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Have you ever analyzed a David Lynch movie?

 
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filmsRpriceless
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PostPosted: 07.25.2003 7:17 pm    Post subject: Have you ever analyzed a David Lynch movie? Reply with quote

I've said it time and time again that I won't try to analyze Fire Walk With Me, which I'd consider Lynch's best film, but I've been wondering if it's a good idea or not to finally write an organized analysis on Mulholland Drive, but I'm afraid it'll take its fun and emotional power away. Thoughts on this, anyone?
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 07.25.2003 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never really cared for one-to-one symbolic readings of Lynch's movies. You know, the Man in the Planet represents God in "Eraserhead," or the blue-haired woman at Silencio in "Mulholland Dr." represents death. Whatever. I think Lynch's iconography is much more fluid, and each image not only represents multiple things at once, or different things at different times, but can also be literally what it is within the context of the narrative. The general consensus is that "Mulholland Dr." is a criticism of Hollywood. Well, big deal. That, to me, is a lot less interesting than the story being told. And that's something many film scholars and critics habitually seem to forget -- there's a story in Lynch's imagery.

Now, having said that, a great book to read for Lynch interpretation, from "Six Men Getting Sick" to "TP:FWWM" -- with a short note on "Lost Highway" -- is Martha P. Nochimson's "The Passion of David Lynch: Wild at Heart in Hollywood," which is, believe it or not, a feminist reading of Lynch's work.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 07.25.2003 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the great thing about Lynch movies is being fooled and played with. In depth explanations take away from this, and therefore, I believe that they would make the films less interesting and admirable.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 07.26.2003 12:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
A great book to read for Lynch interpretation, from "Six Men Getting Sick" to "TP:FWWM" -- with a short note on "Lost Highway" -- is Martha P. Nochimson's "The Passion of David Lynch: Wild at Heart in Hollywood," which is, believe it or not, a feminist reading of Lynch's work.


I haven't read "Passion of David Lynch," but I can vouch for Martha P. Nochimson's expertise. I've read other essays by her about Lynch, including a brilliant review of Mulholland Dr. in last fall's issue of Film Quarterly.

I tend to agree with Night Watchman (even though I like the story of MD a lot less than I like the Hollywood satire). Generally I have chosen to engage with Lynch movies on a purely visceral level, gleaning from them psychological and symbolic meanings only as they interested me personally. One of the great things about Lynch's work (and I should admit I am not a tremendous fan) is that it invites various readings and approaches. The viewer is in control of its meaning.

FilmsRpriceless--I'm not sure what you mean by "analysis." One can analyze Lynch's work in many different ways, examining plot coherence, symbolism, dream logic, psychology, image flow, satirical intent, etc. My main analytical interest with Lynch is deconstructing how he employs the principles of surrealism--a style that he employs purely in a medium that resists pure surrealism. Still, every viewer can choose to analyze his work within any context he or she chooses. Even if we decide to focus on merely how the images flow into us, isn't that still a form of analysis?

I certainly would not agree that careful explanations or analyses detract from the Lynch experience. I would argue that such endeavors, in any form, only deepen the experience.

I remember reading a wonderful, funny analysis that the guys at Salon.com put together, called "Everything You Wanted to Know About Mulholland Dr."

Eric
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filmsRpriceless
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PostPosted: 07.26.2003 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry I didn't make myself clearer... Like the MD analysis you linked in your post -- great stuff, by the way -- do you think that if you attempted one yourself for the film, it would ruin whatever impact it has on you?
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 07.26.2003 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

filmsRpriceless wrote:
Sorry I didn't make myself clearer... Like the MD analysis you linked in your post -- great stuff, by the way -- do you think that if you attempted one yourself for the film, it would ruin whatever impact it has on you?


Ah. No, I don't think writing an analysis would necessarily ruin the impact of one of Lynch's films, because, after all, it would only be an organization of my feelings and thoughts on the movie. It might even help to allow for a deeper appreciatation.

I think maybe I didn't express myself clearly, either. While I don't necessarly always agree with -- or perhaps even like -- one-to-one symbolic readings of Lynch's movies, I do like perusing them. After all, someone else may have a good idea, and I can take what I like and leave the rest. That's what I've done with Nochimson's book. While some of the feminist ideals rubbed me the wrong way, e.g., male = a strive for dominance, female = receptivity, I thought much of her insight was right on the money. I'll have to start picking up Film Quarterly for more of her stuff.

And I also didn't want to sound like I wouldn't want to hear your analysis on "Mulholland Dr," pricessless; I surely would.
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filmsRpriceless
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PostPosted: 07.26.2003 2:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
And I also didn't want to sound like I wouldn't want to hear your analysis on "Mulholland Dr," pricessless; I surely would.


No, I didn't take it that way at all.

I actually agree with most of the points you brought up.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 07.26.2003 2:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
I don't think writing an analysis would necessarily ruin the impact of one of Lynch's films, because, after all, it would only be an organization of my feelings and thoughts on the movie. It might even help to allow for a deeper appreciation... While I don't necessarly always agree with one-to-one symbolic readings of Lynch's movies, I do like perusing them. After all, someone else may have a good idea, and I can take what I like and leave the rest.


I feel precisely the same way. Gaining further knowledge or encountering new perceptions can only enhance the experience, never diminish it.

Eric
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