David Lynch, Transcendentalism, Crazy Stuff... Enjoy the ride!

I recently read that bizarre director David Lynch is an ex-Episcopal who practices transcendental meditation.  I've always been simultaneously fascinated, baffled, disgusted, and terribly annoyed with Lynch's films.  They twist and spiral in narratives that seem to have no beginning and no end.  Events repeat themselves, characters change identities.

In The Lost Highway (which has an incredible soundtrack, by the way), Bill Pullman's character whispers to himself from the future: "Dick Laurent is dead."  He hears it in the past and has no idea who he is hearing.  And who is Dick Laurent?  No idea.  But he's in there somewhere...

The first Lynch film I watched was Mulholland Drive (which came out after Highway).  I was so angered by its lack of cohesion or narrative flow, I stewed over it for days.  Actually, the night I viewed it, I couldn't sleep.  Dark stuff.  And I wanted to like it, but I couldn't.  It didn't go anywhere.  I watched it again, after reading some reviews.  Ebert basically said, "it's okay, it isn't supposed to make sense, just enjoy the ride."

And I did.

Lynch isn't the type of material I'd necessarily watch for leisure.  It's brooding and unsettling.  There's a scene in Inland Empire with this family of rabbits (people in suits with huge rabbit heads) walking around, speaking very plainly and without emotion, while a cold, lifeless laugh track bellows every few seconds.  It's terribly unnerving - almost nightmarish.

What a case I've made for Lynch, eh?   Don't get me wrong: I'm not really suggesting you watch these Lynch films.  They really are disturbing.  I guess the stretch I'm making here is that life is often dark, unsettling, has little resolution, and can even be wildly nonsensical.  We want to make sense of it.  We want to force it to obey our expectations and laws and equations.  It doesn't fit.  Ebert's advice still rings true: it's okay, it isn't supposed to make sense, just enjoy the ride. 

Of course, I might add: there is a conspiracy of goodness flowing beneath all the chaos.  I believe that.


tmamone said...

Have you seen "Eraserhead" yet? It's totally effed up (in a good way)!

Existential Punk said...

He's a very postmodern filmmaker!!!

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