Thursday, May 3, 2018

Inland Empire Analysis - Renegade Cut

We end our presentation of Renegade Cut's David Lynch series of video essays with the YouTuber's analysis of the master director's final feature film to date to be exhibited in movie theaters: Inland Empire (2006). One could make the argument, like David Lynch did himself, that Twin Peaks: The Return (2017) is an 18-hour movie, but it was presented on a week by week basis as a TV show when it first premiered.
Inland Empire (2006) might take the cake as the strangest David Lynch film, in part because of its uniquely Lynchian genesis. Essentially, David Lynch began filming short films with his home video camera and over about 5-6 years more ideas began to coalesce together and he began expanding on these vignettes until he connected them together into a relatively complex narrative pastiche.
Although David Lynch's artistic eye is still prominently on display, the colors, contrast, resolution, and clarity of his creations suffered dramatically in their presentation because of his use of a home video camera instead of using a more typical 35mm film camera, as he did on all his other film shoots. But true to his word, David Lynch remarked that when he discovered the ease and magic of shooting on digital video, he could never bring himself to go back to the expensive, fragile, delicate, and cumbersome film technology ever again.
And from a purely aesthetic stance, Inland Empire (2006) is the ugliest-looking film in Lynch's retinue because of his use of first generation DV video. Inland was also mostly shot in darkly lit scenes, which tend to look a little muddy and unclear with the video technology in use. And it can be a little bit of a strain on the eye. But once you look past the technical limitations, the narrative and atmosphere of Inland Empire is nothing short of captivating and mysterious in the way only David Lynch can deliver.
Inland Empire is a fascinating watch and will promote theory-crafting to explain its labyrinthine twists, turns, and revelations. Although I love to craft a good theory like anyone else, I also joked around about how we try to explain away a strange phenomenon in my David Lynch book series, where I reference the above clip from the popular Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) TV show's musical episode. And yes, it could be bunnies....

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