Inland Empire (France, Poland, US, 2006)

Rabbiting on about...?

Rabbiting on about...?

I love Lynch because he, as a true surrealist, eschews bourgeois representations of the world and, hence, the audience often doesn’t a clue about what’s going on. There’s a terrific synopsis on Wikipedia but it doesn’t necessarily explain what the film’s about. I like Danny Leigh’s ideas because he accepts that futility of actually trying to pin down meaning that bourgeois epistemology insists upon.

Clearly the film is a companion piece to Mulholland Drive (2001) in that it deals with the Hollywood Dream Factory (the leads, Naomi Watts and Laura Henning,  appear briefly). However, the shifting play of realities between ‘life’ and ‘film’ is clearer (well, relatively). I’m not sure what the Polish element is about (did the Polish funding necessitate shooting there?) and suggests Eastern Europe as Other but…

There’s the usual Lynch elements: flickering lights that give off very little light; the red curtains; grimy underworld places. There’s the postmodern merging of realities (most obvious in Lost Highway, 1997, which is referenced by the woman in the blonde wig during the end credits) and the unstable postmodern self.

Laura Dern puts in a bravura performance and there’s many stunning images and moments of horror. It may not be as engaging as other Lynch movies (too much retreading over old territory?) but is a healthy antidote to normalcy.

One Response

  1. A pure Lynchian nightmare with a performance of hidden depths from Laura Dern. As you said much of a companion piece to Mulholland Drive, both observing the distortion of the mind through dreams. I think that the Polish element is interesting, Lynch always suggests that you figure out the themes of his films for yourself here is my take. All the supposed ‘villains’ of the film are Polish or Eastern European, and fitting for a film about Hollywood, here I think Lynch directly refers to the rascism of film and how foreign people are depicted in cinema. Also I think he criticises and satirises method acting and the whole process of getting involved in a character and how people touch in to the dark side of their roles. I think Inland Empire is up there with Lynch’s finest work.

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