RANDOM THOUGHTS I -- Phantom & Lost Girl in Poland

Discussion of INLAND EMPIRE

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TheMysteryMan
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RANDOM THOUGHTS I -- Phantom & Lost Girl in Poland

Postby TheMysteryMan » Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:37 am

I actually wrote this for the message board at the INLAND EMPIRE site , regarding some of the theories there. That's a very dead place now and my registration was never approved, so fortunately I looked a bit deeper here at Dugpa and found this place. I'll paste those thoughts here, and please forgive allusions to ideas which may not have been suggested here. I hope they can be intuited to understand my responses to them. Then again, even if you know all of that stuff, this STILL might make no sense....I've broken these up into multiple threads so it will be easier to expound on each individual one for any person so inclined.

I don't have a central theory for everyone to ponder/accept/reject, but maybe this will get the ball rolling again. I'm astounded that WRAPPED IN PLASTIC remains on hiatus when TWIN PEAKS is finally complete on DVD and this film begs for their analysis


Ryan
http://myspace.com/chaosdomination

I just had my third viewing of INLAND EMPIRE this past weekend and got inspired to find out what theories people had come up with to explain its intricacies. I've found a lot of very interesting ideas on this board and thought I would add some of my own observations/theories in the hope that someone is still checking by every so often.

I was fortunate enough to see the film in North Carolina at a theater. It was a 2.5 hour drive, which is nothing I've ever done before for a movie, but as a huge Lynch fan, I wasn't going to let what was described as his most non-linear work evade me until a DVD release. I've been fortunate enough to see LOST HIGHWAY, MULHOLLAND DRIVE, and INLAND in the theater and each one has been such a pleasure. We've all seen hundreds/thousands of films and it's so great when a Lynch work comes out to reaffirm that there are still movie experiences we've not had yet and couldn't even imagine. I can't even begin to fathom what he'll follow IE with, after the strain of fractured narrative type films we've seen from him since TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME (minus the aptly named THE STRAIGHT STORY). If it's a five year wait to find out, I've no doubt it will be worth it.

Anyway, I've read many of the posts here but not all of them, so some of this may have already been debated ages ago. I hope there's something new.

1) There's been some confusion about the scene where the man we know as The Phantom sees the Lost Girl"”his wife"”on the streets of Poland. It doesn't quite fit our perceptions of what we know of his nature, since he's able to do things to people's minds. I think the most obvious answer is that in a story where certain characters take on multiple identities"”Sue/Nikki, Devon/Billy, Julia Ormond as Doris Side and a Polish woman"”that we are not seeing The Phantom in that scene. While perhaps not hypnotizing the Lost Girl outright to commit the murder (?) that may have landed her in the 47 Purgatory, perhaps later, as the remake of OHIBT is undertaken, he becomes the symbol of that catalyst for why the Lost Girl loses her way. Hence, he's looking for his "opening"to sabotage the story as it is recreated/reinterpreted. It is obvious The Man Who Would Be Phantom and the Lost Girl have a strained marriage and there's an underlying threat to what he says and, of course, how he behaves in abusing her. He's already ominous in his original incarnation, and it makes sense that he might take on a more actively haunting role (hence the name?) later, when the Lost Girl watches her chance for redemption unfold on the TV. Initially I thought the Lost Girl was Nikki/Sue and the whole thing could be viewed as the woman's true identity under siege by multiple personalities, but the subtleties of the story exist in a vacuum from that. Whether someone is dead or dreaming or insane, there seems to be a hidden logic to all of what happens. On the other hand, maybe the Lost Girl isn't a victim of her own actions but of the "curse,"but the emphasis in the story on how certain actions have consequences that would be "very dark"implies otherwise.

[/i]
applesnoranges
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Postby applesnoranges » Fri Feb 29, 2008 8:43 pm

Where to place the Polish scene moves around for me. Things I've read keep passing by. It's been suggested that the indoor scene is part of the old 4 7 movie and that in other scenes the Gruszka character is the actress who played that part, as Nikki played Sue. But I can't quite pull the apart; maybe because that movie was never finished. In the indoor scene we hear the scratching sound of an old movie print being played. Yet, next time we return to this Polish couple, there is no scratching sound. I don't know what to make of that except that it works better this way; we're left to figure that out. Or, if the scenes from 4 7 are being dreamed or imagined, the sound wouldn't always be there. But near the end, there is a scene of Gruszka asking the same girls on the street if they recognize her. If that is supposed to be a scene from 4 7, then again it has to be someone's dream for those same 2 girls to be there.

Lost Girl in the hotel room is present time because of the satellite dish, and those girls are present time because in MTTH one of them is paid in euros, which means that the Dern character's confession is also present time because they are the same ones she meets on the street.

I don't make of that though because in the rest of the movie those girls seem to be outside of time; they look the same no matter what age Sue looks in different parts of her life.
MichaelPW
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Location: Germany

Postby MichaelPW » Sun Mar 02, 2008 2:25 pm

applesnoranges wrote:But near the end, there is a scene of Gruszka asking the same girls on the street if they recognize her.


In the recent time I always ask myself what the hand-moves of the right one could mean. Maybe something like: "What you are searching is right behind you! How can it be that you don`t see that?!" And we have someone behind her. I also wonder what exactly is in the air (before or after this scene) and what this could mean (maybe "the air is like burning"?).
TheMysteryMan
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Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2008 10:48 am

re

Postby TheMysteryMan » Thu Mar 06, 2008 8:38 am

Where to place the Polish scene moves around for me. Things I've read keep passing by. It's been suggested that the indoor scene is part of the old 4 7 movie and that in other scenes the Gruszka character is the actress who played that part, as Nikki played Sue. But I can't quite pull the apart; maybe because that movie was never finished. In the indoor scene we hear the scratching sound of an old movie print being played. Yet, next time we return to this Polish couple, there is no scratching sound. I don't know what to make of that except that it works better this way; we're left to figure that out. Or, if the scenes from 4 7 are being dreamed or imagined, the sound wouldn't always be there. But near the end, there is a scene of Gruszka asking the same girls on the street if they recognize her. If that is supposed to be a scene from 4 7, then again it has to be someone's dream for those same 2 girls to be there.


The Wikipedia plot summary says when Nikki/Sue asks the prostitutes at Hollywood and Vine that same question, she is mocking the Lost Girl. If that's true, she would have to be aware of LG saying it in the first place. My question is, if she IS conscious of LG saying it, why mock her that way? Because this is the ugliest side of her personality and that's what she's having "cast out"of her by the screwdriver stabbing in a scene that maybe recalls the abdominal bloodstain on Smithy's apron? I believe it's at this point that she starts the finger snapping.

I don't make of that though because in the rest of the movie those girls seem to be outside of time; they look the same no matter what age Sue looks in different parts of her life.


Truethere's also something kind of strange in how they answer her. I don't remember their exact words, but it's something like, "Yes, we will."Which seems to imply they know they will answer at a much later time, and not, yes we will tell you right now.
applesnoranges
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Re: re

Postby applesnoranges » Sat Mar 08, 2008 2:11 am

TheMysteryMan wrote:The Wikipedia plot summary says when Nikki/Sue asks the prostitutes at Hollywood and Vine that same question, she is mocking the Lost Girl. If that's true, she would have to be aware of LG saying it in the first place. My question is, if she IS conscious of LG saying it, why mock her that way? Because this is the ugliest side of her personality and that's what she's having "cast out"of her by the screwdriver stabbing in a scene that maybe recalls the abdominal bloodstain on Smithy's apron? I believe it's at this point that she starts the finger snapping.

It's not that which she asks the girls on Hollywood Blvd. The two repeats are Gruszka saying that in the snow and Sue at the barbecue. I think both of those come from Gruszka, though I understand less about the second one. It suggests that she is doing in her world what Dern is doing in hers, but that's all I get. What Dern says is a repeat of what Woman #1 says at the beginning. "I'm a whore. Where am I? I'm afraid!" The only way I can see the sense of it is that she is part of that same story but has broken free of the fear in it and is laughing about it. I thought earlier that she was challenging Lost Girl to stand up and fight back, but that way it does seem a mean way to do that.
Truethere's also something kind of strange in how they answer her. I don't remember their exact words, but it's something like, "Yes, we will."Which seems to imply they know they will answer at a much later time, and not, yes we will tell you right now.

More evidence that the barbecue scene comes from Lost Girl....
MichaelPW
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Location: Germany

Postby MichaelPW » Sat Mar 08, 2008 9:39 am

TheMysteryMan wrote:Which seems to imply they know they will answer at a much later time, and not, yes we will tell you right now.


I see it as destroying of optimism. Nikki seems to think that they probably will know her. Maybe because she is an actor (Kingsley says something like "..to get you back on top.."). But the two seem to think that Nikki isn`t normal. Moreover they play with this: They say "Yes" (Nikki thinks in this moment "Oh yes, they know me, because I am a famous actor). Then they say "We will do that" (Nikki thinks "What?? Why don`t they know me?).

It`s the same with Lost Girl. Maybe she was the actor of 4 7. At the end she is (in "reality") a prostitute on the street. But the girls - maybe - point to the one behind her. Lost Girl bites on her lip (and I love the use of such things!).

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