Helmer bows latest at fest

HOLLYWOOD — If a three-hour non-narrative pic is going to unspool at an AFI Fest Centerpiece Gala spread over two non-consecutive nights, it’s fitting that said film be directed by David Lynch.

Eschewing any kind of red-carpet or reception for his “Inland Empire,” helmer was on hand Friday for a brief intro and Monday for a post-screening Q&A, along with pic’s Laura Dern and Justin Theroux.

Lynch identified his favorite tree (the ponderosa pine, with the Douglas fir in second place) but was typically elusive about the film.

“The thing came about in a strange way. I started on just a scene. I wrote the scene and got people together and we shot the scene. Then I got another idea for another scene and it didn’t necessarily relate to the first. This process continued for a while until the whole came together,” he explained.

“As an actor, having worked with David the majority of my adult life, I’ve learned to follow along for the ride,” Dern said. “Regardless of the world he creates, you’re free to stay honest and simple as can be.”

On Friday Lynch appeared just long enough to recite a verse from the Hindu scripture Aitareya Upanishad:

We are like the spider.
We weave our life and then move along in it.
We are like the dreamer
who dreams and then lives in the dream.
This is true for the entire universe.

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