"Do you want to see?"
"Our producers know the history of this film and they've taken it upon themselves not to pass on that information to us. Purposefully."
"It's a story that happened yesterday but I know it's tomorrow."
I hadn't seen Fire Walk With Me since it had come out. I was so into Twin Peaks I decided to absolutely not watch any of the tv series again for at least ten years. It's much longer than ten years now that the show was on tv...but I still haven't re-watched it. I was wanting to see if I could watch the movie Fire Walk With Me and decide if it holds up on it's own outisde the tv show. It does. I watched the film last night and I really felt it was a true Lynch movie...and quite easily could be seen without knowing anything about the tv show. It does play out a couple of things not in the tv program...but the images provide mythological atmosphere and are so provocative even separated from the show. The trees remain haunting and with personalities, Bob might even be more frightening than ever, and it's clear in the film that evil is not supernatural.
Now I feel ready to work my way through the show. I believe that the program was more or less conceived as a mini-series. We find everything out and who killed Laura Palmer in the first season. What happened was Lynch didn't know people would want more so the rest of the episodes play with all the "layers of meaning" almost in over drive. I read somewhere that Lynch thought (paraphrase)...what could have been more obvious to the audience that evil is in our own lives rather than "supernatural" (supernatural represented by character Bob) but if they want more mystery...I'll write more shows.
I love the movie version because it contains the strange hyper aesthetic of his other movies...yet with the tv characters (who were just a tone less intense in tv storylines) and I love the night club scnee it really captured the allure of nightclubs and the atmosphere.
I found I was able to see how he had worked his way to his vision of Mulholland Drive. I love Lost Highway which is another stepping stone of Lynch aiming for zen storytelling and consciousness.Where in Twin Peaks he used the idea of "cousins" to represent identity, mistaken identity, look-a-likes is a metaphor for the soul of humans being "all one"...his zen vision of movie story telling came into full for the audience in Mulholland Drive. It is possible to logically figure out what the time related memories indicate about the characters. Lost Highway and Mulholland Drivehe used identity and the zen philosophy of "all one consciousness" among souls by using the same female actress in two different characters (in Mulholland Drive she is soul ignorant of her desires therefore ignorant of her own self)...to play with narrative and soul and memory. The main character of Naoimi Watts remains ignorant of her self and her karma except for self shame or failure (she kills herself), but the audience may acheive full understanding.
There is so much about storytlling in Lynch...an example with Balthazar Getty appearing in prison through transformation in Bill Pullman...we see his "memory" because he can't llow himself to see how he got where he was...murderer in prison so we watch Bathazar Getty travel the journey of Bill Pullman in youth. Patricia Arguette plays her younger self in the flashback portion of Lost Highway...often confusing the audience who is accustomted to a European/American storyline structure. The idea that we separate our own selves in memory and action...works beautifully for how our brains separate the idea of identity and spearate humans into separate souls. Lynch has been dedicated to movies that ask why not use a different world philosophy to structure story? Lynch's movies reject contemporary story structure based on Bible devices instead they are built around Buddhist and Zen ideas of consciousness and existence.
In the tv show Twin Peaks Laura could not allow herself to see that it was her father who was "evil" she manifested the image of Bob instead of seeing her own father being her molester. For tv viewers who never could accept that was what Lynch was working with...he actually switches the actors heads during a rape scene in Fire Walk With Me.
Laura is playing out with a "repression" in contemporary psychological understanding, but in Buddhism it is an act of Alaya-vijnana: The part of the subconscious that, in response to causes and conditions, sends pieces of illusion from the manas to the five senses and thought. This forms a cycle, that is endless, of delusion. We can understand how emotionally painful her abuse from her father so she protects herself by replacing her father's face with a "bad guy" Bob. ( considered an anagram for "Best Of Beasts" by many fans)
Lynch has fully produced a movie that plays with the separation idea of polarity in souls, at first seen as a repression in a psychological concept and by the end of the movie in a Buddhist philosophy of store consciousness.
Traditions of Tibetan Buddhism teach that all-encompassing foundation consciousness, or "storehouse consciousness" manifests in human brain as an unclear consciousness that underlies all moments of cognition before enlightenment. It serves as the basis for imputation of the habits of unawareness and of karma, continues from lifetime to lifetime, but ceases with the attainment of Buddhahood. Although Laura Palmer is a tragic figure, raped by her father, addicted to cocaine and eventually murdered by her father she is also in the process of attaining Buddahood: knowing who she is and that she is not a victim of her suffering, but a soul in the process of nirvana. Nirvana is knowing who we are and what our underlying motivations for decsions and actions. It's much simpler concept than sacred texts and religion would reveal. Laura uses cocaine in order "to stay awake" so she is not a sleeping victim of her father's desires, perhaps able to prevent the abuse by being awake as he comes to her bedroom when she is sleeping. She believes if she is awake she will not be abused, if she knows everything then she will be "saved". (this is the reason everyone takes cocaine: "to be awake" it is a misdirected spiritual craving)
Laura does reach nirvana or store consciousness, she is smiling at the end of Fire Walk With Me in the famous zig zag red curtained room with Agent Cooper. The room is gnostic, it contains and reveals mystic knowledge or self knowlege of the universe and roots of reality. (store consiousness) During the series there is the idea that her necklace with half a heart belongs to her "lover" when actually Laura is looking for her own completed full heart. The pop culture question "who killed Laura Palmer?" is really an inversion of the mystery to solve in the series. Fans sought to know Laura who killed Laura, but the real question is an inversion in Twin Peaks: can Laura find life? (store consciousness)
Lynch takes his vision of storytelling and the souls search for "all one" or store consciousness further with the director versus the actor versus the audience. We know how Shakespeare and Hitchcock loved this story structure and device...and now Lynch is their child of vision. Shakespeare has Hamlet speaking out loud his confusion and he gains self knowledge/truth through producing a play and by excercising his own journey out loud. Hitchcock has many stories about the ordinary person seeking knowledge in extraordinary circumstances. In Vertigo Jimmy Stewart fails to recreate his past in order to attain love and peace, like cocaine addiction, he misdirects a spiritual craving.
Inland Empire manages to use both Hamlet's and Veritgo's ideas to the act of producing and making a new story to create a past history but uses a film production as the metaphor for self knowledge/store consciousness. The director played by Jeremy Irons doesn't know how the movie will end, but he knows that the "producers" (god in Judeo-christian philosophy or store consciousness in Buddhism) know the history of the film...and are not telling us...we need to take the journey. Most importantly, the movie Inland Empire reminds us that we are well served if we know we are in this movie, we are writing the story and have the potential to see this very illusion. By seeing a connection between manufacturing the illusions of movie making with the notion of maya and store consciousness of Buddhism, Lynch aims to make us recognize the illusion of our own desires and motives in life. Inland Empire shows us the movies star actress finds out the movie was always in progress and she is smiling at the end.
When presenting screenings of the digital work, Lynch sometimes offers a clue in the form of a quote from a translation of the Aitareya Upanishad: “We are like the spider. We weave our life and then move along in it. We are like the dreamer who dreams and then lives in the dream. This is true for the entire universe.”
Is it possible the audience can watch the obviously titled Inland Empire revealing the location of the plot, characters and "the producers" and be smiling at the end of the movie just like Laura Palmer?