“He wrote me that only one film had been capable of portraying impossible memory, insane memory”

I wanted to post this conversation because I’ve found it fascinating to see one of my friends processing Lynch’s Inland Empire from screening to screening, and I love his interpretation of the plot (moreso than I enjoyed watching the film).  Hope this conversation continues as he intends to watch it yet again…

He wrote me that only one film had been capable of portraying impossible
by Antonius Block (Mon Feb 19 2007 13:31:51)
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UPDATED Mon Feb 19 2007 13:56:12

…memory, insane memory. [Why couldn’t that fit?]Inland Empire (2006) –David Lynch
In Theater http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0460829/
As I was stumbling out of the theater after my first viewing of this beast of a film, one thought kept playing through my mind like a broken record: The cinema is dead. Long live the cinema.
(Later, I literally jumped out of my chair when I read Village Voice critic Nathan Lee’s comments on the film, which ended with the exact same phrase!)

What can I even say about Inland Empire? Lynch has long been fascinated with the extremes of human experience; from the horrific, the disturbing, the violent, to the serene, the blissful, the sublime. Several of his past films blend these elements together through nightmarish narratives that illustrate Milton’s maxim, that long is the way, and hard, that out of hell leads up to light.

But there’s nothing that approaches this.

To call Inland Empire labyrinthine would be a grave understatement; the “plot” of this movie is so fragmentary, so unraveled, that the resulting film teeters on the very brink of narrative cinema; it’s experienced less as a mystery than as a succession of sensations – most of them unpleasant – that taken together give the impression of a nightmare without the cohesiveness of one. And in that sense, this is the ultimate Lynchian film, because its lack of plot cohesiveness moves it so far into the realm of the experimental that it forces us to experience the film at an intuitive level that defies literal interpretation.

(That is, perhaps, entirely wrong – after all, it took several viewings of Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive for the cohesiveness of those to really come through, and when it did, their power grew immensely – but it’s something I will only discover over time.)

There is one major difference: I hated Inland Empire. At least, while I was watching it. Everything I feared about the poor, amateurish look of digital video was manifested in this movie, and the longer I stared at it, the uglier it seemed to become, until I could no longer differentiate my disgust for the technology from the repulsiveness of this nightmare. I was very much like the Polish girl – who seems to serve the same god-like role as the man in the planet in Eraserhead or the homeless guy behind Winkie’s in Mulholland Drive – watching this film within the film unfold before her eyes, with one tear drop forever running down her cheek. And yet…

And yet, by the time it finished, and for reasons I can only begin to fathom, let alone explain, I found myself devastated by the mercurial beauty of it all, as if the film had somehow alchemized itself; the resplendent finale created an inner peace.

Of course, I haven’t even begun to really think about the film itself; the manner in which it recycles Rabbits, incorporates the mysterious Axxon N. that once upon a time was set to be a short series on Lynch’s website like the former, how it keeps returning to scenes or situations that act like framing devices, as if the entire film were a series of concentric circles closing in on one center: the eye. Or about the parallels it draws between whoring and acting, or how it seems to conflate and multiply characters – or even about the effect of the digital video itself, which at once seems to emboss each warped close-up with an almost holy glow and at the same time makes the images so soft and malleable that they seem to defy our ability as audience members to grasp them with our eyes, to hold them up for scrutiny as if in the palms of our hands, as one can with the sharpness and vividness of film. Ironically, despite the added potential that digital video makes possible for filmmakers, it reduces the power that we as audience members have traditionally held over the image, changing nothing less than the very way that we see. The impact of this is huge, as evidenced in this picture, where the haziness of the images imparts the entire film with a wraithlike quality, as if in a dream where things move in and out of focus. Many will hate this – it’s not an easy thing to accept, especially for those of us who fell in love with Lynch’s work in part because of the beauty of his filmic images – but there’s no denying the pertinence to the material.

If I’m to be entirely honest with myself, I can’t say that I like this movie. But it might be a masterpiece.

Word is it’s staying around my city for a couple of weeks. I’ll try to say something more after a few additional viewings.

Re: He wrote me that only one film had been capable of portraying imposs
by alsolikelife (Tue Feb 20 2007 09:16:02)
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(That is, perhaps, entirely wrong – after all, it took several viewings of Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive for the cohesiveness of those to really come through, and when it did, their power grew immensely – but it’s something I will only discover over time.)

Let me ask you this — did you enjoy watching these films the first time? Regardless of how much I “got” of MULHOLLAND DRIVE, I enjoyed it immensely from the first time I watched it. I can’t say the same for INLAND EMPIRE — my reaction to that one was more like the cold admiration Hal expresses for Bresson — and I can’t even say that I admired the filmmaking craft in INLAND EMPIRE (maybe because, next to MULHOLLAND DRIVE, I didn’t really see any).

I like your descriptions of the video imaging a lot. At the same time I can’t help but be a little resentful that your account supports my general suspicions that both this video feature and video as a respectable medium are suddenly getting all this acceptance because of the name above the title. If it was anyone else (and there have been many artists using this medium for years, doing work even more off the deep-end than this, and no one’s lining up to watch them several times over to parse out the meaning of their works…)

On a happier note, I should mention that Pedro Costa’s COLOSSAL YOUTH makes a much more persuasive and beautiful use of digital video that blends documentary realism with Lynchian surrealism into a compelling whole. Actually the Lynchian parts are what I had problems with, but it may do wonders for you. I had a somewhat similar experience with this film to yours with INLAND EMPIRE — I wasn’t enjoying some parts but afterwards it all seemed to come together into one powerful emotion that stays with me even now. And best of all, unlike Lynch, it’s about real people, which makes the surreal parts all the more compelling. Hope it makes it over to you at your next film fest, which I believe is right around the corner?

I watched Inland Empire again last night
by Antonius Block (Tue Feb 20 2007 14:33:19)
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And this time around, my “disgust” was really toned down from when I first saw it. I guess I was able to accept the look of the movie for what it was, and by the time it got to that ending scene (before the krazy kredits stuff), I was all shivers.And though the structure here is even more complicated than his previous works (I think), I’m beginning to form a general sense of what’s going on. It’s funny, because — and this gets to what you’re saying — we have this natural desire to interpret, to make sense out of the world, and yet I firmly believe that Lynch wants these films to remain cryptic at a narrative level. But at least in the cases of Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive, the interpretations I’ve arrived at (that are amalgamations of my own ideas and those I’ve read) significantly increase both their emotional power and my respect for the way he restructures narrative. Which isn’t original in and of itself (I think Meshes of the Afternoon is the single most important predecessor to these works), but combined with his perfectionist technique (at least half of which is sound design), it makes for an incredibly affecting experience — and manages to reveal things both personal and about the genres/styles he is drawing on, both of which appeal to me. I guess what I’m getting at is this desire to have my cake and eat it too: to be analytical and intuitive at the same time, and these films really engage me at both levels.Anyway, without having read any other interpretations, here’s what I’m thinking as a general framework to what’s going on (this may or may not interest you, but I feel the need to write it down): Most of the film is an imaginary dramatization of the descent into prostitution of a Polish wife. Her husband is impotent, she has an affair with another man, becomes pregnant, and during her pregnancy the other man’s wife stabs her with a screwdriver, killing her unborn child. Her husband leaves her, and she turns to prostitution. While sitting on a bed and watching television in a seedy hotel room, she re-imagines herself as the Laura Dern character, a successful Hollywood actress being offered a new role, but gradually the part she is playing and her own past experiences leading up to her current situation become inseparable, and she relives her trauma in this dream that disintegrates into nightmare as parts of her real life infiltrate the dream, first as Laura Dern the actress — through the flickering electricity — finds herself among the other prostitutes, and later as Laura Dern the prostitute finds herself out on the street with them, which is the same street that the Polish woman worked herself. When she’s Laura Dern, she’s still somewhat into her dream and she’s working Hollywood and Vine instead of whatever crummy street in Poland she’s really on. The ending (in the hallway, behind the Axxon N. door) can be seen in the same light as the ending to Eraserhead, as a kind of catharsis once she has destroyed (however imaginarily) the source of her troubles.


Let me ask you this — did you enjoy watching these films the first time? Regardless of how much I “got” of MULHOLLAND DRIVE, I enjoyed it immensely from the first time I watched it. I can’t say the same for INLAND EMPIRE — my reaction to that one was more like the cold admiration Hal expresses for Bresson — and I can’t even say that I admired the filmmaking craft in INLAND EMPIRE (maybe because, next to MULHOLLAND DRIVE, I didn’t really see any).

Yes — although what I disliked initially about Inland Empire was 99% related to the DV itself; I suspect if the same ‘film’ had been shot on film, I wouldn’t be having such a bumpy start (though at the same time, I’m not sure I’d put it at the level of those other two in that case, either).

Anyway, during my second viewing — which I was sober for (I should have mentioned that for that first viewing, I went to a bar across the street and downed several drinks in the 15 minutes preceding the start) — I was a lot more impressed with the technique. In particular, I loved the constant, distorted close-ups that look like they were shot through wide angle lenses and have a slightly less obvious fish-eye effect. I’m thinking of that initial premonitory scene with the new Polish neighbor who looks like she just came from her facelift, and these distorted, extreme close-ups of her suck you right into every word she says. Though in general there’s a nearness to the characters in this movie that seems even more pronounced than in his previous work — an hypnotic effect that has to fight against the Brechtian pixellation of the digital video.

On the other hand, I was even more struck by how much seems recycled from his previous films — not just things like Rabbits but even many of the shots or scenes were things I had seen before: the scene where Laura Dern and Justin Theroux rehearse one of their scenes in front of Jeremy Irons and Harry Dean Stanton is just like Naomi Watts’ rehearsal in MD (only not quite so intense); the way the prostitute says “thanks” in that affected, all-american style; the scene where Theroux is given advice from the Polish husband about the consequences of his actions (which is what the whole surreal second half of the movie strikes me as being) is so much like the cowboy’s advice to Theroux in MD; the scene where Laura Dern is lit so whorishly and whispers how they have to be careful, how she thinks her husband knows, is almost copied verbatim from a shot in Lost Highway; etc. I could go on and on like this.


At the same time I can’t help but be a little resentful that your account supports my general suspicions that both this video feature and video as a respectable medium are suddenly getting all this acceptance because of the name above the title. If it was anyone else (and there have been many artists using this medium for years, doing work even more off the deep-end than this, and no one’s lining up to watch them several times over to parse out the meaning of their works…)

I totally understand where you’re coming from, as an independent digital video filmmaker yourself. I will say though that I think DV is fine for documentaries, where we usually are asked to be aware of the fact that we are watching a film anyway (unlike a lot of fiction).

I should say, though, that the things I suspect most people mean by “Lynchian” (i.e., strange people doing strange sh*t) do not by themselves appeal to me; I’m interested more in his visual and aural style and how he plays with narrative and is able to express a personal vision through these surreal things; the surrealism itself is only a means to an end, as far as I’m concerned. (Though I realize that for many people the insanity of it all is the underlying appeal.)

Having said that, you are one of the few people I will take a personalized recommendation from at face value (as are most of the people here; unlike the people I know in my daily life), so if there are any filmmakers in particular that you would care to promote along these lines that I may not be familiar with, feel free to tell me.

Colossal Youth sounds pretty interesting. And yes, our upcoming festival should arrive in a couple of months, though it will only be 1/3 of its usual size, apparently because there will be a larger festival later in the year. But I’m friends with the guy who runs it, so I’ll try to mention it to him.

Author: alsolikelife

This is my pet project

  • alsolikelife

    I’m eager to continue the conversation here on my blog. And so… Antonius!

    I think I enjoyed reading your interpretation of the “plot” of INLAND EMPIRE more than I enjoyed watching the film! But the thing is that it did make me want to see the film again, as your connections of the pieces of the film make a lot of sense to what I remember. I wonder if the elderly lady that Laura Dern welcomes to her home at the beginning is in fact the Polish actress/prostitute whose life trajectory you outline — it would explain what she’s doing in LA.

    Regarding the technique — I wrote in my NYFF review: “He’s overly dependent on extreme close-ups, and with the often banal, oddly arrhythmic line readings and overly portentous synth soundtrack, it often feels like a parody of a Lynch movie, straining really hard for effect.” Somehow the use of video made his stylistic devices feel more exaggerated and, to my mind, gimmicky, which is what I was getting at with the parody remark. So it seems I had the opposite reaction to it than you did — I felt repulsed by it as a stylistic affectation rather than a hypnotic way to draw me in. And I definitely agree with you that the film felt like a recycling of elements in past Lynch films.

    re: video artists that deserve more attention… funny, I can’t think of any off the top of my head! But definitely COLOSSAL YOUTH is worth checking out. There are not a few directors like Pedro Costa who’ve built their reputation with film but have done interesting things with the video medium – there’s Abbas Kiarostami in TEN and Jia Zhangke’s last three films, especially STILL LIFE. Another Chinese director whose video work I like a lot is Cui Zi’en — I’d be curious if his films make it to one of your local festivals. But I think I will have to open this question up to others… stay tuned. And I *might* revisit INLAND EMPIRE to see how I feel differently, esp. in light of your comments. But I should also catch up with the Lynch films I haven’t seen, two of which are on my project to-see list.

    Look forward to hearing what more you have to say after viewing #3!

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  • Antonius

    Thanks for resuscitating this discussion over here, Kevin. For the benefit of anyone else reading this, I guess I should mention that the subject heading quote (taken from Marker’s Sans Soleil) was in reference to a totally different film that I was discussing in that same initial post; nevertheless, it does seem to connect to Inland Empire in some ways, too.

    So about ten days later I’ve just had my third dosage of IE, and at this point the “ugliness” isn’t even registering. I’m beginning to feel like Beauty once she uncovered the prince hidden underneath the Beast. The images look the way I now expect them to; I recognize them without wishing they were more vibrant or crisp. And perhaps because of that, or perhaps because this time around I had a framework in mind to test, I was able to immerse myself within the world and emotions of this film more fully than I had with either of my first two viewings. Far from hating it, I found that actually I quite love this movie.

    Looking at it a bit more closely, I think that general framework I suggested in that last post holds together for the most part. Many of the more surreal elements make sense in this light. For example, the scene(s) in which the prostitutes line up and start ‘doing the locomotion’ as if they were in a musical matches a later, more ‘realistic’ scene in which they are sitting around listening to music. The musical number, which obviously relates to Hollywood, is an embellishment of the latter. At this point, her ‘imaginary dramatization’ has slightly unraveled through the presence of the prostitutes, but her reality is still being filtered through this dreamlike fantasy. What makes the film so challenging is that it seems to have so many layers, and layers within layers, some of which seem to overlap, so any given moment exists more on a spectrum than to any reality/fantasy dichotomy.

    Some of the motifs are really interesting, too. The electricity; the guiding lights. I love how the two women (the real and the imaginary) meet at the end, only after each looks at a screen that, after many previous images, finally synchronizes with the actual reality of the scene before them, as if this sense of not knowing today from yesterday from tomorrow had finally balanced out (Zizek will have a field day with this). Little things like the way the Polish woman’s hands are poised after Laura Dern evaporates before her, which mirrors a shot of I believe a painting of someone’s hands in the same position in the background of an earlier scene. Or the blurred faces in the opening scene and the blurriness of the Polish man she has an affair with after Laura Dern shoots him several times and his brilliant head just seems to float there, as if it had absorbed a ray of blinding light, right after she finds the hallway through the guiding lights of the stairway (and the homeless woman who ‘shows her light’). It’s repeated even in throwaway scenes like the one where Jeremy Irons is trying to get his offscreen technician, Bucky, to lower a light (a humorous homage to Dr. Strangelove, I suspect), or when the Naomi Watts rabbit comes out holding these two candles as if taking part in some demonic ritual (which is again doubled on the dinner table in the scene where the Polish husband can hear but not see his wife).

    And then there’s the sound design, as finely orchestrated as ever. Patricia Arquette once said that Lynch directs musically; he’s always listening to a soundtrack in one ear and the diegetic sound through the other when directing scenes, and I think this synchronous marriage of image to (often extreme) sound is what makes these films especially alluring. My favorite moment here is probably when Julia Ormond comes from behind and stabs Luara Dern with her own screwdriver, and these wailing alarm-like sounds come bursting out of the soundtrack like pangs of agony. Although for sheer emotional effect, the glorious song (Polish Poem, by Chrysta Bell; an original song which doesn’t seem commercially available in any format) that we hear a snippet of at the beginning, but reprises in full throughout the entire end (until the credits), absolutely crushes me. It’s not quite as brilliant as the use of the Cocteau Twins’ Song to the Siren in Lost Highway, where the song itself initially expresses the impotence of the protagonist by its inability to fully come through the soundtrack, but later inside his dream comes through with crystal clarity where his virility is restored; yet it’s every bit as emotionally charged.

    >>>I wonder if the elderly lady that Laura Dern welcomes to her home at the beginning is in fact the Polish actress/prostitute whose life trajectory you outline — it would explain what she’s doing in LA.

  • Antonius

    Well it looks like the ending to my comment was cut off. Perhaps that’s a hint!

    Nevertheless, here was the rest:

    >>>I wonder if the elderly lady that Laura Dern welcomes to her home at the beginning is in fact the Polish actress/prostitute whose life trajectory you outline — it would explain what she’s doing in LA.

  • Antonius

    I’m sorry, Kevin — it looks like my second attempt at this has been cut off at the same place. I give up!

    (Heads back to IMDb…)

    Keep up the good work and I’m looking forward to your thoughts on Reckless Moment.

  • alsolikelife

    Looks like your post got cut off, Antonius. Hope you come back to continue your thought. btw I didn’t realize you had quoted from Sans Soleil – in fact I hadn’t realized you had reviewed it! And you keep coming up with great connections and interpretations, like with how the two contrasting scenes of the prostitutes listening to music relate to each other.

    At the same time, in continuing to play the role of devil’s advocate, I wonder if there isn’t some degree of what I would call cinematic Stockholm Syndrome at play? That is, the more time you spend in the captivity of a movie you don’t initially like, the more likelier you are to be persuaded (by the film? by yourself?) to find significance in it — that you’ve essentially talked yourself into liking the film.

    Arthouse filmgoers get this flack all the time, that they purposefully seek out as obscure or obtuse a film as they can and wear that impenetrability like a badge of honor, or a springboard to leap into all kinds of extrapolations of meaning and importance. And it has definitely happened on this blog with some of the films I didn’t initially thrill to but came to appreciate with more time spent.

    Certainly one can appreciate the value of spending time with a movie and letting its treasures reveal itself over reviewing, research and reconsideration. But at what point does this become less a natural appreciation and more like something forced or contrived? This is something that deserves it’s own thread I’m sure.

    But this informs my own ambivalence towards rewatching Inland Empire — an ambivalence I’m still trying to fully understand. Where does it come from? Maybe there’s just a part of me that wants my initial mixed response to feel justified. Funny, as you would think that people would naturally want to gain in their appreciation if they had the opportunity to do so.

    But there’s a counter-validation going on as well, of one’s own instincts being right the first time. For example, it’s interesting that you tout the sound design this time, as for me it was one of the major detractors of my viewing — it just seemed so much in the foreground and really jarring and obvious in its manipulative or expressive properties (that screwdriver stabbing scene may very well be an example). Maybe this is Lynch laying out his artistry in plain view as part of his self-interrogation (still my favorite way to consider this film)… but I’m reluctant to talk myself into thinking that.

    to be continued…

  • Antonius

    I think for some reason blogger doesn’t like the back arrow, which is where it cut off both times. I guess I will refrain from using that method of quoting in the future.

    And sorry for confusing the matter further: I wasn’t reviewing Sans Soleil, but the quote is from the scene that precedes the discussion of Vertigo, and I was reviewing a film called Pheonix Tapes that also dissects Hitchcock.

    You wrote:

    “At the same time, in continuing to play the role of devil’s advocate, I wonder if there isn’t some degree of what I would call cinematic Stockholm Syndrome at play? That is, the more time you spend in the captivity of a movie you don’t initially like, the more likelier you are to be persuaded (by the film? by yourself?) to find significance in it — that you’ve essentially talked yourself into liking the film.”

    Entirely possible, I suppose, but as an argument against the idea, I could name a number of films that I had very positive initial reactions to, and the more time I’ve spent with them, the more I’ve liked them less and less. And I know you’ve had the same experience.

    “But at what point does this become less a natural appreciation and more like something forced or contrived?”

    In other words, what’s the difference between liking a movie and only thinking one likes it? I know what you’re getting at, but I think it’s a difficult thing to generalize about, and I’m not even sure that the ‘natural appreciation’ (nice as it sounds) is ultimately preferable to the ‘forced and contrived’ appreciation. (You could branch out the question to other topics, like naturally believing in God, or convincing oneself that one believes in God (and considering the church seems to see that question as a choice, you could argue that the latter is actually the preferable road to awe)).

    But I’m not sure I really believe in that dichotomy. Isn’t it a bit black and white? How many different factors go into play that ultimately determine what might be termed our natural reaction to a given movie? At a very minimum, there are the things we’ve heard in advance that affect our frame of mind, any previous knowledge about the filmmakers, origins of the material, or anything else that contributes to our expectations. Then there’re the situational aspects (which are extremely important, but generally disregarded), like the mood we happened to be in, who we saw the film with, how far out of our way we went to see the film, how much we paid for the experience, how sober we were (ahem), how the print looked, whether the seats were comfortable, how the audience responded, and so on and so forth. And all of this doesn’t even take into account the movie itself, which we never experience in a vacuum. So I wonder what it even means to have a natural appreciation of a film. Perhaps it just means to be less aware of the way in which we’ve been manipulated into liking it — although that sounds awfully reductive, too.

    I guess it comes down to being true to yourself. The anecdote about the proverbial arthouse film buff that wears their obscure favorites as a badge of honor is at worst a self-delusion, but I think that stereotype is really propogated by those who can’t fathom how someone might honestly like a certain film, and in general it strikes me as presumptuous and equally delusional.

    Getting back to Inland Empire, I wanted to like the film at first sight, so in a sense any reaction I could have had was contrived to a certain degree. That I didn’t is inadvertant evidence to myself that I haven’t been deluding myself, but in my own case the real issue preventing me from appreciating it (in my own way — corny as that sounds) has been the appearance of the digital video. Over the next two viewings I grew accustomed to the look, much as one grows accustomed to an initially off-putting wallpaper or carpet, and I guess that that process has allowed me to appreciate the greater room, to continue with the same metaphor. Perhaps it is cinematic Stockholm’s Syndrome, but this is one case in which I’ll gladly say that the ends justify the means.

    “For example, it’s interesting that you tout the sound design this time, as for me it was one of the major detractors of my viewing — it just seemed so much in the foreground and really jarring and obvious in its manipulative or expressive properties (that screwdriver stabbing scene may very well be an example).”

    I’m curious, do you feel the same way about his sound design in his other films? Because this is possibly my favorite element to his work, the manner in which he uses sound not just to augment but to create the moods and tones of his films. Eraserhead in particular features an amazing use of sound, in which there’s this constant noise over the soundtrack that oscillates to different effects and creates such a steady flow (like a current that carries you down a river) that at times you forget it’s even there, so that by the time the film finishes and the sound instantly cuts out — completely — before the credits turn up, the effect is literally deafening in its silence (which always makes me think of that Herzog quote at the beginning of Kasper Hauser). For me, whether the sound is subtle or obvious is beside the point (and he uses both types throughout his films); what matters is if it succeeds in enveloping me within this universe — which is, when all is said and done, an exaggerated manifestation of a single character’s experiences/fears/memories, which I believe reflect his own (especially in Eraserhead, which is probably why I like that film most). It’s a mode of filmmaking that I like a lot, but I realize it doesn’t work for everyone.

    BTW, Lynch’s use of sound is highly influenced by Tati (I’ve come to this conclusion based on his repeated referencing of Tati as one of his favorite directors, and the fact that both utilize very exaggerated sound designs), although at first glance they seem to do it to quite different means. With Tati, there’s always a sense of satire and gentle (playful) criticism with his sounds, whereas for Lynch the exaggeration of sound is expressionistic; that is, it takes an internal experience and splashes it over the soundtrack (albeit with a lot of precision). Kind of like the equivalent to an Edvard Munch painting.

  • alsolikelife

    Well I can most definitely agree with your paragraph about all the factors that come into play that affect one’s response to a movie. One reason is that my reading of Goleman’s book is giving me numerous instances of the many internal and external factors that affect one’s behavioral responses. The other is that I just came out of my screening of Ernie Gehr’s STILL, and I probably wouldn’t be feeling the way I do now about the film had I not unexectedly run into him after the screening and spent an hour listening to his experience of making the film!

    I think another way to posit this question, which I think I will do both here and on IMDb, is ask about the biggest turnarounds in opinion that people have had on a film, and how those came to be. I think we generally live in a culture where people’s change of mind can be seen as a sign of weakness, when really it could be seen as a sign of honest growth. But I’d be interested to hear people’s accounts of how those changes of heart took place. It’s probably a more helpful question to ask than pursuing the Stockholm Syndrome issue (which would likely lead to a fuzzier discussion on conditioned response)

    I think it was because INLAND EMPIRE was shot on video that I felt like I could see the proverbial man behind the curtain pulling his strings but without the sheen of celluloid to give it that certain aura. It made me see Lynch’s use of image and sound as being exaggerated and manipulative. But now I’m considering the Tati comparison — no question that Tati uses sound to draw attention on itself as an object in its own right. I can see your argument about Lynch being purposely and even purposefully exaggerated. I’ll have to think about this some more, because though I can see the connection. Not all of Tati works for me, to be honest, but PLAYTIME is on a level all its own.

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