A fragmented, self-important film noir veneration of a Hollywood icon; that's Meditation, Creativity, Peace. Though the Eat, Pray, Love-esque title might imply that it's a movie that champions positive personal gain through meditation, it instead only seems to advocate one thing: David Lynch.
As part of III Points Festival this weekend, Lynch's 2012 documentary film about Transcendental Meditation (TM) was screened at the Light Box at Goldman Warehouse and preceded by nine short films curated and commissioned by Miami film collective Borscht. What Lynch's film seemed to lack in color, vividness and physicality, Borscht more than made up for with their off-the-wall, stunningly graphic pieces.
The Light Box was bathed in pink light as festival guests streamed in to take their seats. First up on Borscht's short film schedule was Spectre in Wire, a quasi-acid trip exploration of life on the water as well as under it that was shot on Google Glass. A collaboration between Dylan Romer, Dim Past and Coral Morphologic, Spectre gave the audience a taste of the absurdity to come, and kicked off a host of cerebral mind fucks.
The transition into more darkly poignant films began with #PostModem, characterized best by the lyric "Who needs physical when you've got digital?" and bolstered by a slew of intensely visual (think forehead tech implants and full-frontal bush) scenes. The satirical sci-fi pop-musical tells the story of two Miami girls dealing with technological singularity. It screened at the Borscht Film Festival last year, and was hailed by HuffPost as one of the "Ten Most Stunning Independent Movies at the [Sundance Film] Festival."
After a flock of lethargic shorts, C#CKFIGHT, a Julian Yuri Rodriguez work that also screened at the Borscht Film Fest last year, shocked the audience back to life. Extraordinary cinematography lent an almost too-personal feel to the rape of a defeated underground fight club member by a leather-bound masochist, leaving some spectators in tears.
The last Borscht segment was a teaser from The Voice Thief, a work in progress by Adan Jodorowsky, son of filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, wherein the husband of a scorned opera singer goes to great lengths to appease his vindictive wife. The unfinished film, which relies heavily on a strong color palette and staggering imagery, will be properly premiered within the next few months.
And then there was Lynch. And more Lynch. And even more. Shot by film students and a David Lynch Foundation Television camera crew, Meditation, Creativity, Peace took an inspiring concept and inlayed it with black tar - literally. With filming reminiscent of Citizen Kane (deep shadows, subject being shot from underneath in reverent cult leader style), the documentary is more self-promotional than transcendental.
The image of Lynch in a studio drawing out the difference between mind and matter is a striking one. In these parts of the film, he speaks about the way TM works and how it helps individuals "turn the mind and awareness within." He is beautifully involved in sketching an actual picture with which viewers can identify, demonstrating the way "you go behind thought."
Unfortunately, this organic, genuine premise is wholly drowned out. The rest of the film is comprised of dark video of Lynch talking to crowds, a surprisingly unimaginative way to visualize a 16-country tour. Each country blends into the other as Lynch fields questions and comments about everything from his creative process to how much people like him to the meaning of life ("Totality. Everything. More than the most. Supreme enlightenment").
Documentaries are essentially "show and tell". You bring your facts, you bring your B roll and you bring your main point and nail it home. Lynch only did 1/3 of the work, and it shows. His thesis got lost somewhere in transcendental translation, leaving audiences to see his belief rather than feel it.