The Floating Arm

Discussion of INLAND EMPIRE

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Robin Davies
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The Floating Arm

Postby Robin Davies » Wed Sep 12, 2007 2:45 pm

I'm intrigued by the scene in the nightclub where the arm of the woman in red seems to float in front of the camera as Laura Dern goes through the red curtains. This image seems naggingly familiar. Has it been used in a previous Lynch work? Or maybe it's been used by another film-maker. It seems a bit Jean Cocteau-ish but I can't place it.
biotron
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Postby biotron » Wed Sep 12, 2007 4:00 pm

this is bugging me now, too - i saw something relatively recently which instantly made me sit up and remember that scene / motion from IE. isn't there something similar in "Meshes of the Afternoon" or "At Land" by Maya Deren? Cocteau's "Orphee" is also ringing some bells...
MichaelPW
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Postby MichaelPW » Tue Jan 22, 2008 8:35 am

And who painted the picture in the scene where the "a way with animals"-man gets the weapon?
Robin Davies
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Postby Robin Davies » Tue Jan 22, 2008 3:44 pm

The floating arm is still bugging me. I've re-watched Meshes of the Afternoon, At Land, Orphee, Blood of a Poet and The Testament of Orphee and it doesn't come from any of them. I'm thinking maybe a Bunuel film or possibly a Mario Bava. (I suppose most people know of the similarity between the scene where the two Coopers chase each other in the red room in the final episode of Twin Peaks and part of Bava's Kill Baby Kill).
applesnoranges
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Postby applesnoranges » Wed Jan 23, 2008 11:38 pm

I hadn't thought of the two Coopers being like the two Sues; thanks. I don't understand either of them though. What comes to mind was back when computers were much more primitive, I did something to screw mine up and suddenly I saw two of everything so I had to delete the extras one by one. There don't seem to be two Dern characters after she gets control of herself with the finger snapping number, do there? It seemed like things were just spinning farther and farther out of control until she got hold of herself.
MichaelPW
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Postby MichaelPW » Thu Jan 24, 2008 9:18 am

The Cooper obsessed with "Bob-spirit" follows the agent and when the first one catches up with the second one the agent is obsessed.

When Devon runs to Smithies house Nikki is there and shouts "Billy!". The husband of Sue is in the background and Devon isn`t aware of this. Nikki is trying to prevent Billy for running into the trap. The husband of Sue is watching about the bondage. He`s exactly on the position where the window is in the real surroundings. And does the woman living in Smithies house know the man living next door?

What happened in the adjoining room?
MichaelPW
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Postby MichaelPW » Fri Jan 25, 2008 6:15 pm

And in the "blue-scene" we have Nikki as if she were in the "Billy runs to Smiethies house (1352?=47)-scene" trying to make him understand that she`s Nikki.
applesnoranges
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Postby applesnoranges » Sat Jan 26, 2008 3:16 am

Two ways of seeing it I have read: (1) Nikki and Devon have sneaked onto the set and into the "Smithie's House" bed, and then fall under the curse and become the characters in the movie. Nikki tries to retain her identity but Devon becomes Billy and overpowers her. (2) Sue and Billy are in bed in their own story and Sue begins to imagine that she is not real, that she is only a characters in a movie performed by Nikki.
MichaelPW
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Postby MichaelPW » Sat Jan 26, 2008 7:29 am

For me it`s Devon and Nikki in bed. Nikki`s husband is there really in the background. In the scene in which Devon runs to Smithies house the screen of Nikki`s husband is like a mental presence. But somehow this a halfborn scene. Devon should be Devon, but Nikki calls him Billy. Maybe the fact that she suddenly doesn`t see herself anymore is a hint for her that she is already in the shooting. Trying to prevent Devon about ignoring the things her husband has said to him.
applesnoranges
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Postby applesnoranges » Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:05 am

I also think more and more that it is Nikki and Devon. One of the things that confused me at first was: what would they be doing in Smithie's house? The answer would be that they sneaked onto the set when it was closed, thinking it would be a good place to hide.

Again, back to More Things That Happened, there is a shot in it, all by itself, of a bleeding corpse played by Justin Theroux. He's lying on some concrete in the dark and is wearing a black suit. Devon was wearing a black suit when he went to dinner and Piotrek warned him. The only time we see Billy in a black suit is during the kissing scene where things are getting mixed up. So I think that is Devon. Piotrek followed him onto the set and killed him. That's one way of seeing it anyway.
MichaelPW
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Postby MichaelPW » Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:44 am

MTTH seems more and more to be an explaining set for IE.

Maybe Smithies house can be viewed as a protection for Nikki. To prevent her being responsible for hurting Devon. Devon running to Nikki can be viewed as wanting Nikki.

But who`s Smithy? And why is it so important to know who Smithy plays?
applesnoranges
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Postby applesnoranges » Tue Jan 29, 2008 1:04 pm

I don't know about Smithie, but "Alan Smithee" is a name that a director can have put on a movie if it went wrong and the don't want their own name associated with it. Doing a search on the name reveals a lot.

So for me, in IE, "Smithie" is another word for "anyone". There is someone named Smithie because the boy in the end is "Smithie's son" in the credits. That doesn't mean necessarily that he is the son of the Lucas character he is with; it could be that someone else was his father but that the forgiving man in the scene accepted him. So, even though "the ninety year old niece" keeps asking who is going to play the role of Smithie, that doesn't mean that she ever gets her answer.
MichaelPW
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Postby MichaelPW » Wed Jan 30, 2008 2:06 am

Yes, so Smithy could be the director of 47, for example. Didn`t know that about "Alan Smithee" before.

It could also be the role of the husband of Sue. We have the "kiss-with-hand-throwing" woman interviewing "Sue" and "Billy" in public. So the niece could ask herself then who plays Sues husband. That the son in the end is Smithies son could be an evidence for this. Also we have the theme of unfertility throughout the movie.
applesnoranges
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Postby applesnoranges » Fri Feb 01, 2008 4:02 am

I just don't know about this one but I've read a number of theories. The director of 47 is one I haven't heard, but then why would his son show up at the end? The guy at the end seems like someone who could be called "Smithie". It is a very American nickname for someone named Smith (also pronounced and spelled "Smitty"). I may be wrong but I don't think people are called that in UK or Australia for example. It's a nickname that would usually be associated with a working class man but one who is competent and respected, though I think there are a few female Smithies. There are a few others like that. People named Jones can be Jonsie, people named White can be Whitie, etc.
MichaelPW
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Postby MichaelPW » Fri Feb 01, 2008 6:34 pm

The director of 47 is one I haven't heard, but then why would his son show up at the end?


Yes, I don`t know.

And I don`t know of whom the ninety-year-old niece the niece is. Do you know? I like the idea that she has something to do with the curse, 4 7 or infertility. And that she wants to know who Smithie (as the husband of Sue, if she has one) plays. Maybe she is the woman seen from behind in the past. Maybe she was the one who played Sue in the past in 4 7.

I don`t know what this baltic radio show has to do with the content of IE. Assume that it means something like "it`s an old story". And that story could be the "story of the soul-collector".

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