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Return to Twin Peaks

David Lynch is a genius. I'm watching Twin Peaks again to prepare for the panel I'm doing on it at DragonCon, and I'm just astonished at the deliberate and conscious artistry. I notice new things each time I watch it, but this time I've been taking notes on a legal pad for each episode . . . it's just remarkable what was being set up from the very beginning: layers upon layers. It's also interesting to note who comes in contact with the color blue, and when . . . the number of references to dreams . . . I won't say more than that, because while I don't feel any hesitation about writing spoilers in my own LJ, I do know that at least one person who's reading it has never seen the series . . . actually, I think it's two people.

As much as I've read about the symbolism in the show, I still don't have a clue as to what the square black shadow that sort of flies from left to right across the red curtain actually means. It's obviously done with purpose, but I don't know what it means. Then again, as Lynch expressed in Lynch on Lynch, we're not supposed to know everything, because there is a certain innate value to mystery.

However, I'm thinking there's a proportional formula, here: the better the show is, the shorter the amount of time it's able to survive the Clueless Media Execs. Twin Peaks was two seasons. Babylon 5 had to fight for its existence with fan petitions every single season, and the last one was so close that there's a compelling argument as for why the fifth season isn't of the caliber of the previous four. They really thought they were gone, so JMS had to wind it up in #4, then didn't have anywhere to go, really, in #5 because they'd ruined his pacing. I wish it could've been otherwise: I would have loved to see the story told the way he originally envisioned it, but I'm grateful for what we got, at least.

Lynch, though . . . Lynch is an artistic visionary, and I mean that in the full sense of visions and dreams.

Why are the best ones always thwarted? Why is it that on US television, we have yet to have a pure, unadulterated one get out alive? I swear, Lynch fans perhaps ought to set up a David Lynch Fund so that the man can make what he wants to make - we could just buy up all the commercial space, on the condition that they not mess with it. The networks would get paid, and we'd get to see what we want, untrifled-with. Or he could just release it directly as a DVD serial. That would work, too.

Television executives never learn: they did it again, and worse, with Lynch's Mulholland Drive. Idiots. Idiots, idiots, idiots.

Despite all this, what we do have of Twin Peaks remains astonishingly rewatchable. It's not dated at all - partially, I think, because it always had sort of a place-out-of-its-time feel to begin with, like a really dark version of Brigadoon. There's a certain Fifties feel to it.

I have to stop writing this rant 'cause we're contemplating dinner. ;)

Comments

mumpish
Aug. 22nd, 2001 10:43 am (UTC)
... beg to differ ...
Lynch may be a genius, and in deference to our friendship I'll pass on that argument ... but remember this: for every truly inspired gem there's a 'Lost Highway' lurking out there somewhere ... I will give him this, though - I made the mistake last year of spending a sick day watching a friend's tape of the 'Dune' remake for Sci-Fi channel, and can testify that Lynch's vision is sometimes less painful than the alternatives.

Jim
pointedview
Aug. 22nd, 2001 12:26 pm (UTC)
Re: ... beg to differ ...
Ah, but Lost Highway is not without merit.

Okay, think of it this way: you know how Stephen King and, to a lesser extent, Neil Gaiman have certain characters and themes recurring and crisscrossing their work time and again? Same thing with Lynch. He even reuses his people: Jack Nance, aka TP's Pete Martell, was the star of Eraserhead.

The problem with Lost Highway, like Fire Walk With Me and some of Lynch's other motif works, is that you really have to have followed the whole arc through different works to get them at all, at times. You have to have a familiarity with curtains and people with yellow teeth, and with time as a non-linear concept. Because of this, the casual viewer, even one with an art-house pedigree, is not going to get one of his movies if they've just walked into it and haven't seen a good bit of his previous work. Lynch isn't interested in commercial success, thank goodness.

It's a rich, magical, dark world, and it's well worth the effort of perseverance, in my opinion, but I'll readily admit that Fire Walk With Me and LH left many people lost. I think that's one of the reasons Twin Peaks, the series, was so strong. Lynch had Mark Frost to temper his vision a little bit - not so that it was watered down, but so it was rendered in a way that was more comprehensible and digestible to a broader scope of people. It warmed the darkness with quirky humor and a balance of light against the dark woods.

As for Dune, I really want to see the new Director's Cut on DVD. I was disappointed in the Sci-Fi version, particularly in their casting for Paul and Chani.

Rewatch Peaks from the beginning. Heck, when I get the DVDs, we'll have you over for a watching party weekend. Then I'll give you a wonderful paper that a German guy wrote in which he analyzed the show for his thesis (I believe). Plus there's Lynch on Lynch, The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, the Cooper tapes (which I have on MP3), and more. :)

Hugs,

K., TP (and to a lesser degree, Lynch) pimp

:D

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