“They say real love is a banana, sweet with a golden hue.”
After it premiered at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris, November 2017, for the director’s birthday this year Netflix dropped David Lynch‘s surreal noir black & white short, starring Lynch himself, as a hard-boiled detective, interrogating a fugitive capuchin monkey on a murder of someone called Max Clegg (possibly a rabbit), and all over a chicken by the name of Toototabon, whom the monkey Jack Cruz (as himself) is crazy in love with.
Yes, that’s right. It was a crime of passion. And I believe Jack’s amorous fever pitch (from his superimposed human mouth, and Lynchian timbre) like I’d believe my own.
Then the monkey sings a torch song. Literally. True Love’s Flame. Before his own longing undoes him.
What Did Jack Do? is heartbreaking, hilarious, and immensely elegant, all at the same time, in its highly idiosyncratic sleepwalker logic, and theatre of the absurd tricks – a man and a monkey, in an austere room at a train station, stylishly outwitting one another until the chickens come home to roost (pun intended). There are also staple cups of coffee involved, served by a wistful waitress in a small black uniform and white lace apron (Emily Stofle).
The cut-up, disjointed bits of dialogue are like fished from a hypnotic opium dream, yet fitting the P. Marlowe canon perfectly, as if Bogart himself rose from the dead, got hammered, and dictated his heartfelt last will and testament in cinema-speak to a no nonsense bartender just before closing time.
It takes a Lynch to restore one’s faith in film as medium, and its capabilities as an art form to once again transform into something mysterious, illuminating, and worthy of awe.