Fifteen years after serving as the Jury President here at the Cannes Film Festival, and 27 years after collecting the Palme d’Or for Wild at Heart, David Lynch returned to the Grand Theatre Lumiere tonight with the two-hour premiere of his Showtime series Twin Peaks and received a huge five-minute standing ovation.
Tonight’s ovation was one of the lengthier ones at this year’s festival, on par with last night’s premiere of Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled and a minute longer than Netflix’s Okja.
The moment Lynch hit the red carpet, those in the GTL erupted with huge cheers, outstripping the applause that even Will Smith received when he stepped out of his car for the Cannes Film Festival 70th Anniversary on Tuesday night. In attendance with Lynch was wife and Twin Peaks star Emily Stofle, as well as Agent Dale Cooper himself, star Kyle MacLachlan with his wife Project Runaway EP Desiree Gruber. Technically, it’s the second time that Twin Peaks has been to Cannes: Lynch brought the prequel feature film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, that he made to the Palais in 1992.
Thierry Fremaux doesn’t always take the stage before every screening, only during special occasions (i.e. DreamWorks Animation’s 20th Anniversary, Robert De Niro’s tribute last year during Hands of Stone). The Cannes film festival director did so tonight.
“It’s wonderful to have friends in town who have helped write the history of the event. Lynch, who won the Palme d’Or for Wild at Heart in 1990 and has gone on to be a festival fixture winning Best Director for 2005’s Mulholland Drive, is adored here,” said Fremaux. Then in a wink to this year’s controversy surrounding the inclusion of content not originally made for the big screen (which includes Top of the Lake: China Girl, the TV series by another Palme d’Or winner Jane Campion), Fremaux mused “If he had done a two-minute animated documentary we would have invited him. The return of David Lynch behind the camera is an event.” Both Top of the Lake and Twin Peaks are part of the festival’s 70th Anniversary events. During January’s TCA when Showtime made their Twin Peaks presentation, the network didn’t have any plans to take the Lynch series to Cannes.
Responding to Fremaux, Lynch yelled back, “I love Cannes,” at which point a lone female voice in the balcony section shouted back, “And we love you too!”While any title playing in or out of competition, Director’s Fortnight or Critics’ Week aims to get its fair share of global press, Lynch and Showtime limited the amount of PR they’re doing here for Twin Peaks, especially when compared to Top of the Lake: China Girl. There is no press conference for Twin Peaks, nor is there an international press day. Lynch attended Tuesday night’s 70th Anniversary Event and did photo ops with 12 other Palme d’Or winning directors, and of course, the premiere was tonight. This is largely because Showtime did their blitzkrieg for Twin Peaks stateside surrounding its premiere there.
Lynch himself was selected as one of this year’s Deadline Disruptors and featured in our annual Cannes Film Festival publication. Also, as one observer pointed out tonight about keeping the lid on Twin Peaks in Cannes, “The first two episodes are really an overture to something bigger, and David would be bombarded with all these questions of what’s bound to happen in the series, and he can’t really spoil that.”
Nancy Tartaglione contributed to this article.