“Lynch/Oz”

This film was screened at Fantastic Fest

Director Alexandre O. Philippe’s documentary “Lynch/Oz” offers a comprehensive analysis of director David Lynch’s obsession with the beloved classic “The Wizard of Oz” and the influence it had on his entire body of work. Throughout his filmmaking career, Lynch has paid tribute to the 1939 classic sometimes quietly (“Twin Peaks”) and sometimes in over-the-top ways (“Wild at Heart”). This documentary takes a look at the director’s films through the lens of Oz, analyzing every curtain, crystal ball, and use of wind and smoke. It’s surprising how strong of a template this proves to be, as the Oz connections fit many (if not most) of his films.

This is a documentary born from the social media generation. It feels more like a YouTube video than a feature length film, consisting of clips from Lynch’s directorial catalog next to similar scenes from “The Wizard of Oz,” and a few archival video interviews of the director talking about his body of work. It’s an assemblage of clips paired with voice-over narration (from the likes of David Lowery, John Waters, Karyn Kusama, and Rodney Asher, among others) that lacks much heft or insight.

One warning: if you have not seen all of David Lynch’s films, this documentary is a source of dozens of spoilers. Crucial scenes are shown and story lines ruined, so proceed at your own risk. I cannot imagine why anyone who wasn’t a Lynch aficionado would watch this tribute, but those who aren’t diehard fans should prepare for a rude awakening in the spoiler department.

Some of Philippe’s comparisons are a bit of a stretch, especially when proclaiming most of Lynch’s characters are parallels to Dorothy, and his analysis gets too specific and reads like an obsessive’s senior thesis or a basic film 101 presentation at a conference or university lecture hall. “Lynch/Oz” is just okay as far as documentaries go, and it feels more like a C+ grade film class project than anything else.

By: Louisa Moore

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