Lost in the Movies: Mary Sweeney's Baraboo as Twin Peaks Cinema #26 - Long Road Home (podcast)

Mary Sweeney's Baraboo as Twin Peaks Cinema #26 - Long Road Home (podcast)

UPDATE (2:50pm): Links have now been fixed.

Following her divorce and the end of her creative partnership with David Lynch, the only director she'd ever edited, produced, and written for, Mary Sweeney decided to direct a feature film. In certain ways, Baraboo - chronicling the mellow daily life of a single mom running a campground in Wisconsin - is far from the Lynchverse that Sweeney had been immersed in. There are no double identities, surreal setpieces, or absurdist hijinks, just a quiet communal character study shot on a shoestring. Nonetheless, the film's interest in small town life, positive and negative across generations, is reminiscent of Twin Peaks. Perhaps most surprisingly, the film has more in common with the not-yet-produced, post-Sweeney season three than the original series on which she cut her teeth. In contrast to seasons one and two, both Baraboo and The Return are more rural than suburban, both hint at broader social issues like war, both skirt closer to precarity than middle-class comfort, and both linger longer over middle-aged regret than youthful restlessness. Of course, Baraboo also overlaps significantly with Sweeney's involvement in The Straight Story (which she authored and Lynch directed, covered as last month's entry), which brings us to the theme of the past three episodes including this one.

This last - for now, but probably for good - miniseries/season of the public Twin Peaks Cinema feed, "Long Road Home" has a literal as well as figurative meaning. Starting with Lost Highway, we've observed Sweeney's growing role in the filmmaking process, from editor/producer to editor/producer/writer to editor/producer/writer/director. But the road itself is also a visual touchstone. Lost Highway raced back and forth across its double yellow line into the desert night. The Straight Story slowed its travel to a crawl while still advancing on a journey across the heartland. And Baraboo grinds to a halt along a country highway which characters gaze across while planting their feet firmly in the home that Fred could never root himself in, Alvin wanted to re-establish with his brother, and Jane - for better or worse - is surrounded and supported by.

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This podcast goes on hiatus for now and, as already mentioned, I don't have plans for its revival (though I will publish further teasers, round-ups, and announcements on the feed over the summer and fall). In general, I'm slowing down and shifting my output near the end of this year, concluding a number of projects that have been many years in the making and probably reserving most new work for patrons from now on - although the next few months should be among the busiest this site has ever seen. Thanks for accompanying me on this journey, and I hope you've enjoyed the experience. Feel free to return and re-listen whenever you want; despite what they say, you can - sometimes - go home again.


Mary Sweeney - "Baraboo" | Season 4 Episode 2 | Director's Cut (video interview w/ Sweeney)

clips & brief discussion of Baraboo near the end of
(same passage featured in longer David Lynch & Mary Sweeney: Dream Souls video for further context)

Recently on Lost in the Movies podcast - Southland Tales w/ guest Andrew Cook

Recently on Twin Peaks Conversations - Twin Peaks Peeks hosts Ashley Brandt & Mat Olson & Lost Highway: The Fist of Love author Scott Ryan premiering soon

Recently in my NEW TWIN PEAKS CHARACTER SERIES (written entries):

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