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Cult Vault #31: Jennifer Lynch on Dad's in Heaven with Nixon

American director-screenwriter Jennifer Lynch chooses Tom Murray's evocative documentary

Taken from the November 2012 issue of Dazed & Confused:

Jennifer Lynch has garnered a reputation for her fantastical treatment of dark psychological themes. Her first feature, Boxing Helena (1993), about a surgeon who amputates a woman and keeps her torso alive in a box, attracted controversy for its portrayal of Stockholm syndrome. In the soon-tobe-released Chained, in which a serial killer holds a young boy captive, Lynch returns to the tropes of bondage and freedom. In 2010 she made Bollywood fantasy-horror Hisss about a snakewoman; the production spiralled out of control and the fallout was caught on film, resulting in new behind-the-scenes documentary Despite the Gods. The daughter of David and painter Peggy Reavey, Lynch has chosen Tom Murray’s Dad’s in Heaven with Nixon for Dazed’s Cult Vault. 

“This documentary is beautiful, smart, unexpected, and one of the finest observations of family and humanity I’ve ever seen. It’s perfect evidence of how you don’t need to be told how to write a script to tell a story you believe in. It’s a very personal journey, in which Murray talks about his father, a raging alcoholic, and his severely autistic brother, who lives independently and sells his art – paintings of cityscapes – through a New York gallery. Murray tells his story the way I think every story should be told, the way you would tell a friend or lover: with your individual voice. That was a gift given to me by my parents. My father always says, ‘Have a great time Jennifer, and remember: common fucking sense.’ And it’s true, there’s no one way to shoot a film. I honestly believe that the more you pick up a camera, the more you can let go of the idea that there’s a right or wrong way to do it.”