Grand Unified Theory?

Discussion of INLAND EMPIRE

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Robin Davies
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Grand Unified Theory?

Postby Robin Davies » Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:28 am

I'm very impressed by the detailed theorising about IE that's been posted on this forum. I was wondering if there is any kind of consensus emerging. Clearly lots of fine details can be discussed endlessly but can you experts agree on any kind of rough plot? My own feeling is that Lynch constructed this film as a free-form stream of consciousness which can't be fitted to even a vague template (unlike Lost Highway and Mulholland Dr.)
applesnoranges
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Re: Grand Unified Theory?

Postby applesnoranges » Fri Aug 22, 2008 6:36 pm

I'd say there is very little agreement about anything in the movie, whether about story line or structure. People everywhere seem to have different ideas about how to proceed into it and now and then find small things to agree about. That's how it looks to me. I do think it is solvable but we are not there yet. I'm not anyway.
MichaelPW
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Re: Grand Unified Theory?

Postby MichaelPW » Sat Aug 23, 2008 1:55 pm

Think that there are different representations of "a woman in trouble". The trouble seems to be the curse which is solved in the end. There`s an actress who died in the making of 4 7. There`s a murder in (the making of) OHIBT, although it was not planned. With the girls we probably have representations of the thoughts of the "Dern-I". The soul of the "Dern-I", which is probably the same as the soul of the "Gruszka-I" tends to try to go to Pomona. What could this mean? What could Pomona symbolize? Probably a problematic actor-life. Also the asian and the african women seem to be potential possibilities of a next (or former?) representation of that I. The I can "transcend" racial borders, but it can`t get rid of the curse until the I becomes aware of the repeating phenomenon. There are important steps of this process: The moment when "Dern" sees herself on the unfinished set and the moment "Dern" "sees" in the eyes of Gruszka, for example.
Carl
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Re: Grand Unified Theory?

Postby Carl » Sun Aug 24, 2008 4:14 pm

Personally, I have no GUT, but seek one. Like the alleged Holy Grail quest, I seek even though I realize I probably do so in vain. I suppose, deep-down, I check out this nice Board in the hopes that someone else will do the heavy-lfting for me and figure the whole thing out. Obviously, this is a self-defeating desire, in that the thinking is the fun thing about this movie in the first place.
:roll:

**'...The I can "transcend" racial borders, but it can`t get rid of the curse until the I becomes aware of the repeating phenomenon. There are important steps of this process: The moment when "Dern" sees herself on the unfinished set and the moment "Dern" "sees" in the eyes of Gruszka, for example....'

Yep, I'm with you here. Waking from 'a kind of sleep' is crucial ( and good drama too.)

***'...Pomona...'
This is in reality a somewhat grubby little exurb, set in the valley of the same name, distinguished mostly for the annual Fair held there ( of which my wife has fond childhood memories.)
Of course, it's named after an ancient Roman Goddess of Agricultural Bounty. I do not think that the central figure in the MTTH party scene where the camera focuses on the fresco is a representation of her, though. I could easily be wrong, but it seems to be from some Christian Saint mythos to me, somehow. I invite correction.
'Pomona' has long been a synonym for 'hick-town'.

****As to Lost Highway: it is my least fave DL movie and if there is a GUT, it's buried way too deep in what I consider crap to dig for.( I've seen the thing about five times; it just does not engage me.)
applesnoranges
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Location: California

Re: Grand Unified Theory?

Postby applesnoranges » Sun Aug 24, 2008 9:26 pm

OT: Every year we would drive out to Pomona to see the fair and out in front there would be a man selling chameleons. He had two boards with cloth on them to which they clung: a red one and a green one. He kept switching the poor things back and forth so the green ones could be seen on the red board until they changed red, then back to the green board. And it was inland and July and hot. But I didn't notice any of that until I got a little older; when I was little, that's what I'd be excited to see first. And they had the best ham sandwiches and home made ice cream bars! I didn't care about the rest of it, though I'd run through it quickly. My parents dropped me off in the fun zone with a pocket full of tickets.

I never saw the town of Pomona; the fair grounds is like a little city of its own.
Robin Davies
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Re: Grand Unified Theory?

Postby Robin Davies » Mon Aug 25, 2008 6:17 am

Carl wrote:As to Lost Highway: it is my least fave DL movie and if there is a GUT, it's buried way too deep in what I consider crap to dig for.( I've seen the thing about five times; it just does not engage me.)

Surely the basic plot of Lost Highway is fairly straightforward and very similar to Mulholland Drive. Fred kills his wife and is consumed by guilt so he transforms (or fantasises himself to be) a younger man who is a big hit with women. Then his guilt causes the real world to leak back in and his original identity reasserts itself. Finally he's pursued by the cops while still trying to transform his way out of trouble. I believe Lynch said it was inspired by the O. J. Simpson case where a man seemed to compartmentalise his consciousness to suppress his guilty memory of committing murder. Of course there are lots of details that are hard to figure out but the basic plot seems fairly clear as it does in Mulholland Drive. In fact I think most of Lynch's films have plots which are easily summarised. IE seems to be an exception. In his review on TV Paul Morley said there seemed to be a point where it was as if the film itself started dreaming - a good description I think!
Carl
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Re: Grand Unified Theory?

Postby Carl » Mon Aug 25, 2008 3:17 pm

Oh, yes, I do see this interpretation of LH. I had in mind a bit grander a unification than the basic hook. The little details don't impress me as very unifying. My opinion as to it's quality stands. ( I didn't know that Natalie Wood's daughter played his girlfriend until I checked her out after seeing her in Another Day In Paradise. Kinky and Cute.)
I was pleased that there seemed to be a bit more( to say the least) in IE than a recap of the LH ( thumbs down), MD(thumbs up) hook. Among the first GUTs bandied about was that it was ( again!) all a fantasy of Sue's as she lay dying on the sidewalk. I want there to be more than this.
JFK
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Re: Grand Unified Theory?

Postby JFK » Sat Aug 30, 2008 5:40 pm

tho i disagree with him on some of his interpetations of certain details, i agree overall with MichaelPW. its all variations of "a women in trouble". physical, emotion, spiritual, etc. meshed with the unified field idea of consciousness. of course then manipulated by lynch and his team into somesort of story about a story. thats the hook and GUT for me. no details needed beyond that define its overreaching theme. and YEAH Natasha Gregson Wagner was quite a treat in both films you mention carl. shes definitely easy on the eyes, as was/still is(only on film sadly) her mother. :wink:
Carl
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Re: Grand Unified Theory?

Postby Carl » Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:17 pm

This is an interpretation that I read about a year ago and which I DO NOT wish to see as the GUT, despite it's truly impressive analysis.
I'm still, sporadically but diligently, putting mine own GUT together.
The thing about that Jungian Depth Psychological approach is that, as the insightful author of the Link below offers as a caveat, it can be used reductively upon almost any literary work ( the closer in spirit they are to fairy tales or myth, the easier). Lol: criticism and Tarot reading are Depth Psychology's most obvious uses, imo.

http://metaphilm.com/index.php/detail/reading-inland-empire/
Carl
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Re: Grand Unified Theory?

Postby Carl » Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:46 pm

LOL, as a stray thought: this is a mystery story where there are perhaps more clues than there is mystery. Meaning, sure, we're being fucked wth to a certain extent, as usual. :wink:
This does not mean there is no central mystery that can be solved.
iefan
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Re: Grand Unified Theory?

Postby iefan » Tue Aug 04, 2009 5:50 pm

Please let me know what you think of my Grand UNIFIED Theory of IE:

During REHEARSAL of Scene 35 Kingsley says this:

We'll BLOCK IT OUT as BEST as POSSIBLE.

Blocking basically means standing in the place where you'll be speaking your lines (like Devon's walking to the back of the Stage where Smithy's House is located (after Freddy says the lines "Who's that?")

So Kingsley's saying we'll "BLOCK IT OUT AS BEST POSSILBE" also seems to indicate these 4 characters (NIKI/Devon/Kingsley/ Freddy) are also already AWARE that Niki's required to be in 2 PLACES at the same time during the REHEARSAL of Scene 35 (both sitting in the chair at the Rehearsal table ... PLUS be in the back of Stage 4 ... looking at herself sitting at the Rehearsal Table ... from the area of Smithy's still unfinished house).

So that probably also means the OHiBT SCRIPT is also a story where Niki gets LOST, or STUCK inside of the Character of being Sue Blue ... which is also the reason why I like this interpretation that's posted over on the other topic:

My naive take was that LG is a fictional character from 4 7, cut off into a kind of limbo by the failure of that movie to be completed. When OHIBT is completed, she is actualized by Nikki's performance, able to communicate with her across both time and mode of reality.

So after the Death Scene ... when Niki walks out of Stage 4 ... and finds LG in one of the other Stages ... HUGS her ... and DISAPPEARS from her arms (to reappear inside of the Rabbit Room) ... what Niki's doing is TRADING PLACES with LG ... so that LG can then continue on with the UNFINISHED part of the other Polish film ... the one that she never got to finish making.

I also suspect Kingsley and Freddy may have also LIED to Niki and Devon about making a REMAKE (as a way to try and SCARE them into NOT having an affair ... which could also cause complications for Kingsley as their Director). But that LIE may have also backfired, making the Leading Lady lose her grip on reality

... due to what they've told her about making a REMAKE of an already CURSED film?.

Anyhow, Niki also appears as if she's on her own after the Death Scene (rather than her still being Directed by Kingsley).

So at this point, (after Dern's Death Scene), perhaps Niki also refuses to accept the death and the fate of LG ... so she still continues on with the story (inside of her mind) ?

Or else it could also still be a PLANNED part of the story and the OHiBT SCRIPT as well?

So the OHiBT SCRIPT itself is probably also a story where the LEADING ACTRESS (Niki) is haunted by the GHOSTS (prostitutes, Phantom, etc) and the LEADING ACTRESS (LG) of still another film.

And that other film may have also never really existed ... but Kingley and Freddy make up the REMAKE story ... hoping the REMAKE LIE they tell Niki will influence her into giving them an even better performance?

And in the OHiBT SCRIPT, the Leading Actress from the other film (LG), is also haunted by the characters (The RABBITS) from the Gypsy Folk Tale?

So this is also the reason why Niki ends up inside of the RABBIT ROOM to find it EMPTY?

Because once LG is rescued by Niki, then there's a RIPPLE EFFECT (like the CIRCLES inside of a TREE or on a pond after a stone is dropped into it), and the RABBITS are also rescued, and no longer TRAPPED inside of their room anymore either?

So Niki then watches the vision of the ballerina (which would be LG), who also had other pictures of ballerina's on the walls of Smithy's house (where LG also lived with her Polish hubby)?

And that's also why the Foul Mouthed Dern ends up inside of the Palace at the end to celebrate with the other character from MD that she blows the kiss to (because the Foul Mouthed Character has also been released and is FREE from her former role as a hooker as well)?

The quote from the other topic continues:


Sue is a fictional charcter, after all, who 'sees' her development further along in the plot and also sees that she is a fictional character ( like in Pirandello or The Twilight Zone). Seeing herself as such is partly why she becomes disoriented. When OHIBT is completed and Nikki wakes from her trance, steps out of character, LG is enabled to rejoin, in a fictional world, her lover and the son they might have had, except the people that played them were murdered.

So what Niki does is UNDO all the damage that was done to the characters in the story (the same way as AGENT COOPER UNDOES the damage done to LAURA from TWIN PEAKS: FWWM ... when Cooper goes into the BLACK LODGE to rescue Laura where she's also still TRAPPED) .

And Niki also does this in the same way as Cooper did (by letting herself become possessed by the PHANTOM ... who is also another representation or version of BOB from Twin Peaks).

And this also explains the reason why the PHANTOM's face turns into NIKI'S FACE after she shoots him.

Because Niki's also let the PHANTOM take possession of her (like Agent Cooper does when he looks into the bathroom MIRROR and sees the FACE of BOB ... before he enters into the LODGE ... where he rescues LAURA).

In order to defeat EVIL you have to become it yourself (like Neo also MORPHS into AGENT SMITH in order to defeat him at the end of the MATRIX TRILOGY).

Yes? No? Maybe So???

:?:
Carl
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Re: Grand Unified Theory?

Postby Carl » Sun Aug 23, 2009 5:50 pm

While camping at Lava Beds National Monument, I read part of a novel by Kim Stanley Robinson, The Years Of Rice and Salt (2002). I loved the beginning and thought the basic structure was brilliant. As in the Tibetan Book Of the Dead, there is an afterlife state, the bardo, where souls are evaluated and sent to their next incarnation: this can be a higher state or lower, even an animal ( even a fucking rabbit!) depending upon one's karma and actions in the last incarnation. I like it ( and my wife hates it) that the girls in MD ended up as lower animals.

EDIT: the author uses the term 'jati', meaning literally 'birth' ( in sanskrit: reincarnation), to descrbe the souls that are linked tgether in the successive incarnations. He cleverly uses the same initial letter in their names, so that we have a whole series of lives or worlds in which 'B...','K...', 'I...', interact. some develp and grow; others just reveal themselves more with each passing life.
Now, the same word,'jati', is more commonly (to judge by google and wiki, anyway) used to mean 'tribe' or an occupational group or guild.
This concept, of the souls that run into each other and act out archetypal patterns of behavior in successive existences, is what struck me originally and led to my research into the correlations between that system and IE.

Well, I had to return home, never finished the novel , but the ideas kept rolling around in my empty head and led me to re-watching IE and seeing the obvious relevance to the 'Wheel Of Time', the cycles of life and death.
EDIT: 'Wheel Of Life', is the actual term, I guess.
Today I googled ' bardo inland empire tibetan book dead' and there found several folks who had years ago worked out just such an interpretation of Inland Empire.
I ain't saying that this is the key or anything to a GUT, but I do feel that it is as relevant ( okay, moreso) than any other interprtation that I have been able to frame. Naturally, any really strong work of art can sustain many interpretations. I doubt that any 'road map to the soul' will ever explain why some scenes in the thing affect me with the garmonbozia or why the ending fails to move me.
One of the google entries was to the old 'Inland Empire Discussion Board', so some of you probably are familiar with it already, though not much of the former discussion here revolved around it.
LOL, bhuddism is not the first system I use to analyze anything, falling even below Jungian Depth analysis. 8)
iefan
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Re: Grand Unified Theory?

Postby iefan » Sun Aug 30, 2009 8:34 pm

Hi Carl,

Read your other new topic. If you're interested ... could also tell you more about a NDE (Near Death Exp) I had, and we could also discuss how the Astronauts also have similar experiences when subjected to the G force while training, etc.

Unlike what the Book of the Dead says, there was no white light on the way there. It was more like someone had switched the camera to another scene.

The lights came flashing by on the way back here again. But they weren't white. They were full of colors (like the scene you see where Bowman travels through the Monolith in 2001).
Carl
Posts: 233
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 1:32 pm

Re: Grand Unified Theory?

Postby Carl » Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:35 pm

Hypoxia.
I have experienced it myself while climbing and the guys that go to the Himalaya report very similar stuff.
The physiological state is not my interest, per se. I'm still into sussing out the framework and internal logic of this brilliant and entertaining movie.
Also, the 'immortal soul' is just another bullshit, stone-age concept, insofar as I can see. Perhaps experience or something will cause me to see things differently.

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