today i went and saw mulholland drive by david lynch. first of all i don't want to even attempt defending david lynch & his films to those--even some of his fans--who claim not to "get" him, because as you can tell if you've read my earlier posts, i'm not interested in your opinions OR my own enough to try to convince anyone of anything; but if you hate david lynch, skip to somebody else's blog.
i don't want to give anything away about the film if you haven't seen it. if you have an unwillingness to go to david lynch's dream space, where different rules apply, you're not going to get anything out of this or probably any of his movies. all that i can say is that, for me, david lynch perhaps more successfully than any other filmmaker since bunuel finds the place where the conscious and the unconscious, the sacred and profane, the ridiculous and sublime, the beautiful and the horrible meet and blur their edges. he somehow throws together series of surrealistic images that a first year film student would hardly get away with without being laughed off campus, dream sequence images that seem in some ways all too familiar--you find yourself thinking "what the HELL is wrong with me, that i actually RECOGNIZE that image??"--and yet, with the amazing cinematography and musical score, manages to draw us into a mood of beauty and terror, sensuality and foreboding that moves me way beyond my comfort zone.
doubtlessly our infantile mainstream culture will have a lot to say about the lesbian affair at the center of the film, but true artist that he is lynch hardly has time for controversy...he's already a 22nd (if not 23rd or 24th) century film maker in his sensibilities while the rest of us struggle to keep up with him with our 19th century prejudices. there's little or no prurience in lynch's lens on the two women, other than the harsh juxtaposition of two people making love for the first time and an overwhelmingly violent estrangement--an estrangement from the narrative, from our trust in the narrator, even time, space, and identity.
lynch has no qualms in deftly convincing us of the verity of a narrating eye's account--why should we doubt what our eyes have so convincingly been shown?--and yet, as each of his films develop, we are shown that nothing is what it seems, and that every narrative--even the visual ones--are suspect. a stranger in a cafe who struck up a conversation with me after the film asked me if it had a message--i noticed he was reading a new age philosophy book, and he obviously has never seen a david lynch film--yet i surprised myself with my patience, having something ready to respond with, without a moment's hesitation--in fact, the words had been going around in my head since the moment i left the theater:
beneath every story, there is a hidden story; and that hidden story has hidden meanings, which defy our attempts to understand them with our rational, discursive minds. these hidden stories contain hidden actors who are the hidden selves that stand in for every object of desire we yearn for but can never touch or hold. beneath every explanation for everything there is a reality that defies exposition as much as it defies understanding, yet it does follow its own consistent and recognizable laws. this landscape is the sum total of everything that we look away from--a severed ear in a field, a beautiful corpse washed up at the bottom of a scenic waterfall, a small blue box containing a perfect void of blackness which devours the soul--whereas some might laugh nervously, while others might shrug in bewildered disgust, at the blue-wigged corpselike woman who intones "silencio!" at the end of mulholland drive, i felt a joyous, delirious sensation wash over me that i had once again been transported to that nightmare realm where all the ugliness of life becomes no longer something to hide from or conceal, but a revalation bordering on the mystic. nothing transports me like a david lynch film, not even the basilica of st. mark's cathedral in rome, perhaps vincent van gogh's deranged symphonies of color, or just maybe the soaring yet fascistic architecture of the j. paul getty center--it reminds me of another quote from myself, if you'll forgive the hubris:
in the face of absolute uncertainty, is it better to take refuge in belief--however comforting or reasonable it may be--or to take no refuge at all? it is fearsome to be awake...to take the red pill...but there are worse things than being afraid.
fertile_jim at 10/21/2001 10:34:00 PM