Movie fans everywhere know who David Lynch is. (And if you don’t, well, you’ve got problems.) Heck, even casual film lovers can recite many of his famous works: the seminal ’80s classic Blue Velvet; the ABC series Twin Peaks, which ruled pop culture for a brief time in 1990; and the original Dune, which is one of the most perplexing bombs of all time. Most people know what “Lynchian” means and know what it stands for: bizarre imagery, dreamlike states, and narratives so opaque they are barely there at all.
Lynch hasn’t made a narrative movie since 2006’s Inland Empire, so the appetite for anything new from the veteran filmmaker is stronger than ever. Maybe that’s why a “lost” work by Lynch was recently talked about and shared widely on Twitter. I use the term “lost” loosely here since it’s always been floating in the digital ephemera, just waiting to be watched for the first time or the fifth. And I also use the word “film” loosely, as it’s not a feature-length film but a 60-second commercial for the PlayStation 2.
Yes, that’s right, Lynch helped Sony sell PS2s in 2000, and he did it with his trademark bizarre, faintly nightmarish style. In the commercial, there are no PS2s in sight; instead, there’s simply a man walking down a mysterious hallway who encounters another version of himself giving a thumbs-up sign (in an apparent nod to Dale Cooper and Twin Peaks), a woman floating in outer space telling him to be quiet, and a giant talking duck (who spits out the name of the commercial, Welcome to the Third Place) and a mummy sitting on a couch with his doppelganger. Also, the man’s head also floats away from his body, reattaches itself, and then spits out an arm. Hey, it happens.
What does this have to do with the PlayStation 2? I honestly don’t know, except maybe it promises the PS2 can transport you to mysterious places like Lynch does with all of his movies and short films. You have to give Sony credit here; they let Lynch run his freak flag with apparently no restrictions, and as the BTS video below shows, the director had a ball shooting it.
Lynch made more commercials for Sony and other brands as diverse as Gucci, Barilla Pasta, Alka-Seltzer, Honda, and the American Cancer Society. Most of those are worth tracking down and watching just to see the director take corporate money and make his own weird art shorts that make no sense whatsoever. As any Lynch fan knows, traditional narratives and easily-consumable imagery are overrated anyway.
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