It’s hard to envision a Cannes Film Festival audience booing legendary art house filmmaker David Lynch, especially after his standing ovation for Twin Peaks: The Return in 2017. But reports from the 1992 Cannes Film Festival tell a story of angry audiences shaming aloud a pivotal chapter in David Lynch’s filmography. There are also conflicting reports saying it never happened. Even director Quentin Tarantino chimed in to lay waste to the film. Regardless of hearsay, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me definitely bombed at the box office and with film critics alike.
Fast forward to 2017 and Fire Walk With Me has received a definitive Blu-Ray release from the Criterion Collection and is considered a high-art cult classic and an unmissable chapter within the Twin Peaks universe. Creator David Lynch is happy to gloat about having been right along.
According to Deadline, the director definitely suffered some personal blows from the original reception of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, but is now all smiles about having only suffered the blowback of outsiders, as he has always personally loved the film.
“With Fire Walk With Me, it didn’t go over well at the time, but I loved it so I only died once, for the commercial failure and the reviews and things. But, over time, it’s changed. So now, people have revisited that film, and they feel differently about it. When a thing comes out, the feeling in the world — you could call it the collective consciousness — is a certain way, and so it dictates how the thing’s going to go. Then the collective consciousness changes and people come around. Look at Van Gogh: the guy could not sell one painting and now nobody can afford them.”
Lynch wasn’t as kind to his previous adaptation of Dune, which even he has disowned, even seeming to call himself a sellout for having made it the way he did.
“‘Dune,’ I sold out on that early on, because I didn’t have final cut, and it was a commercial failure, so I died two times with that.”
Although the pressure of the box office seems to be lessened by the director’s new home within the medium of television, he admits he still misses theatrical releases. Lynch mourned — for himself as well as audiences — the loss of quality picture and sound accompanying his transition to the small screen.
“Feature films have fallen on hard times these days. And it’s sad, but it’s the reality. I always say now, cable television is the new arthouse. People have freedom and can make a continuing story. It’s pretty beautiful, but it’s not the big screen, so there’s a little bit of sorrow in the picture and a little bit of sorrow in the sound.”
David Lynch has made some of the most critically revered works of the past five decades. In the ’70s, Eraserhead pulled midnight audiences to theaters in huge crowds. In the ’80s, The Elephant Man earned the director his first Oscar nomination. The decade also saw the release of Blue Velvet, considered by many to be a classic. In the ’90s, Lynch changed television forever with Twin Peaks and surprised critics and audiences alike by — of all things — adhering to convention in making The Straight Story, a critical powerhouse. In 2001, Mulholland Drive once again earned Lynch an Oscar nod, and the film is cited by numerous critics as the greatest film so far this century. Contemporary television audiences received Twin Peaks: The Return last year, which is getting considerable Emmy buzz. It’s safe to say that David Lynch is probably better than content with his place in the world of filmmaking.
Next week, Lynch has a memoir being released, Room To Dream. The book totaling nearly 600 pages is already garnering positive reviews and numerous pre-orders.
Room To Dream is due out June 19, 2018.