Created by Matt Zoller Seitz
Directed by Judith Carter
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
Todd McGowan launches a provocative exploration of weirdness and fantasy in David Lynch's groundbreaking oeuvre. He studies Lynch's talent for blending the bizarre and the normal to emphasize the odd nature of normality itself. Hollywood is often criticized for distorting reality and providing escapist fantasies, but in Lynch's movies, fantasy becomes a means through which the viewer is encouraged to build a revolutionary relationship with the world.Considering the filmmaker's entire career, McGowan examines Lynch's play with fantasy and traces the political, cultural, and existential impact of his unique style. Each chapter discusses the idea of impossibility in one of Lynch's films, including the critically acclaimed Blue Velvet and The Elephant Man; the densely plotted Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive; the cult favorite Eraserhead; and the commercially unsuccessful Dune. McGowan engages with theorists from the "golden age" of film studies (Christian Metz, Laura Mulvey, and Jean-Louis Baudry) and with the thought of Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, and Hegel. By using Lynch's weirdness as a point of departure, McGowan adds a new dimension to the field of auteur studies and reveals Lynch to be the source of a new and radical conception of fantasy.
MZS.Press is the online arts bookstore founded by author, critic, and filmmaker Matt Zoller Seitz and directed by Judith Carter. It offers new, used, signed, collectible, and rare books on film, TV, music, photography, and the visual arts. The store was launched in 2019 on a different platform and has expanded to incorporate arts books published by MZSPress's private imprint: titles currently include Seitz's The Deadwood Bible: A Lie Agreed Upon and Dreams of Deadwood, about the HBO Western, and Walter Chaw's A Walter Hill Film.
Our deepest wish is to promote, encourage, and distribute work by small presses, academic presses, and individuals. Extraordinary work tends to get swallowed up on giant platforms like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The store's inventory of nearly 1000 volumes is currently in the process of being reconstructed after its relocation from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Dallas, Texas. The titles featured here are personally selected by a group of curators and advisors, including Seitz, Carter, and an array of critics, artists, journalists, educators, publishers, and arts mavens who are known for their ability to suss out what Seitz's jazz musician dad liked to call "the good sh*t."
“Please. Have mercy. I’ve been wearing the same underwear since Tuesday.”
Matt Zoller Seitz
Critic, Author, Filmmaker, MZS Press Creator
Matt Zoller Seitz is the Editor at Large and film critic of RogerEbert.com; a staff writer for New York Magazine and Vulture.com, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism. His writing on film and TV has appeared in Sight and Sound, The New York Times, Salon.com, The New Republic and Rolling Stone. Seitz is the founder and original editor of the influential film blog The House Next Door, now a part of Slant Magazine.
Seitz has written, narrated, edited or produced over a hundred hours’ worth of video essays about cinema history and style for The Museum of the Moving Image, Salon.com and Vulture, among other outlets. His five-part 2009 video essay Wes Anderson: The Substance of Style was spun off into the hardcover book The Wes Anderson Collection. This book and its follow-up, The Wes Anderson Collection: Grand Budapest Hotel were New York Times bestsellers.
Other Seitz books include the New York Times bestellers The Sopranos Sessions and Mad Men Carousel; TV (The Book), The Deadwood Bible: A Lie Agreed Upon, and the forthcoming The Wes Anderson Collection: The French Dispatch. He is also an interviewer, moderator, and film programmer who has curated and hosted film and TV presentations for the Museum of the Moving Image, IFC Center, San Francisco's Roxie Cinema, and other venues. He is currently working on a memoir about his marriages and a feature-length documentary about his father, jazz musician and composer Dave Zoller.
His hobbies include exotic dancing, moonwalking, and affixing masking tape labels to every food item in the refrigerator, including eggs. He has the attention span of a gnat.