The Mind Can Go Dreaming: the Narrative and Aesthetic Revolution of David Lynch's INLAND EMPIRE 公开

Richey, Brian Matthew (2012)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/ht24wk29w?locale=zh
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Abstract

David Lynch has built his oeuvre around disrupting traditional relationships to the cinematic image, agitating the viewer with the disquieting notion that unseen horrors lurk beneath the surface. Shot on an already obsolete standard-definition camera, INLAND EMPIRE's murky, often blurry, visual style both embodies and expands upon this approach by relying upon the viewer's imagination to an unprecedented degree. As Lynch notes, this ambiguous imagery has the potential to let the mind go dreaming. Further, with its fragmentary structure and lack of causation, Lynch pressures the viewer to interpret and make connections between disparate scenes and ideas. Yet, Lynch utilizes the spectator's personal involvement to envelope us in the protagonist's, Nikki Grace (Laura Dern), tortuous struggle to liberate herself from psychological demons. Throughout, I will interpret Nikki's journey to higher consciousness as a criticism of the constraints of classical cinema. In the end, Lynch not only mounts a dense, unconventional narrative with an unusual digital aesthetic, but also articulates a powerful critique of classical cinema's potential to transmit regressive ideology to passive viewers. In particular, the narrative is haunted by a "curse" of infidelity, betrayal, and murder, which is not only a familiar melodramatic narrative of little creative potential, but also propagates demeaning female images. Nikki will fracture into several identities that embody these female archetypes. She will ultimately need to confront and overcome the ideological threat of this narrative, embodied in the "Phantom" character, to reach a new spiritual strength and peace of mind. Her transcendence becomes synonymous with INLAND EMPIRE's revolutionary insistence on the creative agency of the spectator to form a narrative and craft the characters themselves.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................................... 1

The Title ................................................................................................................................ 6

Plot Description ...................................................................................................................... 7

Production History .................................................................................................................15

A Meditation on Recording Technologies .......................................................................... 21

The Way to the Palace: A Narrative Roadmap ................................................................. 23

Celebrity Culture and A Predestined Affair ...................................................................... 24

Identity Rupture: Fracturing into Multiple Personas ..................................................... 25

Identity Rupture in Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive, and Inland Empire................. 28

Dark Corridors .......................................................................................................................36

Light the Way: the Capacity of Light and Thwarted Visibility .................................... 39

Screens and the Lost Girl ....................................................................................................... 43

The Phantom and the Ideological Residue of Film-going ............................................... 44

The Phantom's Controlling Gaze ......................................................................................... 48

The Curse Lurking Unseen .................................................................................................... 50

The Artifice of Narrative and the Breakdown of the Digital Apparatus .................... 57

Overcoming the Curse and Transcendence ....................................................................... 64

CONCLUSION .........................................................................................................................77

Works Cited ...........................................................................................................................83

Filmography ..........................................................................................................................84

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