Welcome to my movie blog, containing reviews and articles. I've been writing since 2004 - with a short break during 2009.


Until 9 o'clock last night, David Lynch was my Favourite Director Whose Films I
Haven't Actually Seen. He'd inherited the title from Werner Herzog, and Quentin Tarantino before him, and I'm curious to see who comes along next.

Because last night, we watched Mullholland Drive - the closest thing there is to a dream on screen, and marvellous exercise in "Ghost Light" cinema. Ghost Light being an episode of Doctor Who, its incomprehensibility on par with it's beauty.

I have the same feeling for it's mysteries as I do for Blade Runner. The director has made a film with an ambiguity, and thus you are meant to appreciate the ambiguity. If he had meant it to be solved, he would have solved it. As it stands, I think the director means to give us headaches, no more, and is having on with the promise that it "makes sense". He generously gives us ten "clues" in the DVD case, such as "Where is Aunt Ruth" and "notice appearances of the red lampshade", to muddy the issue further. I don't think there needs to be an explanation - to be beautiful and enigmatic is enough. It makes sense on a thematic, sensory level - if not on a logical one.

If I had to pitch for a theory, I'd say parallel realities that are in a constant loop. The blue box represents shifting from one reality to another, and these events have been played out again and again. Turning the key resets the world, and shifts you to the other one. A bit Sliding Doors, and a bit Run Lola Run, and a bit like Donnie Darko in the way the two realities bleed into one another. It reminds me of a story, but I haven't put my finger on which yet. I'd also say the most important clue on the list is number five - "who gives a key, and why?" - but don't bother your head with the "can you hear the title of the film that Adam Kesher is auditioning actresses for? Is it mentioned again?" , because I knew from the start they wouldn't mention it once. I'm also intrigued by the Adam-Cowboy subplot, partly because it does seem to have something solvable about it. The Cowboy says, if he chooses Camilla, he will see him once more - if he doesn't, he will see him twice. Adam sees Betty across the room at casting and is obviously fascinated, and if Betty had auditioned then he would have picked her. Instead, she runs - he casts Camilla - and you do see the Cowboy once more, in the second reality, where he has physically picked Camilla over Betty.

I was reminded of it when Calypso read me one of Freud's nuttier essays for a laugh. To him, the box represents the female, and also represents death, and in turn, leads to the two fundamental parts of life - the necessity of death and the choice of love. Which is all fruitcakes, especially in the context he was describing it, but it reminded me of the film in several ways. Cinematically, the portmanteau tale reminded me of the Coen brothers at times. It was also a clear precursor to Donnie Darko - not so much the weirdness as the similar soundscape. Oh, the sound! I've never seen a movie with such marvellous sound design before. Very beautiful and strange. As was the sense of dreamlike timelessness - somewhat like Tarantino: he makes modern movies, but with such a retro feel that I am always shocked when characters pull out a mobile or ipod a la Death Proof. Betty is going for a consciuous Grace Kelly thing, but Rita is almost vampiric - as if she had walked straight out of a black and white movie, and had yet to regain all her colour. Her look is just so classical, and creepy.

I'm intrigued by the total control he has over his actors. Total. One of the reasons I'm not always enchanted with film is the concept of control. So, in a book you have total control over every aspect except your audience's imagination - in a comic, you can determine what things look like but have less control over, say, internal monologue or describing the way people speak. In films, you can't determine exactly the look of your actors, nor their performance - actually, they may take your meaning and twist it utterly. David Lynch has them like puppets on strings - a lot of the expressions and manners of speaking, to me at least, seem to come straight from his imagination. I can't define it. It's wonderful.

I want to write an essay about how watching cinema changes you physically. The way people change when watching violence, sex or something scary or romantic. For example, I heat up when watching something scary, and when I am really, really enjoying a film, I discover my breathing rate tends to slow -which is something that did happen while watching. Calypso is a fine person to watch cinema with - she instinctively understands that a movie should be 90% total silence, and 10% movie trivia. Contrary to what you might expect, if nothing pressing is going on, I don't mind interruptions to point out that character X is being played by the director's estate agent, or shot Y is a tribute to an obscure film no one has actually seen. Of course, this percentage changes depending on the nature of the film, but I was intrigued to discover it started life as a TV show. Might explain where all the exposition went.

As it was, it is brief and self contained. Mysterious. Beautiful. Silencio!


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