
Reinterpreting the scene,
giving us another window
into what that scene could be.
Before what?
KUSAMA: This is like
the crystallization to me
of Lynch's work in a nutshell,
which is this idea
of multiple realities,
but also multiple
interpretations as the rule,
not the exception.
A multiplicity of possibilities.
[ Breathing heavily ]
Before I kill you.
KUSAMA: It's thrilling
to see her become an actor
we had no idea she could be
after watching a kind of
meta performance by Naomi Watts
that's almost frustratingly
naive and golly gee,
gee whiz in a way
that makes it hard to be
in a real kind of relationship
to her as a character.
And then to see
this unexpected complexity --
that to me felt like a central
instinct in Lynch's work.
To say that we quite
literally contain multitudes.
And there is so much more
to all of us
than we give ourselves
credit for.
And part of how I think
that relates to "Oz"
are those moments of Dorothy
having to summon the courage,
the abject despair
of never getting home,
having to be present in Oz,
even though she may
never leave Oz.
I'm frightened.
I'm frightened, Auntie Em.
I'm frightened.
KUSAMA: And at least she has
the Tin Man and Scarecrow
and the Cowardly Lion
as friends.
There's something about that
journey that is so unexpected
that she becomes such a hero,
this little girl, Dorothy Gale.
But I just feel like
that must be something that,
in the best way, infected
a young David Lynch's mind
and allowed him or inspired him
to create characters
with as much possibility
in them.
Come on, it'll be
just like in the movies.
I'll pretend to be someone else.
KUSAMA: As much as
"Mulholland Drive" devastated me
when I first saw it,
and as much as
it frightened me --
like, to my core,
that movie shook me --
I now see a tremendous
amount of hope in it
because I feel like Lynch
is giving us, the audience,
access to the best versions
of those characters.
The most interesting.
The most inspiring.
The most hopeful.
You look like someone else.
KUSAMA: He's actually kind of
an optimist to me.
And that movie proves it
in my mind.
As dark as it is,
I see it as
a very optimistic film.
I really think
he identifies with Dorothy.
But who knows?
He might be somebody who says,
"And I have the witch
in me, too.
And I have the Cowardly Lion.
And I have the sham wizard."
I think he has all of
those characters in him.
We all do,
I think is what he's saying.
We have all of them in us.
[ Down-tempo music plays ]
BENSON: There are plenty of
movies that follow
the Hero's Journey as outlined
by Joseph Campbell,
but a number of them
more specifically
seem to follow the formula
and the vernacular
of "The Wizard of Oz."
I'm melting! Melting!
Shrieks ]
I don't care about money.
I'm pulling back the curtain.
I want to meet the wizard.
I want your dog.
Give him to me.
BENSON: That film touches almost
every single genre
we can think of.
It has adventure...
Seize them!
BENSON: ...musical...
[ Upbeat music plays ]
Oh! Oh!
BENSON: ...drama...
[ Dramatic music plays] fiction...
[ Dramatic music plays]
...even horror.
-[ Flying monkeys hooting ]
-Help, help, help!
BENSON: Take "The Big Leb0wski,"
which is this extraordinarily
"Wizard of Oz"-ian tale.
It's a comedy
and it's a stoner comedy.
Here you have an unwilling
protagonist like Dorothy
swept up in a whirlwind
that he doesn't understand...
Where's the money, Lebowski?
BENSON: ...into a different
world that is so much deeper
and darker than his relatively
simple, pedestrian existence.
And he meets a cast
of magical characters
that give him secret knowledge
that, interestingly,
a lot of them had
all along inside themselves.
Sometimes you eat the bar
Much obliged.
...sometimes the bar,
well, he eats you.
MOORHEAD: And at the other end
of the genre spectrum,
we've got films in the realm
of sci-fi and horror
and dark fantasy,
movies like "Suspiria,"
which actually shares a lot
with "The Wizard of Oz."
Here we have a young woman
going on a journey
into a surreal, bizarre,
even Technicolor world,
meeting several people
along the way
who will shape her
for the rest of her life.
[ Mystical music plays]
Guillermo del Toro's
"Pan's Labyrinth"
and "The Devil's Backbone"
also share a lot of similarities
with "The Wizard of Oz."
[ Speaking Spanish ]
Here we have young people
going into these
dreamlike scenarios,
meeting a series of interesting
entities that shape them,
and coming out on the other side
changed in some way.
[ Speaking Spanish ]
BENSON: Martin Scorsese's
"After Hours"
feels like "The Wizard of Oz."
Would you just give me a break?
I really just want to go home.
I've got to get over that bar,
get my keys so I can get home.
Where do you live?
Can you take me --
Can you take me home?
BENSON: And "Alice Doesn't
Live Here Anymore"
is "The Wizard of Oz"
in so many ways.
We open on her sepia-toned
childhood in Monterey,
and the entire movie
is about going back home.
She eventually decides
to stay in Tucson,
but the final shot tells us
she found her new home,
so she is home.
Even a movie like
"Apocalypse Now"
has similarities
to "The Wizard of Oz."
But there's no home
in "Apocalypse Now."
-I mean, it starts in...
-WILLARD: Saigon.
I'm still only in Saigon.
BENSON: And he really
doesn't want to be there.
So in a sense, he's started
in Oz after the tornado.
But he goes on a mystical,
psychedelic journey
in a foreign land
meeting a whole bunch
of strange people
that help him along the way... order to find someone
who is basically a wizard.
Could we, uh,
talk to Colonel Kurtz?
Hey, man, you don't --
you don't talk to the Colonel.
Well -- Well, you listen to him.
BENSON: There's this monolithic,
all-knowing Colonel Kurtz
that everyone speaks about
with reverence and fear.
And he turns out to be both
the wizard and the witch.
And then there's David Lynch,
who is by far the king
of weaving the visual
and auditory language,
the thematic and story language
of "The Wizard of Oz"
into his own work.
Oh, I had the strangest dream.
You were there.
And you, and you.
MOORHEAD: Taking "Twin Peaks"
season three, for example,
he has some spectacular,
very modern visual effects,
but he also uses a lot
of the same techniques
used in "The Wizard of Oz."
Old-school opacity transitioning
that no one uses anymore
unless you were trying
to make it look like
it was actually made
in the 1950s.
He knows he's choosing
an old-school effect.
This is David Lynch showing us
where the smoke machine is.
He is the wizard.
Why didn't you want
to talk about Judy?
Who is Judy?
Does Judy
want something from me?
Why don't you ask Judy yourself?
Let me write it down for you.
MOORHEAD: You could say
that "The Wizard of Oz"
has been a more
powerful tool for Lynch
in making populist
surrealist entertainment
than Jesus Christ has been
for other surrealist filmmakers
like Jo do row sky or Bufiuel.
[ Screaming ]
[ Dramatic music plays]
MOORHEAD: But he is way too
gifted of an artist
and a filmmaker to just
regurgitate "The Wizard of Oz."
What he's doing is he's taking
what we all know about it,
and he's breaking it down
into its component parts
and remixing them either buried
deep down beneath in visuals
and themes and motifs
in basically all of his movies
or right at the surface
in "Wild at Heart."
Perhaps you might even picture
Toto from "The Wizard of Oz."
In my mind,
it hon ours this great film,
"The Wizard of Oz,"
which is a film
that's caused people to dream
now for decades.
And there's something about
"The Wizard of Oz"
that's cosmic.
And it talks to human beings
in a deep way.
MOORHEAD: What's interesting
about "Wild at Heart" is that
"The Wizard of Oz" exists
in the canon
and the mythology of its world.
It's too bad he couldn't...
...visit that old Wizard of Oz
...hear some good advice.
There are no Munchkins
in the movie now, huh?
There was a Munchkin.
There was a Munchkin.
MOORHEAD: The characters in
"Wild at Heart"
have seen the movie
"The Wizard of Oz."
You ever think something
and hear a wind
and see the
Wicked Witch of the East
coming flying in?
MOORHEAD: And they use it as
the ideal of their own lives
that they can never get.
SAILOR: That kind of money
would get us a long way down
that yellow brick road.
Well, I know it ain't
exactly Emerald City.
MOORHEAD: They constantly
reference that movie,
and their idea of the comfort
of home is the idyllic movie
"The Wizard of Oz."
LULA: Oh, I wish I was
somewhere over the rainbow.
It's just shit.
MOORHEAD: There's this moment
where Laura Dern was
just assaulted by Willem Dafoe,
and she clicks her red heels
together three times.
You can't miss it, and everyone
knows what should happen next.
But the scene cuts
and nothing happens.
She's still in Oz,
and it's because he's not
retelling "The Wizard of Oz."
He's using
the cultural real estate
that "The Wizard of Oz" occupies
in our public consciousness
to say in these people's cases,
there just is no home.
All of these virtues
that Dorothy collects
in "The Wizard of Oz" are vices
that these characters
are collecting.
These vices are going to
keep them where they are,
and they need to find a way
to live with that
or find some other way out.
Honey, you ain't going to begin
worrying now
over what's bad for you.
I mean, here you are
crossing state lines
with an A number-one
certified murderer.
Manslaughterer, honey,
not murderer. Don't exaggerate.
MOORHEAD: There's this strange
cultural currency
to using certain
almost universally known images
of 1950s celebrities
that have become Americana.
In almost every movie
that David Lynch has made,
there's some expression
of this Americana in it.
We've got Nicolas Cage
playing Elvis
in "Wild at Heart."
Let's go out into
the crazy world of New Orleans.
Go to Rally's and get
a fried banana sandwich.
MOORHEAD: Almost every character
in "Blue Velvet"
is a 1950s image --
bad guys wear leather jackets
and hang out in nightclubs.
-What kind of beer do you like?
Heineken?! Fuck that shit!
Pabst Blue Ribbon.
MOORHEAD: In "Twin Peaks,"
James literally looks like
James Dean,
and Audrey Horne looks a lot
like a teenage Ava Gardner.
[ Down-tempo music plays ]
BENSON: And Michael Cera
in "Twin Peaks"
is dressed exactly like
Marlon Brando in "The Wild One."
MOORHEAD: And Dale Cooper
is like a 1950s noir detective
and a very idealised
version of one.
He is flawless,
almost to the point of satire.
[Whistle toots ]
There's the strong connection
to film noir archetypes
in his movies,
which is interesting
because a very, very early noir,
"I Wake Up Screaming,"
obsessively uses the song
"Over the Rainbow" as a motif.
[ "Over the Rainbow" playing ]
So there's a very established
between "The Wizard of Oz"
and the origins of noir.
Robert, I --
Why, who on earth
is that beautiful girl?
BENSON: David Lynch will often
style characters
as pin-up girls like
a Marilyn Monroe type figure
or a Bettie Page type figure
or Jayne Mansfield.
There's a power
to these types of images
in that they're almost
collective fetishes.
MOORHEAD: Yes, these are
'50s Americana archetypes,
but they're also sex icons,
all of them.
And he's making
a facsimile of them
in order to take us back
and prey on our nostalgia.
And it also makes his movies
just very enjoyable to watch.
So he's not just a surrealist.
He's a populist surrealist.
[ Rock music plays ]
BENSON: But he always shows you
the dark underbelly of that.
And it seems like
it's an expression of this idea
that the 1950s were
a really exciting time
and it must have felt
really good for a lot of people.
But there was obviously
a subset of society
for whom it wasn't great,
and the neglect of that leads
to a certain kind of horror.
And it's just -- it's always
ready to come out
and break through the surface.
David Lynch isn't just holding
up these two things and saying,
"Hey, look how
different they are."
He's way more
principled than that.
He's holding up these things
and saying that the badness
is actually what gives
the good meaning.
And that would be why he has
these themes of doppelgangers,
why he has parallel realities,
why he has people
with the same name
but completely
opposite personalities.
Is that you?
Are both of them you?
BENSON: I think the only things
in life for him
that don't have
an evil doppelganger
are probably coffee
and meditation.
-SHELLY: Agent Cooper?
Shelly, I'm going to let you
in on a little secret.
It's called Georgia Coffee --
comes in a can,
tastes as good and rich as any
cup of coffee I've ever had.
It's true.
BENSON: Even cigarettes in
"Wild at Heart"
are this constant threat,
and everybody knows
David Lynch loves cigarettes.
BENSON: "The Wizard of Oz"
treats polarisation
in the same way.
There's a black and white Kansas
and the Technicolor Oz.
There's the good witch
and the bad witch.
One is a dream
and one is reality.
And they all have their
counterparts in both worlds.
And that's exactly what
David Lynch keeps on doing.
There's not a lot of moral
or thematic muddiness
in his movies.
It's funny to say
that his movies
don't have an enormous amount
of muddiness to them
because they're so confounding
for most people.
But what he's doing
is he's following these things
through light and dark
and through a logic
that actually does make sense.
You know,
Bob is a force of evil,
but you don't see scenes of Bob
where you empathise with him
and wonder
how he used to be good.
And Coop is a force of good,
and you don't watch him
get tempted by the dark side
unless he's literally
possessed by evil.
They're very
complex characters.
They're extraordinarily
deep characters.
But you just never wonder
if you're supposed to be
rooting for Coop.
[Thunder crashes]
MOORHEAD: You know,
what's a MAGA hat?
A MAGA hat is basically saying,
"Let's get back to this idea
of this thing
that America was that's
so much better than now."
I mean, think about
where Marty McFly went to
in "Back to the Future."
That 1950s is great.
Everyone's lives are great
and everything is fine,
more or less.
But the reality is that
nothing's ever been fine.
It was just fine
for a few people.
I could run for mayor.
A coloured mayor.
That'll be the day.
You wait and see, Mr. Caruthers.
I will be mayor.
I'll be the most powerful man
in Hill Valley.
And I'm going to
clean up this town.
Good. You can start
by sweeping the floor.
MOORHEAD: And I think that
David Lynch,
who grew up in Boise, Idaho,
and then eventually moved around
a lot, you know,
one of the places he ended up
was low-income Philadelphia.
And there it's where he sees
the flip side of America.
What's beneath
the artificial sheen of it all.
LYNCH: I lived in Philadelphia,
and I call "Eraserhead"
the true Philadelphia story.
Some day over the rainbow
Way up high
-What is this, Connor?
-Now, now, easy, old man.
BENSON: And I don't think that
his realisation was
"Ah, man, I was fooled.
The '50s weren't
as great as I thought."
I think his realisation is "The
beautiful white picket fence
and 'Leave It to Beaver'
and pin-up girl vision
of the '50s,
it only existed because
of this horrible darkness
that I'm now able to see,
and it's built
on the shoulders of it."
So there's America,
and then there's
a doppelganger of America.
And the American dream was,
in fact, an American myth.
Or perhaps the American dream
walks hand-in-hand
with the American myth.
[ Radio playing indistinctly]
The way Lynch usually expresses
showing the underbelly
of America
is often through the way
women are treated
by the side of society
that is
the romanticised portion.
It's the portion
that's supposed to be good.
Stay away from me.
BENSON: Laura Palmer's dad
is a 1950s ideal,
but he's obviously
done awful things to her.
And then in "Blue Velvet,"
you know,
Jeffrey watches Dorothy Vallens
from a closet.
-Hello, baby.
-Shut up.
It's Daddy, you shithead.
Where's my bourbon?
BENSON: And witnesses how she's
treated for a very long time.
[Groaning ]
Don't you fucking look at me!
BENSON: Really that story
is about him observing
how this woman
has been destroyed
by the society he lives in.
And he had no idea
that it was destroying women.
Hold me! I'm falling!
-I'm falling!
-[ Siren wailing ]
BENSON: And so there's
definitely a huge parallel there
to this old-fashioned idea,
and not just of America,
but of the golden age
of Hollywood,
the system in which
Lynch is now working.
From Hollywood, California,
where stars make dreams
and dreams make stars.
The relationship between
Judy Garland
and the character of Dorothy
is highly analogous
to heaven and hell.
The American dream
versus the American myth.
MOORHEAD: And there's references
to characters
named Dorothy in "Blue Velvet"
and in "The Straight Story,"
there's a Garland Avenue
in "Lost Highway."
MAN: He lives with his parents,
William and Candace Dayton,
at 814 Garland Avenue.
Did Windom Earle
do this to you?
Odd name.
Judy Garland.
BENSON: In "Twin Peaks,"
the idea of Judy
comes up all the time,
especially the question of
who is Judy?
Where is Judy?
Who is Judy?
You've already met Judy.
What do you mean I've met Judy??
BENSON: And Judy's never
to be found.
Judy seems to represent
the grand mystery.
Gotcha. Can I say hello
to my friend Judy?
-Where's she? Sure.
-She's a friend. Hello, Judy.
LENO: Now, you say that, now,
who is Judy?
-What does she do?
-She's just a friend.
LENO: Just a friend.
Now, you see --
I mean, is it
an open-ended friend?
Open-ended, yeah.
[ Cheers and applause]
Where is Judy now?
She is in America.
BENSON: She's almost her own
doppelganger in the sense
that on screen, she's this
totally wholesome person.
But in real life,
Judy Garland was pigeonholed
into that girl-next-door thing.
She had problems
with alcoholism, pill use.
She had an eating disorder.
She died very young.
She was only 47
and almost broke.
GARLAND: I wanted,
and I tried my damnedest,
to believe in the rainbow
that I tried to get over.
And I couldn't. So what?
BENSON: So who is Judy?
It's an unanswerable question.
It takes an entire lifetime
of Judy Garland to answer.
[ Sombre music plays ]
[ Down-tempo music plays ]
LOWERY: I grew up with
a black-and-white television.
And so the formal idea
that Oz was in colour
was lost on me
for many, many years.
The first time I saw it
as it was intended was in 1989,
and that was revelatory.
But it also didn't diminish
my previous understanding
of the movie,
which kind of proves the extent
to which our imagination drives
our understanding of the stories
that are being told to us.
DOROTHY: But I feel as if
I've known you all the time.
But I couldn't have, could I?
LOWERY: I feel like I must have
handled the 35 millimetre print
at some point
when I was in high school
when I was a projectionist.
But I could be
misremembering this.
It's weird that I can't remember
if that was real or not.
[ Cackles ]
I like to
remember things my own way.
What do you mean by that?
How I remember them,
not necessarily
the way they happened.
Looking at it as an adult,
it feels to me
like "The Wizard of Oz"
might be a Quaalude
for the proletariat.
Poppies will put them to sleep.
LOWERY: "Everything's just fine
the way it is.
Don't strive for anything more."
The fact that the movie
reverts to sepia
is a very caustic
and suppressive move.
When you look at it this way,
it's almost as
if the pioneering spirit
of America is being subdued.
That we're being told
to stop dreaming,
to stop yearning,
and to put down roots.
The American dream is shifting
before our eyes
from one ideal to the next.
[ Dramatic music plays]
Every movie is
a transportive event.
A cyclone carrying us
to another realm.
ROSE: That was Bobby.
Uncle Lyle had a -- a stroke.
[Thunder crashes]
LOWERY: A movie can take us
to another world
and then safely return us home.
Or it can offer us a clear
and more vivid perspective
of the world around us.
Had enough, asshole?
LOWERY: It can dig in
to the world at hand.
Yes, I have.
And I want to apologise
to you gentlemen
for referring to you
as homosexuals.
I also want to thank you fellas.
You've taught me
a valuable lesson in life.
[ Uplifting music plays]
LOWERY: Each of these is
a different type of journey,
but the common ground is
when we watch a movie,
an act of transportation
is occurring.
Many children's films are about
making peace with the fact
that one must find a way
to exist in the world at hand,
that there is not
a better place to go.
[ Speaking Japanese ]
[ Speaking Japanese ]
[ Speaking Japanese ]
LOWERY: We see this in
"Peter Pan" with Never land.
One of the crucial points
of that tale is discovering
that Never land and the
very concept of not growing up
isn't all that
it's cracked up to be.
-Oh, Mother, we're back.
WENDY: All except the Lost Boys.
They weren't quite ready.
-Lost B-- Ready?
-To grow up.
That's why they went
back to Never land.
-Never land?
-Yes, but I am.
Ready to grow up.
LOWERY: We see it in
"Where the Wild Things Are,"
which has a lot
in common with both
"The Wizard of Oz"
and "Peter Pan."
The idea that there may be
a world in which childhood
reigns supreme
and where rules don't apply.
Be still!
[ Dramatic music plays]
LOWERY: And yet,
when Max gets there,
he finds that there's a reason
we have those rules.
Well, because you can't eat me.
You didn't know that,
so I forgive you,
but never try it again.
LOWERY: And there's an
inevitable disappointment
in this,
especially for a young viewer
who wants the fantasy
to be maintained.
LOWERY: I remember feeling this
very profoundly
as a child with
"Beauty and the Beast."
It's me.
LOWERY: When the beast became
a human again,
it was innately disappointing
because now he's just
a normal human.
Of course, when I really thought
about what Belle's life would be
like living with this
half-human half-lion
she'd fallen in love with,
all sorts of practical problems
And they got quite disturbing
quite quickly.
[ Speaking French ]
[ Speaking French ]
LOWERY: And so in some respect,
these narratives are doing us
as children a favour
and gently revealing
that what we perceive
as disappointments
and discomforts
are in fact necessary in order
to both function in the world
and to appreciate it.
Oh, but anyway,
Toto, we're home.
They implicitly promise us
that the journey into adulthood
will not be as bad
as we think it is
and that we don't have
to leave everything behind.
In "Pete's Dragon," the world
that Pete is leaving behind
when he leaves the forest is not
going to be lost to him forever.
[ Uplifting music plays]
[ Roars I
LOWERY: And I think that is what
we have in "Peter Pan" as well.
The idea that growing up
can be just as magical
as living as a child forever,
and perhaps more so
because change can occur
and change can be
a beautiful thing.
You know, I have
the strangest feeling
that I've seen that ship before.
A long time ago
when I was very young.
-George, dear.
LOWERY: Lynch's work definitely
functions across that spectrum
of the ways in which
a film can transport us.
His understanding
of the quotidian is very rooted
in the world
in which he grew up.
"The Straight Story,"
in addition to literally
being about transportation,
is just as transportive
as "Lost Highway"
or "Inland Empire."
But the world that takes us to
has a verisimilitude
that is much more graspable,
You feel like you can
dig your fingers into it.
And I think that's why the film
ultimately is so gentle.
They look at the stars
at the end,
and for a moment you feel that
maybe that's where
you're going, too.
But in reality, you know that
you're just sitting on the porch
in the country on a planet
that is indeed
hurtling through space.
But still you're just
on the porch,
and you know
what that feels like.
Whereas in "Lost Highway,"
Fred Madison
disappears into a dark hallway,
and you have no idea
what might be on the other side
or whether he's going to emerge
in his own house at all.
You're in a seemingly
familiar space,
but as you move through it, you
lose all bearings on reality.
I do feel that what Lynch
is doing in his movies
is indicative of something
that occurs
when we watch "The Wizard of Oz"
repeatedly over our lives.
"The Wizard of Oz"
that I see as a child
is a burst of happiness
with very little at stake.
It's a fairy tale
with a happy ending.
I don't understand yet
the layers
that can be
extrapolated from it,
partially because I'm seeing it
all in black and white,
but also because I'm a child
and I take it at face value.
"The Wizard of Oz" I experienced
as a teenager is different.
I'm a little bit more cynical
now, as teenagers are.
Dorothy? Who's Dorothy?
LOWERY: The idea that you return
to this black-and-white world
at the end,
there's something off about it,
and I don't know what it is yet,
but I can tell that
it's not quite right.
And then later in life,
I began to look at it
as a piece of history,
which I think with any movie
that has endured,
becomes a part
of the text of the film.
At a certain point,
you can't separate the film
from its own history,
and you start to understand
that the world
in which this film was made
was not a happy one.
At first it manifests
in bits of trivia,
like the exploits
of the Munchkins
in the Culver City Hotel,
that they had these Dionysian
parties after hours
and trashed the entire hotel.
There was a lot of them.
Oh, hundreds and thousands.
And they put them all
in one hotel room --
not one room,
one hotel in Culver City.
And they got smashed every night
and they'd pick them up
in butterfly nets.
[ Laughter]
LOWERY: You hear these stories
and you laugh
and you think it's funny,
but it also starts to colour
your understanding
of this seemingly perfect
Technicolor world
in which nothing
is necessarily wrong.
We thank you very sweetly
for doing it so neatly.
You've killed us so completely
that we thank you very sweetly.
The thing that I really got into
was the mythology
around the dead person.
A dead stagehand or a dead
Munchkin who committed suicide
and is supposedly just barely
visible in the finished film,
hanging in the background
on the set.
I had the movie on VHS
and I spent a lot of time
digging through the tape,
rewinding it,
looking for this evidence
that supposedly
existed of someone
who had hung themselves
in the set of a movie
that was regarded
as one of the happiest,
most influential films
for children
of the past 40 or 50 years.
The idea that a movie
could be a bubble,
that it could be
representative of all
that is wholesome in America,
and yet also contain
textual evidence
of the darkest depths of human
misery really fascinated me.
It's like the story
in "3 Men and a Baby."
I had heard that there was
supposedly a ghost of a child
who had died on the sound stage
visible in the finished film,
and I was determined to find it.
Where the hell is he,
milking the cows or something?
LOWERY: I'd heard that this
ghost was visible in a shot
where the camera panned
past a window.
So I remember renting that tape
and rewinding
and fast forwarding
and rewinding
and fast forwarding
and hitting pause and play
and pause and play, looking for
any brightly lit scene
that might have
a window in it.
And eventually I found
what people were talking about,
and it freaked me out
because it looked exactly
like what I feared it might be.
And I also found it
in "The Wizard of Oz,"
and that freaked me out, too.
Here I am looking at a movie
that I've seen
a million times before,
and suddenly I'm seeing
this secret revelation
in these 480 lines of NTSC video
that was meant to be hidden,
that we were meant
to be protected from.
Now, none of this is true,
of course.
It's not actually
a dead stagehand
or a dead Munchkin.
It's a bird or an ostrich
or something.
And the ghost in
"3 Men and a Baby"
is a cardboard cutout.
But once you set aside
these facetious myths
about the dark side
of "The Wizard of Oz,"
you can actually start to unpack
the literal dark side
to the film,
which ranges from the incidents
of the Culver City Hotel to
Judy Garland's own life story.
And these things
colour the movie
in a way that
is impossible to unsee.
It is impossible to separate
the film from them
once you become aware of them.
And that is what I believe
Lynch is doing with his films,
this tarnishing
of the American dream
that exists in the text
of "The Wizard of Oz."
I think that's something
that he's obsessed with.
Here, Scarecrow.
Want to play ball?
[ Cackles ]
LOWERY: It's something that he
must have gone through himself.
-Here's to Ben.
-Here's to Ben.
Hey, neighbour.
Here's to Ben.
Here's to Ben.
Be polite.
Here's to Ben.
LOWERY: I think Lynch accepts
the fact
that we are at all times
surrounded by dark forces.
But he also believes
that they can be subdued.
Goodness will prevail.
He said this very recently
in one of his weather reports.
Great things,
beautiful things are afoot.
I think this is
what he's working towards,
both in his movies
but also in life.
Right now, the thorns
of negativity
are making their last
desperate stand.
But soon they're going to wither
and fall away.
They're going to rot
and disappear.
So don't despair.
Great times are coming
for the United States
and for the whole world family.
LOWERY: I wonder if
ingesting these --
you call them totems,
but I would also just call them
symbols or motifs
from "The Wizard of Oz,"
if he's just regurgitating them
because they've become embedded
in his own cultural lexicon.
[ Sombre music plays ]
What did I tell you? Magic.
LOWERY: As a filmmaker, that's
something I know I certainly do.
In "Pete's Dragon," I was
constantly telling the actors,
"Look up at the sky
with a look of wonder.
What are you looking at?
Doesn't matter.
I'll figure it out later.
Just give me
that look of wonder."
And all I'm doing there
is recapitulating
the Spielberg face,
which has become embedded
in my own psyche
throughout the years of me
loving Spielberg movies
and understanding that
a certain expression can convey
a certain feeling
to the audience.
And if you use it
at just the right time,
you'll achieve an emotional apex
that is almost
universally understood
to mean one thing,
which in this case is wonder.
So if a character
in one of Lynch's movies
is wearing red shoes,
whether or not
we're consciously processing it,
there's a symbolism at hand
that goes further
than his own work.
It goes into
our own understanding
of what those ruby slippers
might have meant
when we first saw them
as a child.
I'm not going
to talk about Judy.
In fact, we're not going to
talk about Judy at all.
We're going to keep her
out of it.
-I know, Coop.
LOWERY: The first movie I saw
that wasn't an animated film
at the movie theatre was "E.T.,"
and I'm still recycling
the things I got from that film.
The first movie I saw in
a cinema at all was "Pinocchio."
I got no strings
to hold me d--
LOWERY: The journey of
The lessons of "Pinocchio."
LOWERY: The darkness
of "Pinocchio."
Mama! Mama!
[ Braying ]
LOWERY: Those are things that I
consistently am coming back to.
[Tense music plays]
Putting together a list
of the movies
that I think had a seismic
effect on the work that I do,
it's not a long list.
Those impressions run deep
and are hard to escape,
and they're so hard to escape
that I think the majority of us
as storytellers
don't try to escape them.
We just dig in deeper.
And in so much
as we're doing that,
we are making the same movie
and telling the same story
"Lost Highway" is a step
towards "Mulholland Drive,"
which is a step towards
"Inland Empire,"
which is a step towards
"Twin Peaks: The Return."
[ Sombre music plays ]
He's working his way
towards that in the same way
that Terrence Ma lick
was working his way
towards "The Tree of Life"
from day one of his career.
[ Mid-tempo music plays ]
And once you realise what
they're digging towards,
you can appreciate their
body of work in a new light
because you understand
what matters to them.
I love the idea of
digging in deeper
and hitting the boundaries
within the work
that we've created
for ourselves,
rather than trying to expand
the horizons around us.
I like the comfort of knowing
that there's always
further inward I can go.
The themes and images
that compel us
are ones we'll keep revisiting,
re-exploring, reinvestigating,
recontextualising, re-everything
because they're the things
that compel us
to be storytellers
in the first place.
We look to the past while also
looking into the future,
and that is a valuable thing
for the culture.
[ Mid-tempo music plays ]
The fact that "The Wizard of Oz"
and David Lynch
can go hand in hand and
communicate with one another,
the fact that we can have
this conversation
about ruby slippers
and "Twin Peaks"
is one of the most beautiful
things about this medium.
LYNCH: We go way, way out.
And we get lost
in the field of relativity.
And the trick is to find
your way home.
You're a beautiful bunch.
Here we go.
On your mark.
Get set. Go.
-Auntie Em!
-Auntie Em?
I must have been dreaming.
It was horrible.
We were on Saturdays.
Andy, you were there.
The log lady was there.
And the Man from Another Place
was there, too.
-Saturdays. That is a bad dream.
Diane, Thursdays
at 9:00, 8:00 Central.
There's no place like home.
LYNCH: Cut it. Off.
[ Mid-tempo music plays ]
MAN: There's no place like home.
There's no place like home.
There's no place like home.
[ Music continues ]
[ Down-tempo music plays ]