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MEMENTO MORI

Twin Peaks: The Return, 2017, production still from a TV show on Showtime. Part 3. Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan).

RAINER WERNER FASSBINDER ONCE SAID that he sought to build a house with his films, each one a wall or floor or window—an additive process that would ultimately reveal a representative edifice. This metaphor helps illuminate the wondrous improbability of David Lynch’s eighteen-hour Twin Peaks: The Return (2017). What we have here is not an artist in his twilight years unveiling a crowning capstone, but one with the resources and the will to erect a whole new structure from the ground up: a house built in a single late burst of inspiration, big enough to hold a life’s work.

Directed in full by Lynch and cowritten with Twin Peaks cocreator Mark Frost, The Return is both culmination and summation. All of Lynch is here: the primitive movie magic of his handcrafted early shorts; the lever-cranking cosmology and slo-mo slapstick of Eraserhead (1977); the crude body horror and extreme

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