The Passion of David Lynch: Wild at Heart in Hollywood
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Filmmaker David Lynch asserts that when he is directing, ninety percent of the time he doesn't know what he is doing. To understand Lynch's films, Martha Nochimson believes, requires a similar method of being open to the subconscious, of resisting the logical reductiveness of language. In this innovative book, she draws on these strategies to offer close readings of Lynch's films, informed by unprecedented, in-depth interviews with Lynch himself.
Nochimson begins with a look at Lynch's visual influences—Jackson Pollock, Francis Bacon, and Edward Hopper—and his links to Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles, then moves into the heart of her study, in-depth analyses of Lynch's films and television productions. These include Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, Wild at Heart, Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, Dune, The Elephant Man, Eraserhead, The Grandmother, The Alphabet, and Lynch's most recent, Lost Highway.
Nochimson's interpretations explode previous misconceptions of Lynch as a deviant filmmaker and misogynist. Instead, she shows how he subverts traditional Hollywood gender roles to offer an optimistic view that love and human connection are really possible.
on Lynch’s part when I refer now and then to the collective unconscious. With this exception, I consistently refer to the operation of the nonrational faculties in Lynch’s work using his term, the subconscious. A Lynchian subconscious, but pervasive, connectedness is also suggested by another moment I recall from our conversations. Early in our series of discussions, Lynch emotionally drew back from continuing a point he was making, frustrated by his sense that his words were insufficient
commentary is probably most valuable for the insight it provides into Lynch’s relationship to the commercial mass media. For all its fantasy-laden interplanetary settings and futuristic technology, the plot of Dune is impossibly un-Lynchian in nature. Unfolding the struggle of the Kwisatz Haderach—the Savior of the Known Universe—Dune chronicles a conventional rebellion in the struggle of hero Paul Atreides (Kyle MacLachlan) against an unjust social authority. In Lynch’s movie, and even in Frank
By contrast, in the chapters to follow we shall see that the Lynchian protagonists who engage our affections and move in positive ways also move in abidingly successful ways that are often associated with, affiliated with, or embodied by women. In The Elephant Man, Frederick Treves purportedly uses the sanctuary of medical science to save John Merrick, but it is Merrick with his receptive masculine identity, closely associated in the film with women, who has the capacity for moving Treves beyond
encourages us to arrive at a new vision in which we see her death as a death of the illusion of the literal. Laura’s death is a parable confirming the reality of human freedom, of which the ring is a guarantor. This notion of Laura’s freedom in the subconscious beyond of the town of Twin Peaks is the seed that is planted in her dream and that germinates as the story progresses, culminating in the visions of the angels. At this point, Laura is confused about the message to her from her
portrayal of the male body. By this, I do not mean the images of the feminized male body as icon of desire that have been around since Rudolph Valentino at the very least. The development to which I allude represents an increasing disturbance of the iconic “heroism” of male aggression as a “protection” from what has been portrayed as the engulfing chaos of female sexuality and energy, resistance beyond anything Hitchcock and Welles imagined, in which the spectator bears a Jeffrey-like