Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image): May 2014

Monday, May 26, 2014

Lynch's Affinity for Laura Palmer (Fire Walk With Me conversation w/ Tony Dayoub - Part 4 of 4)


This is the final entry in my four-part correspondence with Tony Dayoub of Cinema Viewfinder. We are discussing Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me on the film conversation site To Be (Cont'd). [That site has since gone inactive, but my pieces are available in full on this site and Tony has re-published his on his own site as well - links to all are collected here.]

Three weeks ago I kicked off the conversation with my first entry, "Twin Peaks is Dead - Long Live Laura Palmer!". Tony followed up with "From Poetry to Prose in Fire Walk With Me" and I continued with "Back Door to the Black Lodge".

Lynch's Affinity for Laura Palmer
by Tony Dayoub

Joel,

David Lynch hasn’t released a full-length theatrical feature since 2006’s Inland Empire. This offers us some perspective on his filmography and Fire Walk with Me’s place in it. It’s but the first of a series of films depicting a woman whose dual nature is a signal of internal dissonance. What most intrigues me is how jarring it feels compared with his work up until then, a considerable achievement given the almost mischievous disdain Lynch has for traditional narratives. Even though  he started his career with Eraserhead, a stubbornly surreal work, his next two films–The Elephant Man and Dune–both strike me as stabs at legitimacy, a director bringing his unique vision to projects which might allow him mainstream success. Blue Velvet, which looks at the frighteningly dark underbelly of shiny, wholesome small-town America, is the first work that truly feels Lynchian. Then comes TV’s Twin Peaks, which continues along those lines. And right before Fire Walk with Me, Lynch directs Wild at Heart, a noir romance that hints at Lynch’s penchant for the surreal intruding on reality, this time in the form of characters from the movie The Wizard of Oz.

Read the rest of "Lynch's Affinity for Laura Palmer" on Cinema Viewfinder, where Tony published it after To Be Cont'd went inactive.]


Monday, May 19, 2014

Back Door to the Black Lodge (Fire Walk With Me conversation w/ Tony Dayoub - Part 3 of 4)


This is the third entry in my four-part correspondence with Tony Dayoub of Cinema Viewfinder. We are discussing Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me on the film conversation site To Be (Cont'd). [That site has since gone inactive, but my pieces are available in full on this site and Tony has re-published his on his own site as well - links to all are collected here.]

Two weeks ago I kicked off the conversation with my first entry, "Twin Peaks is Dead - Long Live Laura Palmer!" and Tony continued with "Poetry Becomes Prose in Fire Walk With Me".

Tony,

Entering the world of Fire Walk With Me for the first time, I was thrilled by its air of uncertainty. Lynch's rhythms and images provoked and perplexed me: the static-filled TV set where we would expect the show’s opening theme song; the plastic-wrapped corpse of Teresa Banks floating downstream, unclaimed and unloved; the FBI meeting in a skimpy Oregon airfield, sour-faced Lil (Kimberly Ann Cole) offering coded information via a wiggle, stitch, and blue flower. And then we were off to Deer Meadow, to investigate Teresa's murder. You've already described the Bizarro World qualities of Twin Peaks' doppelganger town, but perhaps even more unsettling than what Lynch shows us there is how he introduces us to it.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Poetry Becomes Prose in Fire Walk With Me (Fire Walk With Me conversation w/ Tony Dayoub - Part 2 of 4)


This is the second entry in my four-part correspondence with Tony Dayoub of Cinema Viewfinder. We are discussing Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me on the film conversation site To Be (Cont'd). [That site has since gone inactive, but my pieces are available in full on this site and Tony has re-published his on his own site as well - links to all are collected here.]

Last week I contributed my first entry, "Twin Peaks is Dead - Long Live Laura Palmer!".

Poetry Becomes Prose in Fire Walk With Me
by Tony Dayoub

Joel,

I was not one of those fans who felt that the show quickly “descended into camp,” as you put it, with the resolution of who killed Laura Palmer. Like Special Agent Dale B. Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), I was so in love with the town and its denizens that I relished any tangent from the relatively straight line David Lynch and Mark Frost had so far led us along. Remember, Lynch and Frost had never meant to resolve the mystery, hoping instead to use it as a backdrop for spinning off other storylines, like a traditional soap. Sometimes, these tangents went nowhere, or at least nowhere of interest–most notoriously in the very noirish storyline where James Hurley (James Marshall) is seduced by a femme fatale and set up for her husband’s murder. Other times, I was as delighted as the show intended viewers to be, no matter how silly the subplot (yes, I admit that I adored the inane romance between Lana and Mayor Milford). Staunch supporter that I was, I enjoyed how sprawling and diffuse the show’s mythology had grown–Black and White Lodges, Bookhouses, dwarves, giants, owls and all.

Read the rest of "Poetry Becomes Prose in Fire Walk With Me" on Cinema Viewfinder, where Tony published it after To Be Cont'd went inactive.]


Next - Part 3, my response: "Back Door to the Black Lodge"

Monday, May 5, 2014

Twin Peaks is Dead - Long Live Laura Palmer! (Fire Walk With Me conversation w/ Tony Dayoub - Part 1 of 4)


Throughout May, I will be taking part in an ongoing conversation on the website To Be (Cont'd) with Tony Dayoub (of Cinema Viewfinder) about the film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992). There are major spoilers involved. The conversation will unfold in four parts, as is the usual format on To Be (Cont'd). [That site has since gone inactive, but my pieces are available in full on this site and Tony has re-published his on his own site as well - links to all are collected here.]



"When you told your secret name, I burst in flames, and burned..."
-"Floating", written by David Lynch, 1989

Tony,

Let's talk about the final day of Laura Palmer's life. Not the night with its cocaine binges, woodland orgies, and bloody murders, but the morning before, as depicted in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992). Remember that soggy bowl of cereal, abandoned by the trembling teenager while her father tries to cheer her up? Or Laura's jittery mother steeling herself with a cigarette, her blank, exhausted inner state almost as ugly and jagged as her daughter's raw wound? And who can forget the ferocious hatred in Laura's eyes, years in the making, as she growls at her astonished father in her bedroom: "Stay...away from me..."? By the time we are submerged in Laura's woozy afternoon at high school, her disorientation overpowers us. Swooningly subjective dips and pans, time-lapsed clocks intercut with blurry crowds, high-angled perspectives pinning Laura to a ground that is sliding away beneath her feet...if these are not the most adventurous techniques David Lynch has ever employed, they are among his most compassionate. We've burrowed deeply into Laura's consciousness, losing ourselves on a death trip that few were willing to take.