*SPOILER ALERT* LET'S TALK ABOUT THE MOVIE!

Discussion of INLAND EMPIRE

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eyeboogers
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Postby eyeboogers » Fri Sep 07, 2007 1:30 am

Annie, I disagree about that, if it's insightful and well thought out, lets by all means get some essays in here. I don't care about reading 40 posts saying "i likes it" or "i hated it" i want to know why and hopefully discover a side of the film in question i missed the first time around.
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Postby Fall_of_Sophia » Fri Sep 07, 2007 3:05 am

I think Lynch certainly has an interest in Gnosticism...

The little boy goes out to play...creates a reflection..could refer to the Demiurge and the world we live in, which, according to some gnostics is a dirty trick, an illusion...all those clicking fingers to wake us UP!! The little girl may well be ahem Sophia, who, in the act of creating the demiurge, is then cast out of the pleroma (the room at the end?) and undergoes various humiliations/personas until finally reconciled with the Godhead (the palace?).
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Postby LeoFaraon » Sat Sep 08, 2007 9:27 am

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Last edited by LeoFaraon on Sat Sep 06, 2014 12:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Annie » Sat Sep 08, 2007 7:09 pm

Well, hmmmm, if you go back to page 2, I said I'd bought some Quinoa. I finally made it tonight and it was pretty good. Not sure why David's burned the bottom of the pot; I used a non-stick pan, and it wasn't at all sticky. And you know all that stuff he says about how high protein it is, etc? Well, it's true.

From my box: "Quinoa--the supergrain of the future. Quinoa comes from the Andes Mountains, and its origins are truly ancient. It was one of the three staple foods, along with corn and potatoes, of the Incas...quinoa contains more protein than any other grain...its protein is of an unusually high quality with an essential amino acid balance close to the ideal." See www.quinoa.net. Here's the quinoa plant.
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Postby biotron » Sun Sep 09, 2007 7:29 am

crikey, this thread has exploded!

for the record : "i likes it" x 40

much as i enjoyed LeoF's perceptive, freewheeling, free-associative rambles, it seems a little harsh pasting so much up on here at once, answering questions directed from other boards, and in the process completely intimidating some of the less-confident members on here and possibly discouraging them from posting less comprehensive opinions. however, i think he makes some fascinating connections, and does acknowledge how previously-viewed films obviously shape the response to and highlight similarities with new works. the quotations from FWWM / omitted Black Lodge script were much appreciated, thanks (i had forgotten all about those lines).

Lynch cannot bear to be asked for literal interpretations of his films, and yet clearly loves the wild forays of speculation that his work provokes in the more obsessive fans. some people are so eager to demonstrate their erudition in relation to this (and other) films, that they occasionally end up being a little too certain of their own interpretations, or that specific symbols in this very open film can be neatly nailed and cross-referenced. mysteries are addictive and constructively frustrating. while i do admire those who spend long periods of their life dedicated to "solving" riddles in such films, and offering helpful insights for the less-inclined, there does come a point when so much talk begins to detract from the abstract beauty of a complex work of art, as i'm sure Lynch would agree. people strive to reduce loaded symbols, but while this can help with understanding in one way, it can diminish the potential subconscious resonance of abstractions carefully placed in the context of a narrative, however unconventional or non-linear that narrative is. celebrated storytellers deal with universal issues using specific / locally-relevant details, to make truths which cannot be easily articulated more comprehensible. i think Lynch is a master of fusing quotidian minutiae with mythical, universal storytelling.

anyway, the first two times i went to see IE was with friends. much as i loved the initial experience, the second viewing brought a lot into clarity, in that the tension of not knowing what was coming next gave way to a better ability to look around the screen for subtle details and pay more attention to the soundtrack. the sound design in this film really is wonderful - and critical in places, forcing associations - and as someone mentioned above, those train hoots are so atmospheric and memorable. during this second viewing, it also helped to be seeing the film "for the first time" vicariously through the reactions of friends sitting either side of me, as sometimes happens, and made me more conscious of what i was witnessing.

the third time i went to see IE, i went alone. i felt sufficiently comfortable with my own basic interpretation of what the film represented, and wanted to see it again without trying to uncover anything new by watching too closely. essentially, i went for the mood and the mood alone, being in the privileged position of still having the opportunity to see it on a big screen with huge speakers. for all that i brought to it third time around, after reading reams of text on the main message board, the film is so well constructed that it is possible to leave that all behind and have a relatively pure experience, however good one's memory may be. the only thing which would jeopardise this for me, as Lynch has stated many times, would be a director's commentary where he flies in the face of his previous obfuscatory techniques and gives away more than ever before.

for anyone who has seen the film for the first time recently, i would recommend they skip reading deep analysis (possibly a redundant comment if you have read this far in this thread already!), allow some time and space to digest things, watch it again closely, and then think about diving into the official forum at :

http://messageboard.inlandempirecinema.com/forum/index.php

fwiw, the sense of understanding i grafted after watching the film a 3rd time (5 months ago) was rooted largely in terms of acknowledging how brilliantly edited IE was, having become more aware of internal consistencies and a structural coherency that just isn't immediately obvious upon first viewing. this understanding is not easily articulated, and can allow the existence of multiple explanations, leaving core elements and symbols vaguely-defined. in this respect, it doesn't matter what alternative world / meaning Lynch himself finally attributes to "Rabbits" (as a show in its own right, or placed as it is within IE) - people are likely to gain the same sense that there are worlds within worlds here, each with a particular mood / tone / texture, many being interconnected and influencing others across time and space, and that - for example - "Rabbits" is one of these interzones that lays bare certain truths through its surrealism when considered in isolation or when introduced into a much more complex web of correspondences.

while Lynch is cleverer than he sometimes tries to appear, he admits that for much of the time shooting IE he had no idea what it was about or where it was headed, and we have no reason to disbelieve that. as with Eraserhead, he even resorted to reading the Bible "to find out what this film was about". (nb scene in LYNCH 1 where he refers to the Gadarene / Gerasene demon - one of the most revealing moments of that documentary)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legion_%28demon%29

with his pure commitment to the primacy of "the idea" in mind, and considering that he is often happy to give free reign rather innocently to the depths of his mind, it seems fair to say that other people are bound to be better than him at unravelling certain tendencies in his work, once he has released it into the world for analysis. Zizek will always give a better Lacanian reading of Lynch than Lynch could himself, and his perceptions do indeed shed light on interesting aspects of Lynchian themes and influences. Todd McGowan - imho - does a superb job of taking the Lacanian critique further, and i'd be very interested to see what he has to say about IE. barryconvex mentions Anne Jerslev, and i'd be intrigued to hear if she has been translated into English, and what barry recommends. most of these critics tend to come from a particular critical strand, as one would expect, and so ultimately there are limitations to adopting one particular approach, whatever is illuminated in the process.

for me, the quote from the Upanishads about the spider and the dreamer is a lovely, succinct way of approaching the film. everything can be connected in this film to everything else if you have the strong inclination / belief that everything in the universe is held together within a unified field, as espoused by TM. we needn't get Hegelian here or discuss the failure of his ambitious attempt to contain Absolute Mind within one rational German Idealist head. if you have a collection of scenes shot on the hoof, and want to squeeze them into as neat a package as possible, throw in some symbols that offer bridges between the scenes. the bum's blue box from MD, a subject of much speculation and analysis, is - in the end - a blue box to which Lynch needs attach no other meaning than that it connects two worlds.

Annie did say it would be good to try and start a discussion. so, apart from offering individual interpretations of what it is actually about, i'd be really interested to hear what it was that people particularly liked / disliked about it - thematically, technically or otherwise.
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Postby LeoFaraon » Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:10 am

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Last edited by LeoFaraon on Sat Sep 06, 2014 12:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby biotron » Sun Sep 09, 2007 12:07 pm

great post there Leo, your least rambling yet :wink:

i agree with a lot of what you say, certainly almost everything "between 16:30 and 20:00" as Chris Morris might say... *

treating the Lost Girl as representative of the IE viewer is quite a fruitful approach, methinks... and the Cronenberg / Burroughs examples are also bang on and interesting... i'm not as familiar with any of the films you refer to, and do enjoy the prism through which they channel your analysis of IE.

remarks about LYNCH 1 are over in this thread :

http://www.dugpa.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=380

i won't paste it here, in case anyone accidentally reads some spoilers. anything else you care to know, do ask - i'll do my best to remember.
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Postby Digital Ghost » Thu Sep 20, 2007 12:38 pm

Watching IE, I can't help but think of Perfect Blue--another movie and movies within movies. Check it out: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0156887/

Also, the anime Serial Experiments: Lain has some serious Lynch-y elements to it: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0500092/

And I wasn't pissed off about the coffee plug...I thought it was actually very cute!
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Postby GORDON COLE ! ! ! ! » Fri Nov 16, 2007 4:21 am

I saw INLAND EMPIRE for the first time at the local cinema...I could not identify with anyone or anything in the film.I have since gotten the UK and the US dvds,just for the special features.Overall I have watched the film twice.It feels like an extended therapy session on the whole.So it just doesnt make much sense to me.I cant believe I,m writing this.For me its a well made film-but thats all.
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Re:

Postby Swim to Heaven » Thu May 22, 2008 6:04 pm

Digital Ghost wrote:Also, the anime Serial Experiments: Lain has some serious Lynch-y elements to it: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0500092/


I love Lain. <3 Just bought the Pioneer box-set recently and it should be interesting rewatching it after all these years-- especially since I hadn't seen any Lynch then and I was about 16 :P.

Now that I think of it, Lain is very Mulholland Dr./Inland Empire-ish-- a girl losing herself as she travels deeper and deeper into a medium that creates for her an entirely other Self.

I was very disappointed that White Rain got scrapped. It looked like it would have followed the same sort of theme.
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Re:

Postby cecil250 » Sat Mar 07, 2009 7:54 am

barryconvex wrote: And the surrealism doesn't seem forced (like many times in Mulholland Dr. to my taste) but comes in like something refreshingly natural very much like in Wild at Heart.


At first sorry for my bad english. I write from Düseldorf/Germany.

I am reading in this forum allready a long time. I am following Lynchs Career sincer since 1982 as a big fan (whose favourite is FWWM too, especially the second half of it).

However the comment about IE above hits the nail so much on its head that I finally decided to log in here...Yeah Inland Empire is in my view much more complete than Lost Highway or Mullholland Drive-you really can see that there was nobody who to tell Lynch what to do. Its a perfect Lynchian secret. Wich has really the RYTHM that Lynch in his artistic freedom wanted it to have.

I found another very nice quote about Inland Empire in the Gaby Wood interview yesterday: "...he dived into Inland Empire... SHOOTING IT "SCENE BY SCENE, NOT KNOWING"..."

That seems to be exactly the point
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Re: *SPOILER ALERT* LET'S TALK ABOUT THE MOVIE!

Postby Carl » Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:37 pm

I often cook quinoa, using the recipe I use for brown rice, that is boil 2 cups water, one oil, one tablespoon of soy sauce and some chopped veggie( broccoli being fine), dump in one cup quinoa and reduce heat to simmer, tightly covered, for 45 minutes.
I try not to talk while I cook it, as this sometimes causes me to neglect turning the heat down, which can cause the stuff to stick to the bottom of the pan.
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Re:

Postby JFK » Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:46 pm

LeoFaraon wrote:This is yet another proof that the audience's experience of the film echoes the process the film went through to be born: a series of isolated parts shot over a long period of time that, my means of Lynch's wonderful editing hand, has a complex web of correspondences established within itself by the author, even if those correspondenses are, like the film's narrative, vague, unconventional or non-linear. So by "bringing out", as an audience member, outside correspondenses to forment a description of what makes the film tick to me, this seems like a harmonious symbiosis/fusion between viewing public and projected film (yet another constant Cronenberg theme, all the way through A History of Violence), a relation which in Inland Empire is apparently translated in the connection between the Crying Girl and Laura Dern's part.


i think youve come to the crux of the matter.
but first, leo, i do find your posts interesting. i used to read them at the IE board(which i was unable to join) but you have to admit, they are dense. anytime you approach something from near the direction of lacan or zizek is bound to be. not everyone has the time for that. especially on a message board. and some of your references are much more personal to your perception of meaning than any of ours. subliminal or not. and yes, that can keep others from joining in for having a different opinion. maybe a little less jumping around in a single post would make everybody happy. now, that being said, i say please keep on ramblin'. they are a much more entertaining read than sycophantic love/hate posts which communicate very little.
now about quoting you, cant one simply say that because of the film's reflexivity of itself as well as of other films(which i instead think of as lynch's own personal film references, and as such, would be loaded not just by his perceptions, our perceptions, and our perceptions of his perceptions, but more with the life-force previously mentioned, that feeling of meaning without articulation that inhabits us when faced with something deeply true i.e. ones soul or TM's universal consciousness)(now im rambling...)that this reflexivity utimately makes IE about FILM and the affect of humanity's relationship with it? like leo says "[a]symbiosis/fusion"? and that it is a positive relationship, of course not without out its bumps, but we end up in a dance party full of beautiful women and a lumberjack, that seems like a good time to me. the palace, i take it to be, as mentioned by vistor #1. and then that final shot over the credits, backing out, when the cameraman(looks like lynch to me in his cap) is caught by the spotlight shining on dern and his shadow is cast on the wall behind her, the absent author not so absent anymore, as least implicitly as a shadow figure.
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Re: *SPOILER ALERT* LET'S TALK ABOUT THE MOVIE!

Postby Snailhead » Wed Apr 06, 2016 2:38 pm

I just watched the film again. It's possibly my favourite film of his. When I first saw the film, I felt as though it really could have benefited from a more concise edit, though I have come to really appreciate how it was put together. With one exception! The sequence where Laura Dern's character finds the gun goes on for way too long. I love the idea of the various locations of the film seemingly now all inside the same building, and there's some gorgeous sets and lighting. Unfortunately many of the shots go on too long, and instead of ramping up the tension it kind of loses momentum. The showdown with the Phantom is incredible, but I feel like it would be a little more powerful without the somewhat tedious scene that directly preceded it.

Also, on an entirely separate note, there's a line of dialogue that's been bugging me. Early in the film, when Nikki (Dern) is in makeup, we overhear Kingsley (Jeremy Irons) talking about a "niece, who's been asking who's playing Smithy."
It's very hard to tell if he's saying "19 year old niece" or "90 year old niece", but I feel like it's 90. I assumed he was talking about Visitor 1 (Grace Zabriskie), considering Kingsley mentions her talking in an "ancient foreign voice", and it would be in line with Visitor 1's forcefully inquisitive nature (as seen in her scene with Dern.) My assumption is that Visitor 1 was visiting the set, perhaps posing as the niece of one of the people involved in making the original film, "4 7".
However, I checked the French subtitles on the DVD and it says "19 year old". Was this a mistake ? Would a 19 year old speak in an "ancient foreign voice" ? Am I simply overthinking an insignificant piece of dialogue?
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Re: *SPOILER ALERT* LET'S TALK ABOUT THE MOVIE!

Postby Saturn's child » Mon May 23, 2016 8:04 am

Snailhead wrote:I just watched the film again. It's possibly my favourite film of his. When I first saw the film, I felt as though it really could have benefited from a more concise edit, though I have come to really appreciate how it was put together. With one exception! The sequence where Laura Dern's character finds the gun goes on for way too long. I love the idea of the various locations of the film seemingly now all inside the same building, and there's some gorgeous sets and lighting. Unfortunately many of the shots go on too long, and instead of ramping up the tension it kind of loses momentum. The showdown with the Phantom is incredible, but I feel like it would be a little more powerful without the somewhat tedious scene that directly preceded it.

Also, on an entirely separate note, there's a line of dialogue that's been bugging me. Early in the film, when Nikki (Dern) is in makeup, we overhear Kingsley (Jeremy Irons) talking about a "niece, who's been asking who's playing Smithy."
It's very hard to tell if he's saying "19 year old niece" or "90 year old niece", but I feel like it's 90. I assumed he was talking about Visitor 1 (Grace Zabriskie), considering Kingsley mentions her talking in an "ancient foreign voice", and it would be in line with Visitor 1's forcefully inquisitive nature (as seen in her scene with Dern.) My assumption is that Visitor 1 was visiting the set, perhaps posing as the niece of one of the people involved in making the original film, "4 7".
However, I checked the French subtitles on the DVD and it says "19 year old". Was this a mistake ? Would a 19 year old speak in an "ancient foreign voice" ? Am I simply overthinking an insignificant piece of dialogue?



(I may have repeated some very common ideas below; it's been awhile since I've gone through IE forums! So apologies if any of it takes on the quality of beating a dead horse)


I just watched IE again recently too (atm, it's also my favourite Lynch film), & funnily enough, the two parts that caught in my mind were the exact two parts that you've mentioned. I'll start with the second, though.

19 vs 90 year-old.

Even though I've watched the film seven or eight times before, this is actually the first time I heard "90 year old". That scene's pretty visually & aurally powerful, so I think -- for my earlier viewings -- it just kind of half-drifted through my consciousness & I never focussed on it. But this time I stopped & rewound (a rarity for me when watching a film) & was sure he said "90", which would also fit with the "ancient voice". But, yeah.... wtf? I don't think this dialogue is insignificant, it seems to happen during a quite revelatory moment, & it asks about the other mysterious character, "Smithy" (Alan Smithee?). Because it's essentially one 'mystery' asking about another, I don't think we're supposed to take anything concrete away from it, but it definitely gets some gears turning.
My loose thoughts on it: if the niece really is 90, it could suggest that (a) Kingsley is some sort of immortal 'director' figure (which could then further support a Bardo/reincarnation reading; a "woman in trouble's karmic journey to understanding"-type affair), or that (b) the niece is yet another reflection of the 'woman in trouble', but one who didn't figure her way out (never realised she was the Phantom?). Perhaps she got stuck in some kind of purgatorial limbo, 'ageing', but not discovering the curse/folk-tale/film's secret?
It could also be (a) & (b), or neither, or all the way up to (z) & beyond, haha. I very much enjoy multiple readings of Lynch's work, especially if they're existing at once, in some strange harmony.

Pre-Phantom-death, wanderin' 'round the building scenes

These were the most powerful scenes in the film for me this time round.
Might need to explain this a bit though. The last few times I've watched IE, Lynch's use of colour has really stood out to me. I know he's used a kind of abstract Hitchcock-ian colour symbolism pretty much from Blue Velvet onwards, but this one really seemed... concise, or particularly powerful. I don't feel Lynch sticks to the same schemes (well, not necessarily), & I believe he's very happy for them to express multiple (or sometimes contradictory) things at once. In saying that...
The use of blue in IE seems most clearly linked with the idea of transcendence/understanding/at-one-ment, etc, although -- again -- it took a few viewings for me for this to sink in. I'm sure I've read this interpretation several times before, but I get much more affected by unconscious processing; just having some abstract info, not connected to deep feelings... it often doesn't do a whole lot, haha. So when 'blue' finally clicked for me, the visceral feelings I had as Nikki ascended a blue staircase, or was given a blue robe, or was wearing blue at the end... it walloped me, haha. Especially the blue light near the end ('Polish Poem' playing); it really seemed as if I 'felt' her come through the ordeal, & for the first time in my IE-viewings, I cried (I tend not to tear up very easily).
Ack, so now we get to the green. I had never really thought about what this colour might mean, but as the viewings went on, & the processing went through its gears, I thought... Maybe it's the colour that allows movement between the worlds/levels/times. I'd have to go back to see how well it holds up (it only 'clicked' halfway through my most recent viewing), but the man in the green coat's ability to go where he pleases, the gun 'appearing' in the drawer on top of a green fabric/coat. Even before Julia Ormond's character 'crosses the road' she's standing next to an ATM with that same particular green (also a good colour for a chicken Coop...)
Anyway, this lime-ish green 'inter-dimensional' quality, since it had largely been used by 'evil'/manipulating characters, had massively sinister associations going on for me. So by the time Nikki/Sue/WiT/whoever gets the understanding to track the phantom down, even though she uses the green 'portal-tunnels' of the hotel for an ultimately positive goal... I was viscerally terrified. It was almost fear mixed with unlimited possibility (which carries its own kind of fear). Anyway, whatever 'between worlds' vibe was getting conjured by that green just hit me like never before. I think I've felt some kind of dissatisfaction in the past about this 'stalking the phantom' part, but, at least now, it's possibly my favourite part of the movie! There was also something powerful about the way she comes around the back of the phantom twice in order to find him. Felt like deja vu, mixed with some spiralling downwards.

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