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The Super Fun of It

David Lynch’s Inland Empire comes out on DVD this week. Nathan Lee chats with the director about digital video, putrefied experiences, and tapioca.

As for “Quinoa,” which begins with the filmmaker preparing a recipe based on the hearty grain, then morphs into a beguiling lesson on how to cook up a story, Lynch merely notes: “Well, you know, there’s all these cooking shows. But I don’t cook. I know how to make tapioca from when I was little, and rigatoni because I learned how to make rigatoni. But now I know how to make quinoa. So I did kind of a cooking thing.

“The chef does not make the fish,” Lynch continues. “The chef can prepare that fish and really make it a great meal—a beautiful, you know, thing—but the chef doesn’t make the fish. It’s like you are going along down the street and you get an idea, and it’s a thrilling thing, it’s the whole thing, and it might be a fragment, but that fragment is complete. So you go into this process where more ideas hook onto it, and the more ideas you have, the quicker the rest come to join it. They become like bait, and you just stay true to those ideas. And where intuition comes in is, you’re translating this idea to film and it’s not quite right. Like on a violin note—if you lean a little bit harder on that note, it feels correct, and if you back off a little bit, it doesn’t feel correct. And if you follow this thing, staying true to idea, intuition is your friend. You walk away when it feels correct.”

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