Inland Empire and the Border
I watched Lynch’s Inland Empire this weekend. The film, classic Lynch, is perhaps his best, although not his most accessible. The film will not appeal to most, but to someone like your humble blogger, it is cerebral poetry of the highest order. First of all, jump outside the box and kick it across the street. Forget plot and understanding, at least plot and understanding of the inside the box variety.
Laura Dern gives perhaps the most incredible performance ever given by any actress ever at any time in the history of world wide cinema. She is THAT good. Those having read Something Else know that in 1993 a man found himself in another place looking up at a light. Well, look at Laura above. That image captures it better than any words I can type.
From the very outset, the film just reeks of the border. David Lynch has been there and could probably write a PhD. I will leave the technical aspects of the border for another post to be written soon. Both Sirocco and the Navigator have expressed considerable interest in the border, and I said I would deliver. I start with this entry.
First, watch the film without interruption on the biggest screen in the darkest room with the best sound system you can make available. I regret missing it in the theater, but I can make my living room pitch black, have top of the line Bose surround sound and a 42 inch razor sharp LCD. It works.
At the border, logic and reason exist, but only as ancillary tools applied when they can be, and most of the time they can't. Instead, sheer texture, tone, and gut sensations provide better information. Trying to understand the plot is counterproductive to grasping the "material" Lynch presents. Feel, taste, and sense the film. Don't understand it. That film takes one closer to the border (per my experience) than any words I could hope to write.
The film has some extraordinary lines that cut at the meat of what makes the border the place that it is.
I am looking for an opening.
What is that? Oh my God, what is that? Oh my God, that’s ME! That’s ME thinking!
When I was watching everything go around while I was standing in the middle, watching it like in a dark theater before they turn the lights up. I was sitting there wondering, "How can this be?"
I figured one day I'd just wake up and and find out what the hell yesterday was all about. I'm not too keen on thinkin' about tommorow. And today's slipping by.
Upon reflection, Lynch has been working up to Inland Empire for his entire career. The film may be his crowning achievement. Looking back, the pieces fall into place. Those having watched Twin Peaks saw his first presentation of the gateway, a particular number of sycamore trees growing in a circle around a campfire circle of rocks into which one pours scorched engine oil, "coffee," opening a gateway into the "Black Lodge."
In Fire Walk With Me, Laura goes to sleep and visits the border, the picture on her wall becoming the gateway where she stands at the doorway of her bedroom, looking back, and seeing her doppelganger looking at her through the picture on the other side of the gateway (marvelous!!).
Both Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive continue the concept with circular references injected with influences from outside the system.
More scientifically oriented border mechanics coming soon to a blog near you.
If you are curious about border material, I have the crash course. Rent Inland Empire. Turn the lights off, the volume up, and let three hours flow over your psyche. Your emotions, body sensations, confusion, and angst will teach you more about the border than many who claim to know something about the subject.
Now, imagine going to bed at night and having your own personally customized version of the experience wake you up drenched and screaming at 4:30 AM totally convinced that what just happened was not a dream.
Now it's dark.