The artificiality in this film---a message from Lynch?

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outofthewoods
 
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The artificiality in this film---a message from Lynch?

Postby outofthewoods » 21 Jun 2015

I was reading through some of my old posts, and in one of them I mentioned the obviously artificial way that the smoke pours into Diane's room after her suicide, and that it's so artificial and thick that we can practically see the fog machines in the room, in our mind's eye.

I then compare that to the Magician's disappearing act, where thick smoke pours out in this same, artificial way.

Then further, I connect it also to the shot of the bum when he's holding the blue box. There's fire and smoke behind him.

So just now I went back to the scene to take a look, and was surprised by a detail that I hadn't noticed before.

As the camera pans past the wall and finally reveals the bum sitting behind the wall, there is indeed a fire behind him (visible between his legs, behind the cart he's sitting on)... BUT (the detail I hadn't noticed), that fire almost immediately goes out (as if on cue), like magic, and we're left only with the smoke, which then starts pouring out thicker and artificially just like the 2 aforementioned instances.

Curious.... very curious.... Knowing Lynch and how he has a fascination with fire and uses it symbolically in many of his films, I know there HAS to be meaning behind this detail of the fire getting "magically" put out, and that he set up the scene specifically for that fire to get put out on cue. Makes me really wonder.... :holmes: Just some more fuel to add to the fire that is MD theory-crafting. ;)

IT IS ALSO VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTICE THAT IN ALL THREE INSTANCES, WE CAN EVEN HEAR THE ARTIFICIAL HISSING SOUND OF THE SMOKE MACHINES! LIKE THE MAGICIAN SAYS, "LISTEN!" (the last thing he says before disappearing into a hissing cloud of smoke). When the Bum's fire goes out, open your ears and you're going to hear the hissing sound of the smoke machine, just like we hear it @ Club Silencio as well as after Diane pulls the trigger.

This jives with an idea I've often expressed in the past (at least on the imdb, idk if I ever mentioned it on this board) when looking at some of the transitions and camera trickery that Lynch uses in the film, that I believe Lynch WANTS us to see the artificiality of the film, that he purposely tries to remind us that we're watching a film, that this isn't real, that things are fake and staged ("it is all just a tape recording" = everything is artificial, a copy of something natural). He calls attention to these facts, and the fog machine hissing sound and artificiality of the smoke's appearance is a further clue to support this, and one of the biggest/most obvious (along with the entire Club Silencio scene). This could be why the film ends with the Club's STAGE and the blue-haired lady. But at the same time, Lynch describes the film as a love story... so then why is illusion and artificiality so important/the main theme of this love story? Maybe the answer is the obvious one, Diane truly loved Camilla and believed Camilla loved her back, but that was the illusion, Camilla didn't loved her the same way, her love was artificial (which is a perfect way to describe her character), and for Diane to find that out, it shatters her entire world. When Betty declares to Rita "I'm in love with you" (one of the biggest shocks in the movie, and a catalyst that causes the movie to take a huge turn, shattering the dream) Rita never says anything back.

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Re: The artificiality in this film---a message from Lynch?

Postby Siku » 22 Jun 2015

Don't forget the artificiality of the hammy acting - Betty and Coco are stand out staid, nearly cracking each other up. And there's Betty and Rita's read through of the audition script! At the real audition the acting is much more believable but by them we know the script, it's all repeated, uncanny.

Interesting, reminds me of Brecht's alienation technique. He, however, intended the audience to reflect consciously on the politics within the drama, to not be swept up. Lynch talks about MD operating an unconscious level, a story that speaks to you without literal understanding of the plot. So pretty much the opposite.

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Re: The artificiality in this film---a message from Lynch?

Postby outofthewoods » 22 Jun 2015

There is also the lights in Mr. Roque's office (and the curtains which make no sense---or rather makes it feel like a stage play/set rather than a representation of a real office), before the scene "fades out," and cuts to the next scene, the actual lights in his office dim to darkness (and we can still see Roque sitting there in the darkness) and THEN there's a fade to black via editing. The effect is very reminiscent of a stage play.

Another one deals with audio. Right after this above scene with Roque and the lights dimming, the film switches over Joe and Ed and the "funny story." When the camera is on Ed as he asks Joe "it's unreal right?" if you listen to the audio of Joe's reply ("yeah, yeah"), it sticks out like a sore thumb. The audio is suddenly very low quality and doesn't even sound like Joe, but it's only for that one bit. Then when Joe is struggling with the fat lady and he falls to the floor the audio again is very "off" and doesn't sound right, doesn't seem to fit. Again it sticks out like a sore thumb. It's hard for me not to see this as related to this alienation technique you brought up. "By creating stage effects that were strange or unusual, Brecht intended to assign the audience an active role in the production by forcing them to ask questions about the artificial environment and how each individual element related to real-life events. In doing so, it was hoped that viewers would distance themselves emotionally from problems that demanded intellectual solutions." Now Lynch advises his viewers to use their intuition and not their intellect, but I still think his intention for employing these techniques is to get us to question things.

I feel this same technique is employed in his "camera tricks" too, for example when Betty lies on the couch on the phone with Ruth, as the camera starts to travel toward the bedroom door (while still hearing Betty on the phone), and the door suddenly opens and Betty is standing there, no longer on the phone. Or when Diane making coffee moves to the couch and the scene suddenly changes, yet she's still making the same motion of moving from kitchen to couch. Both these transitions are shot fluidly, yet mark transitions at the same time, and by doing this I believe Lynch is purposely trying to surprises the viewer, which causes us to question things.

And to add to the artificial acting and one-dimensional personalities of Betty and Coco, there's the atrociously cliche limo driver's line "Beat it, pal!"

But Twin Peaks teaches us that Lynch has a thing for this artificial, over-the-top, fake, one-dimensional style of acting. And what I LOVE is his ability to make us fall for it, to buy into it (which I think is mostly thanks to Badalamenti's musical talents), so that then he can suddenly surprise us with scenes like the real audition with Woody. It's like, woah.... that was really intense, I was not expecting that to happen! That's what makes Lynch so amazing. Betty goes from one-dimensional, naive, Dorothy-like personality to suddenly complex and mysterious, and then back again, all in an instant. Again, he uses artificiality to get us to question what is really happening.

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Re: The artificiality in this film---a message from Lynch?

Postby Coffee Cup » 22 Jun 2015

This thread got me thinking about something.

At the beginning of the film after the Jitterbug scene, we see someone fall into a red pillow. Right before that, we hear a sound that some people have described as cocaine snorting.

That sound is actually much more similar to the sound we hear at Club Silencio as the magician disappears. It's the sound of the smoke machines. The sounds aren't a perfect match, but darn close.

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Re: The artificiality in this film---a message from Lynch?

Postby outofthewoods » 22 Jun 2015

Right before that, we hear a sound that some people have described as cocaine snorting.

Yeah I've read that one in the theory section before, but I don't agree that the noise sounds like snorting, though I can understand why someone might think so.

It's the sound of the smoke machines. The sounds aren't a perfect match, but darn close.

I see what you're saying, there is indeed a sort of "hissing" sound that does sound like the smoke machine! But, there is also another sound layered on top of it... it's the "electrical buzzing" sound that always accompanies the flickering bright white image that intrudes on the jitterbug and "blurry pillow POV." So when the bright white image flickers on screen for the last time, during the pillow POV, it's accompanied by both the electrical buzz AND something new.... which you're right, does sound like it could be the smoke machine noise. Nice observation! I've been trying for a long time to figure out what that noise reminds me of, and I think you hit the nail on the head. You're right that it's not a perfect match, and the electrical buzz layered on top of it makes it harder to distinguish, but I can't think of anything better to compare it to. And, just to add, the visual reminds me very much of a flickering flame. Fire and Smoke. Or should I say, fake fire and fake smoke?


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