"Through the darkness of futures past. The magician longs to see. One chants out between two worlds. Fire Walk With Me."
Psychogenic Fugue. Asymmetrical. The Angriest Dog In The World. Transcedental Meditation. Furniture. "It's Strange Calling Yourself." Electricity. The Excitement of Fear. Fire. The Numbness of Denial. Submerging Consciousness, Waking Subconscious. "My Dog Barks, Some."
January 17, 2007
Why does Lynch still do it for me after all these years? Why does it feel like every other director I grew up loving and rooting for just as fervently (esp. Cronenberg, Lucas, Scorcese, Spielberg, and Ridley Scott) has long ago traded in their ability to take creative risks for increasingly narcissistic retreads of glories past? To each his own, of course. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who much prefer GANGS OF NEW YORK and GANGS OF BOSTON (I mean, THE DEPARTED) to TAXI DRIVER and RAGING BULL, but I'm not one of them. A lot depends on a viewer's age at the time of first viewing when playing the favorites game... I grew up trying to convince people that Roger Moore was better than Sean Connery, so I know from which I speak. I remain impressed that as I grow older, and my viewing relationship with Lynch's film and TV work is now over 25 years old, I still feel in sync with the guy. In a recent interview flogging his newest book Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity, Lynch said:
"To be a grown-up and to do what you want to do is the most beautiful thing"That is such an uncool thing to say, and yet it resonates in me like a banshee's howl. He's living his dream, and although my dream is far removed from his in many ways (I just can't get it up for yogic flying) his relentless pursuit of somehow EXTERNALLY communicating what's INSIDE of him butters my muffin. Because he not only does it as a director, he also composes music and lyrics (with longtime collaborator and frequent conductor of my own dream/nightmare soundtrack Angelo Badalamenti), builds his own furniture, paints, writes, makes coffee, and so on.
TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME and Balthazar Getty's career after refusing to take his role in LOST HIGHWAY seriously.) I still remember how angry I got reading David Foster Wallace's article "David Lynch Keeps His Head" from A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again:
"the single most annoying thing about Balthazar Getty was (that) when Lynch wasn't around Getty would make fun of him and do an unkind imitation of his distinctive speaking voice that... was clearly intended to be disrespectful and mean."Can you imagine getting your big break as an actor and then OPENLY MAKING FUN OF DAVID LYNCH ON THE SET WHEN A REPORTER WAS AROUND? What an asshole. Plenty of ink has been spilled on Lynch's behalf and I'm pretty sure "Lynchian" has made it into the vocabulary of most film fans. What inspires me is how hard Lynch has to work this late in his career to get his vision to the screen time and time again. MULHOLLAND DRIVE is arguably the best movie he's ever made, was on every critic's top ten list, garnered Lynch his third Oscar Nomination for Best Director, and made Naomi Watts a star overnight. And, it lost money.
INLAND EMPIRE, which Lynch shot over the course of two years by calling in a lot of favors and shooting on video, is the first film in his career that Lynch is distributing himself. Because, apparently, nobody else knows how to. Maybe Lynch doesn't even know what to do with himself (as far as I can tell, the film has barely grossed over $100,000 in over a month of release). It's weird, I know that most of you won't like INLAND EMPIRE that much. I'm still not sure how much i quote-unquote LIKED it myself, but I do know that I felt about as ALIVE as a person can feel while sitting motionless in a dark room for three hours. You may feel something you're not used to too. Enjoy a filmmaker who's (as Laura Dern's Nikki says in EMPIRE) "reaping what he's sowing."
"Fucker been sowing some pretty heavy shit."