Leave it to artist/filmmaker David Lynch to not be left behind in the tsunami that has become online communicitainment. While many filmmakers are busy trying to figure out how to Twitter or Facebook or Myspace, Lynch has just gone and exploited the medium entirely, not bringing us more of what we already know, but by bringing us something we rarely see anymore — real people.
The way we view people is becoming more and more altered. We see poses in pictures, carefully cultivated videos all the while keeping up with our friends and acquaintances via fairly meaningless status updates. But somehow, like all powerful artists do, Lynch has cut through it all with a clean knife.
Lynch’s team includes his son Austin and producer Jason S., who initially brought the project to Lynch. They clearly needed Lynch’s iconic name and influence to bring this off, but all of that said, whatever it took, what has emerged is something truly exceptional, unique and worthy of our time and attention.
The Interview Project interviews one person per day for an entire year. The interviews are short — they’d have to be, wouldn’t they? The bounce rate of most things on the web is very high. What would compel anyone to want to watch a total stranger speak about their lives? These aren’t reality stars who are suddenly hogging the gossip sites. These are just people.
Our country is full of people who aren’t on anyone’s radar. The human experience dictates that we get wiser as we get older, that we are the combination of our experiences. In Hollywood, this experience is often fashioned into a happy ending, or somehow redone to make aging the worst possible thing to happen to a person. The Interview Project, though, shows that aging is a necessary part of the experience, both in how we physically look and in how we see our lives.
A recent interviewee who spends his time in a motorized chair with his beloved and devoted poodle on his lap, said that he never contributed anything meaningful to mankind and thus would never be remembered. But he had such a great time, he said, that he would be known only for that. And that was okay with him.
It’s the truth, isn’t it? As subtle as a flower blooming and dying, as profound as a great novel. It is all done without embellishment. It is a comfort for those of us who are finding life moving just a wee bit too fast. It is a curious zoo for those who are too young to yet know what life feels like when you turn your significant corners.
By combining art, film and the web, Lynch and co. have maximized what this tool we have our disposal is best used for. Information, after all, comes in different ways. It isn’t all news and it isn’t all entertainment.