David Lynch Films Essay
David Lynch Films
David Lynch is known for is unique directing and films because of his style and structure of his films, he also produced the some of the unique soundtracks for some of his films. Lynch started directing feature films since 1976, since then some people have referred to David Lynch as one of the most artistic directors in the world and you can see why because his films are very deep and dark and there is always a story to tell in David Lynch’s mind. I believe that David Lynch’s films are very interesting, all of his films made me think and I think they all have a deeper meaning then what meets the eye.
This is why I have chosen David Lynch as my director of choice, the films I have chosen to research from David Lynch are: Eraserhead (1977), Blue Velvet (1986), Lost Highway (1997) and Mulholland Drive (2001). I have chosen these films because they are some of his best work and they all have their similarities. I saw throughout the films that the dream/nightmare and the effect of non-realism is a trait of Lynch’s and you can see nightmarish scenes and dream states throughout some of his most memorable scenes in his films.
I also noticed how David Lynch’s films do not really have any proper structure they are muddled and seem to be uncoordinated, this is some of the reason why his films are so unique. Another thing I noticed was that Lynch’s films is how he uses intellectual pleasures to really grasp the audience into his films. I also see the use Corruption or an unlawful underbelly of a town or setting. Dreams and Nightmares non-realism: David Lynch has always inspired many people in an artistic way with his idiosyncrasy film style and his jigsaw puzzle like idea style.
He captures the audience with the nightmares and fantasies in his films which make the audience wonder and think about what is really going on. For example in the film Mulholland Drive we see at the very beginning that someone (assuming Diane Selwyn) fall into a pillow, after we hear a distinct sound of snorting (cocaine). From here on the first half of the film was a dream/fantasy of Diane Selwyn’s who dreams herself as a successful actress Betty Elms, because her real life is a mess and she is not successful as an actor.
You can see towards the end of the film cuts back to Diane’s real life, which is very dark she is poor and has no motivation or success, whereas in her dream life she was an uprising successful actor. David Lynch also displayed this same type of non-realism and use of dreams in his film The Lost Highway, in The Lost Highway we see many dream scenes, there is one main dream which is the of Fred Madison the struggling musician and also struggling marriage, much like Mulholland Drive and Diane Selwyn because she is struggling in her life with depression.
Fred Madison dreams himself up as Pete Dayton, the contrast to Fred Madison because he is really good with the ladies and he is one of the best mechanics in the town. Also we see in both Mulholland Drive and The Lost Highway that there are split roles in the films, in Mulholland Drive we see Betty Elms and Diane Selwyn played by Naomi Watts, and in The Lost Highway we see Renee Madison and Alice Wakefield played by Patricia Arquette.
Both of these split Personalities have a big significant to the films and David Lynch’s Motifs throughout his filming career. These split roles play a big part in The Lost Highway because Renee Madison, the wife of Fred Madison was also playing the role of Pete Dayton’s girlfriend, but her personality changes a great amount between the two roles. And it showed how different that Fred Madison dreamt wanted his life to be. In Mulholland Drive we see Diane Selwyn who is actually Betty Elms, a depressed unsuccessful woman.
In her dream she is a successful rising actress with a steady relationship. So we see in both films that the split roles are in contrast with the actual character, David Lynch wanted this to prevalent in these films so the audience would see how different the world can be in peoples imagination, they have hope and aspirations it can be completely the complete opposite from the reality. In the Film Eraserhead we see a lot of dream sequences and weird fantasies/hallucinations throughout the whole film like his others.
Like when we see when Henry Spencer have a weird hallucination about his deformed baby after he killed it. The Baby becomes bigger and moves around the room like he is in some weird dream. David Lynch shows so many scenes like this throughout Eraserhead and it makes the audience very curious on what’s really going on in the film. I think that David Lynch wants his audience to feel this with all of these films because they all relate when it comes to dreams and the non-realism feel you get when you watch his films.
Non-linear Structure: Structure is a thing that many directors try to perfect in films, whether it is a very straight forward easy to understand film, or on the other end of the scale where the film would be very non-linear and very broken up. David Lynch is definitely on that side of the scale, because his films are artistically structured in a non-linear way, and you can see this throughout his directing and through the films he has done. In Eraserhead we see this trait at its finest, because Eraserhead is so non-Linear it is more like a jigsaw puzzle that was randomly put together with clips.
For example we see at one point Henry Spencer is sleeping and then the camera zooms in for a close up of the column heater, then fades into a scene where a girl with a deformed face is dancing to a jazz type slow music, then she starts stepping onto falling deformed worm looking things, after this it then fades back into the bed with Henry Spencer and another boy in the bed that he does not know who is also very strange, Henry then starts pulling out the same deformed worms out of the bed.
David Lynch has got scenes that are very strange like this throughout Eraserhead and this makes the film feel very loose and unstructured, this causes confusion to the viewers which I believe Lynch want’s. I also noticed a similar structure style with Lynch’s other famous films like Mulholland Drive and The Lost Highway because in both of these films the structure is very alike, in Mulholland Drive the movie is in parts but you don’t know really which part is which until you figure the movie out in the end.
For example at the start of the film when we see Rita (as she’s called) in the car accident and from there on the film is a dream until about two thirds of the way through, when we see the reality of the film. When we see Rita in bed, then the camera fades into the same shot but with, Diane Selwyn in the bed, then she wakes up to the door knocking Lynch again makes us confused because we thought we knew what was going on in the film, but it turns out that the whole thing was completely different to what we thought.
Lynch also muddles that structure by putting sub plots that don’t really tie into the main plot. This also makes his films hard to follow. Because in Mulholland Drive we see the man in the Winkie’s dinner and we see him again at the end in the dinner, he was not significant to the main plot, this is the same structure style as Eraserhead because of the weird sub plots. In The Lost Highway I noticed a lot of the same style and structure as Lynch’s previous films, like when we see how Fred Madison and Pete Dayton are the same person.
We find out that Fred Madison has a multiple personality disorder. Because when he wakes up in the prison he is someone else, at that point the audience is thinking what has happened to Fred Madison, then towards the end of the film just after Pete and Alice make love we see Fred Madison get up from the ground instead of Pete Dayton. This is when Fred is back to himself, David Lynch had structured the film so the audience did not know what was happening until the end of his film.
And even by the end of this film I still did not fully understand how this had happened, this I believe is what David Lynch’s structure style is about though, David Lynch makes the film structure hard to follow so that everyone can get their own interpretation from the film. David Lynch wants everyone to take a different approach on the film, he wants everyone to think something when they come out of the movie. Underbelly and Dark side: David Lynch films have never been straight forward or a generic Hollywood film.
Lynch has always made films that have a darker side to them, another world almost within the film. In Blue Velvet we see a bright town with a good vibe. we see at the very beginning a fireman happy waving as the fire truck whizzed by. And we also see people out on the streets are all happy when Jeffrey Beaumont is walking to the police station, but you can never be sure in a David Lynch film if things are really as they seem. We see that the town is not just as peaceful as we thought it would be, the darker side of the film was starting to emerge.
I noticed this when Jeffrey was going to investigate Dorothy Vallens’ mysterious apartment, and what we see in that room are not. there is a disturbing scene where Jeffrey is hiding in the closet hiding, and looking through in horror as he saw Frank Booth the towns gang leader, disturbingly make love to Dorothy whilst abusing her. This is the beginning of the underbelly side to the film, we see later in the film that Frank Booth is doing underground drug deals and getting people killed.
We then see a scene where Dorothy has to see her son but Frank only let’s her see him for a couple of minutes then he say’s “get out! ” after only around 30 seconds in there. so frank has Dorothy’s son kidnapped so he can get what he wants out of her. this is all happening under the radar of all of the people in the town of Lumberton. We see a significantly darker side to the film when we see what is really happening in the town, it seemed all beautiful and nice but when you dig deeper we see the true underbelly of the town.
In Mulholland Drive I also noticed a sense of underbelly to the film. I saw that in Mulholland Drive there is a wonderful bright future for Betty Elms which is quite happy for the most part, she is excited about her new uprising career as an actress. But then in reality we see that Betty Elms who is actually Diane Selwyn is in a dark and dirty apartment building and is very depressed and I think drug addict, this is the dark side to her in the film. e also see in this film that there are very dark and twisted dreams/ nightmares like at the start in the dinner with the monster around the corner, which we also see this same monster at the end of the film. I researched into this film and read up one of the interpretations in the film that said Diane Selwyn was harassed by her Grandfather as a young child, this is why at the end of the film she runs off to kill herself because of her grandparents walking scarily towards her and screaming. o we can see in contrast the dark and bright in Mulholland Drive through the dream or nightmares as well as interpretations of the film, this film has a very deep and dark underbelly when we go into the film. Now David Lynch I believe did almost the same thing with The Lost Highway because we see Fred Madison as a jazz musician at the start, and also him with his wife in bed. But we have other parts of the film where Fred is having a breakdown about the mystery man getting in his house, then we see this mystery man later in the film who we know is breaking into Fred’s house, he is very dark and suspicious.
But at the very end we see that Fred kill the gangster Ed, who we see beat a man on the road with Pete earlier in the film, so the idea of the dark unlawful underbelly comes out in these films. Which is in contrast to what see in some of the brighter parts in Lynch’s films I believe Lynch is trying to make the audience understand that people need to think about what could really be going on in their society. I noticed that David Lynch has many of Sigmund Freud’s theories and beliefs throughout his films, because we see that all of Lynch’s films already have the underbelly and the other side in the film.
In another film like a Disney film a Freudian could interpret their own underbelly and meaning because in those types’ of films we just see the top layer and the happy side of the film, but Lynch has exposed all of the darkness and corruption in his films already. David Lynch’s Films are definitely known for their uniqueness and individuality, I believe the aspects that help his uniqueness are his how he portrays dreams and nightmares in films and how different they can be from the reality.
Also how non-linear his films are which makes people really try to figure out his artistic ways of filming structure. I believe that the underbelly and dark side of Lynch’s films are also a noticeable factor to his success in film directing. I believe that Lynch wants everyone who is watching his films to take what they interpret from the film, as there can be so many different interpretations of his films that one person may not think like the other. That is why Lynch’s films are so ‘out there’.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 18 November 2016
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