Film review: Three Colors White (1994)

My review is intended for people who have already watched the film. Contains spoilers.

In Kieslowski’s own words, a lyrical or sad comedy. The director thinks you laugh, because we are not in those situations ourselves. I think this is my favourite part of the three colours trilogy, and for me has some interesting and ambiguous characters, who stayed with me and remain a puzzle.

An interviewer asked Kieslowski, how did you conceive the films in relation to each other?
Kieslowski: We looked very closely at the three ideas, how they functioned in everyday life, but from an individual's point of view. These ideas are contradictory with human nature. When you deal with them practically, you do not know how to live with them. Do people really want liberty, equality, fraternity? Is it not some manner of speaking? We always take the individual, personal point of view.

Interviewer: The theme of equality is not, at first glance, very obvious in White.
Kieslowski: It can be found in different areas: between husband and wife, at the level of ambitions and in the realm of finance. White is more about inequality than equality. (...) For White, I named the hero Karol (Charlie in Polish) as a tribute to Chaplin. This little man, who is both naive and shrewd, has a ‘chaplinesque’ side to him.

The main theme is equality. Can we ever be equal in a relationship? Love is not democratic, but it seems to be a series of compromises. It would be great if we gave our loved one the same amount of affection, but the world doesn’t work like that. Often one party cares more than the other, and we don't always know if we've given enough love. Human behaviour is not math, it's not a 50/50 deal. And how to deal with this situation? We don't always remember to give the love a loved one needs, and communication is obviously key regarding expectations, but in the case of Karol and Dominique it's very difficult. Sometimes the people who crave affection the most are the ones who are the worst at giving it.

According to an interview with the director, the bird shit scene at the beginning is a summary of the whole film. He feels maltreated by fate, Karol has observed the bird with a sense of joy, and therefore feels humiliated. For Kieslowski, part of the films theme is humiliation. People are not and will not be equal. The hero is not equal with others. His naïve vision of nature betrays him. The dove represents nature.

Actress Julie Delpy talks about Kieslowski on the dvd extras, and believes the soul of his films is in all the little details, and that has something to do with his way of portraying characters. Each character is unique, and distinguishable from the others. And this is why his characters are so human. Kieslowski told her, that he was not inspired so much by other directors, but by documentaries and real life, which is why his work doesn’t look like other films.

The scenes between Karol and his new friend Mikolaj are powerful, they talk about how life and particularly women have disappointed them, and in one scene they experience a fleeting moment of joy by running and sliding like children across the ice. The theme of whiteness can be seen in the snow, they are equal for a moment, white might also symbolize a return to innocence.

Kieslowski discusses in the making of how his city Warszawa is a place of impatient and aggressive ambition to become rich at any cost in order to gain material wealth. The greed is very obvious he thinks.

The beginning of the film centres around Karol’s wife Dominique, who in a cold-hearted and humiliating gesture goes to court and wants to divorce Karol, and says she doesn’t love him on the grounds he no longer satisfies her sexually. The gullible Karol wants to save the marriage, but maybe such a cold woman is not worth his time. Perhaps he shouldn’t feel so sorry for himself, as she is so shallow that she only seems to respond to sexual favours. Wouldn’t matter if she slept with him or a hundred other men, it seems she doesn’t care about who he is on the inside, he is better off looking elsewhere, and she clearly appears to enjoy leading him down the garden path and hurting his feelings. Difficult to know, but she might not know how to love someone besides having sexual intercourse with them?

Perhaps the tables could be turned onto Karol, he still loves her due to her beauty, so he is not much better than her. As I see it, Karol has very little dignity and is shameless, he continues to have feelings for her even after being humiliated, and has an inability to get over her, despite Dominique treating him like rubbish, I guess we can’t help who we love at the end of the day. Does he spend the whole film trying to make a fortune so as to win Dominique back again? I think the tragic irony is he gets his revenge on Dominique, but ends up a loveless man anyway, as he still has feelings for her, which the crying at the end indicates. That’s my own interpretation, I’m sure there are lots of other ways to interpret the story.

Julie Delpy has her own interpretation in the dvd extras about the ending. That the sign language is her saying, when I get out of jail, then you and I will travel away together. Or else we will stay here and get married, which the finger gesture indicates. She is saying she loves him, that they are equal like the theme of the story suggests. They are both locked up, he is officially dead, and she is in prison. But there is hope, even though their current situation is sad.

The sign language scene at the end without subtitles makes the film open-ended.

Blue (1993) indicated that freedom is an illusion, White (1994) contemplates that equality is also delusion, we can’t control what other people feel towards us and others, or even our own feelings at times. So the beauty of relying on others can be painful, if the other party does not honour it. We can hope equality happens in a relationship, but not expect it. Perhaps we shouldn’t put so much emphasize on what others can do for us, as it will undoubtedly lead to disappointment, instead concentrate on what you can do to make life more pleasant for those around you.

Also important to learn to be happy, even when there is no one else around, I sense in the film Karol is not comfortable alone. As they said in a Twin Peaks episode:
“There’s things you can’t get in books. There are things you can’t get anywhere, but we dream they can be found in other people”

Yet the most important moments and experiences in life are usually in the company of other people, so we have to have the courage to put our trust on the line. But we also must have the insight to know if the other person cares or not, which is not easy to know in the case of Karol’s wife Dominique. We can never truly know if someone is in love with us, you have to trust their words.

From interview book Kieslowski on Kieslowski: "He does everything he can to prove to himself and the woman who has dumped him that he is better than she thinks he is. And he does it. That’s why he becomes more equal. Except that while he is becoming more equal he falls into the trap he has set for his wife; because it turns out that he loves her – which he didn’t know. He thought he didn’t love her anymore. He just wanted his revenge. But during the revenge what happens is that love has returned. Both for him and her.” (translated)

The back stories of several of the characters are not revealed, which leaves much to interpret once the film is over.

Readers, any thoughts on White?



Songs for your iPod

(I feel I've neglected older music on the blog, so I'll be posting old favourites for a while)

All The World is Green - Tom Waits

(fave lyric: "Pretend that you owe me nothing". First fell in love with the track in the film The Secret Life of Words)


Cold Cold Ground - Tom Waits

(“the piano is fire wood, Times Square is a dream”. How does he come up with that!?)


Dead And Lovely - Tom Waits

(Again, he's a genius with lyrics: "she thought she could stand up in the deep end, He had a bullet-proof smile" )

Readers, any thoughts on this week's music?

Film review: Three Colors Blue (1993)

My review is intended for people who have already watched the film. Spoilers ahead.

Blue is the first part of the three colours trilogy about freedom, equality, and brotherhood, the colours on the French flag. So Blue is about freedom/liberty.

A drama directed by Polish auteur director Kieslowski, about how to cope with losing your husband and child. You could argue the main character Julie decides to repress her loss. The apartment she moves into does not allow children for example, and she takes next to nothing with her from her previous life. Due to the sorrow she tries to start over. Wanting to sell her house and all her belongings is no doubt a way of distancing herself from the past and trying to forget.

Julie moves to the city to do nothing. You wouldn’t think a film about a woman doing nothing would be that appealing, but the way the story is told, and the wordless visual style is very intriguing. The surroundings reflect her inner state of mind. Julie doesn’t want to commit to anything or have any obligations. She seeks freedom and isolation.

Perhaps the family of newborn rats in the bedroom remind her that there is still love in the world and life to be lived, Julie tries to be anonymous, but the real world is inescapably all around her. Julie requests a cat from a neighbour to get rid of them. The action of asking for the cat shows that Julie does indeed need other people. Her mother tells her in a conversation that you can’t give up on everything.

Several close ups were used, the intent probably to convey a subjective experience of the sadness of Julie.

Interestingly, Julie swims backwards in the pool. My own interpretation is she is thinking back, about her life when her family were alive.

Is she green with envy is this scene, where she has just witnessed some kids messing around in the street?

And is this screenshot an illustration of how the light in her life is limited due to sadness, and brightness can only reveal itself partially through the tree branches?

Julie’s mother likewise lives a pseudo existence in front of the TV set, not really living, and perhaps Julie can mirror herself in this numbness, and visiting below perhaps gives her the urge not to end up like her mother is?

In an interview on my dvd, Kieslowski talks about the sugar cube scene, which represents Julie observing details, and not worrying about anything else. Absorbed in her own little world, wanting to simplify and restrict her world view. To show that nothing around her matters, people, or the man who is in love with her.

From the interview book Kieslowski on Kieslowski: “Blue is about freedom, about the imperfection of man’s freedom. How far does our freedom reach? (…) She is perfectly provided for – has plenty of money and no responsibility whatsoever. She no longer has to do anything. And the question arises: Is a person in such a situation really free?"
“But it turns out that you can’t liberate yourself fully from everything that was. You can’t do this, because sooner or later, fear or loneliness will surface, or as Julie for example experiences it, the feeling of having been let down. This emotion changes Julie so much, that she realizes, that she can’t live the life, she had expected. It’s the sphere of personal freedom. How free are we, when it comes to emotions. Is love a prison? Or is it freedom? Is watching TV imprisonment or freedom?“
"Did Julie just make the corrections? Perhaps she is one of those people, who is unable to write a single sheet of music, but who is excellent at correcting other people’s work. She sees everything, has incredible analytical skills as well as a gift of being able to improve things. The described sheet is not bad, but after she has looked at it, its outstanding”

In the dvd extras, the lead actress Juliette Binoche talks about how the film is like real life, seen through the eyes of Kieslowski. According to Binoche, her character’s decision to say no to everything was to make a clean slate of things without any emotion. It’s brave, but at the same time she in incapable of doing anything else. Julie tries to avoid having any feelings, because life has been so tough, and so hard to accept. She tries to move on with this huge burden. She keeps the blue beads, and together with the classical music they represent a link to the past.

Juliette Binoche was inspired by Annie Duperey’s book “Black Angel”, where Duperey writes about her parents, who passed away in an accident, when she was about 9-years-old. She couldn’t cry, which she describes in the book. Some of the quotes are very close to the female character in Blue. “I suffered enough on the inside, I didn’t need to show it”. And she said “I became someone, who said no to everything”.

The realization Julie reaches that you can’t live happily in complete isolation is comparable to what the retired judge Kern discovers in his outsider position in Red (1994) (the third part of the trilogy). Perhaps this particular message is a personal statement from Kieslowski, after completing the trilogy, he decided he no longer wanted to be an artist, a director, who watches the world from a distance.

You are only free, when you don’t want anything. What do you want to do with your freedom? Elias Canetti once said in the book The Secret Heart of the Clock. This is a lesson Julie learns, she must fill her freedom with something meaningful in order to go on living. Freedom is not worth striving for. We run away from freedom, as soon as we get there.

The ending is very ambiguous, she accepts the love of Oliver, but is still crying. Does the love he can give not measure up to her dead husband’s affection? Or perhaps she is crying of happiness now, and Oliver has given her the guide to go on living? Actress Juliette Binoche comments on the dvd that the smile at the end of the film is very important, a liberation and the start of a new life for Julie.

Blue is my second favourite of the Three Colors trilogy, I'll review White next week!



Readers, any thoughts on Blue?

Funny clip from Taxi Reverend Jim's driving test

(If this doesn't make you laugh, nothing will ( :
High five to blogger Colleenies Couch for making me aware of the video, as I never watched the show)

Any thoughts on the clip, readers?

Songs for your iPod

On The Ocean - Guster

(This song somehow reminds me of the 80s, found the album only recently, and these 2 Guster tracks vaulted into my top 100 songs of 2010)


Hercules - Guster


Ottoman - Vampire Weekend

(Thanks inspiredground for the recommendation, I like the Beatles sound)

Any thoughts on this week's music, readers?

Top 100 songs of 2010

Here is my current ranking. Let me know in the comments what you think.
You can right-click your mouse button on the links to open the songs in a new window. I'll try and update the dead links from time to time.

1. Good intentions paving company - Joanna Newsom
2. Don't Do It - Sharon Van Etten
3. Heirloom - Memoryhouse
4. Calculating Bimbo - Belle & Sebastian
5. Don’t Walk Away - Chromeo
6. On a good day -Joanna Newsom
7. Young Blood – The Naked And Famous
8. I L U - School of Seven Bells
9. I Let Her In (live) - Steve Mason
10. Karen - Chew Lips
11. Take My Soul - Abou
12. Oh my god – Cocoon
13. Phone - Donovan Woods
14. Senior Living – Royksopp
15. Relief (R Kelly cover) - Sam Amidon
16. Boil & Fight - Nathaniel Rateliff
17. Goodbye England Covered in Snow (live) - Laura Marling
18. When I Go - Slow Club
19. Shameless - Groove Armada & Bryan Ferry
20. Slow – Rumer
21. Home (RAC mix) - Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
22. Down In The Street Below - The Divine Comedy
23. At The Indie Disco - The Divine Comedy
24. Have you ever been in love - The Divine Comedy
25. Buddy Bradley - Adam Green
26. Bad Day - Darwin Deez
27. On The Ocean - Guster
28. Shadows –Warpaint
29. The Hoopers of Hudspeth - Kaki King
30. How Come That Blood - Sam Amidon
31. My New Mind – Otis Gibbs
32. Staring Out The Window - Fulton Lights
33. The Drying of the Lawns - The Tallest Man On Earth
34. Coming Through - The War On Drugs
35. Wedding Song - Anais Mitchell feat. Justin Vernon
36. Hey, Little Songbird - Anais Mitchell feat. Greg Brown
37. Our Lady Of The Underground - Anais Mitchell feat. Ani DiFranco
38. Russia - Ramona Falls
39. Atlas Air - Massive Attack
40. Why Does the Wind (Ewan Pearson Radio Edit) - Tracey Thorn
41. Better than nothing - Sarah Jaffe
42. I Wanna Be Adored - The Raveonettes (The Stone Roses cover)
43. Breaking Locks - Adam Green
44. Alpha shadows - Laura Marling
45. Save Yourself (live on KEXP) – Sharon Van Etten
46. Cloudy Shoes - Damien Jurado
47. Broken Bells – Citizen
48. Bodies in motion - Laurie Anderson
49. All Come Down - Steve Mason
50. Truth Sets In - Avi Buffalo
51. Runner - Daniel, Fred & Julie
52. Strawberry Skies (ft. Laurel Halo) - Games
53. Paradise Circus - Massive Attack
54. Lowlands (Live on KEXP) -Chris Pureka
55. Revival – Deerhunter
56. Take it in - Hot Chip
57. Keep quiet - Hot Chip
58. Porcupine – James
59. Night air - Jamie Woon
60. Sprawl II – Arcade Fire
61. The Suburbs - Arcade Fire
62. The Curse - Josh Ritter
63. Becoming A Jackal – Villagers
64. Another new world - Josh Ritter
65. In the Nothing of a Night – Hammock
66. Sunnyside - Kaki King
67. Come on sister - Belle and Sebastian
68. I Want The World To Stop - Belle & Sebastian
69. Little River - The Tallest Man On Earth
70. Dancing ghosts - Azure Ray
71. In the Sun – She & Him
72. Garden - Karen Elson
73. This Love (Will Be Your Downfall) - Ellie Goulding
74. Zorbing - Stornoway
75. Clementine - Sarah Jaffe
76. Kingfisher - Joanna Newsom
77. Pray For Rain (feat. Tunde Adebimpe) - Massive Attack
78. Hercules - Guster
79. Oh The Divorces - Tracey Thorn
80. You are a lover - Tracey Thorn
81. Once in a great while - Nathaniel Rateliff
82. Behind the mask - Michael Jackson
83. Lets get lost - Bat For Lashes & Beck
84. Caregiver – Memoryhouse
85. Confirmation - Wild Nothing
86. No fear of heights - Katie Melua
87. Infinite arms – Band of horses
88. Since we last met - NDF
89. I'm Gonna Make It Better - She & Him
90. Stylo – Gorillaz
91. Give Them A Token - Adam Green
92. Better times - Beach House
93. If You Run - The Boxer Rebellion
94. Live In Dreams (Wild Nothing Cover) - High Highs
95. Darker Than Blue - Andreya Triana
96. I Would Like To Call It Beauty - Corinne Bailey Rae
97. Futile Devices - Sufjan Stevens
98. Butterfly House - The Coral
99. No Time Has Passed - Donovan Woods
100. Highway Slipper Jam - Broken Social Scene

100 not enough for you? The 2010 songs below I feel deserve a mention, some I have not shared previously:

Undertow - War Paint
I'm a Hummingbird – Eels
Our Riotous Defects (Feat. Janelle Monáe) - Of Montreal
Melancholy hill – Gorillaz
Spanish Sahara – Foals
Way Go Lily - Sam Amidon
The ghost who walks - Karen Elson
When you sleep – Memoryhouse (My Bloody Valentine cover)
Cold Summer – Seabear
Tristia – Hammock
The Lightning Bug Situation - This Body
Suburban War - Arcade Fire
Je suis deja partie - Nouvelle Vague & Coralie Clément
Sushi - Cocoon
Roche (Breakbot Remix) - Sebastien Tellier
Round and Round - Ariel Pink
Stilyagi - Puro Instinct (feat. Ariel Pink)
The Shore - Basia Bulat
No man's land – Psychobuildings
Come With Me – CEO
No Problem - Perfume Genius
Bowsprit – Balmorhea
The Needle And The Damage Done (Neil Young cover) - Laura Marling
Hægt, kemur ljósið - Ólafur Arnalds
The Balcony - The Rumour Said Fire
Blank Pages - The Album Leaf
Ramona – Beck
Clear The Cobwebs - Mark McGuire
Ouroboros - Oneohtrix Point Never
Our Deal – Best Coast
Taxi Cab - Vampire Weekend
Lovesick - Lindstrøm & Christabelle
I Love You More Than You Will Ever Know – Nevershoutnever
Happy Just To Be - Nathaniel Rateliff
Tell her I said so – James
Grimes – Devon
Hollywood tonight – Michael Jackson
10 Mile Stereo - Beach House
Rebecca - Tesla Boy
Animal - Jenny and Johnny
Pumped Up Kicks - Foster The People
What he wrote - Laura Marling
Another day in America - Laurie Anderson
Emerald and stone - Brian Eno
Ghosts of Syllables - Admiral Radley
Carolina - Girls
Daydreaming - Dark Dark Dark
Science Channel 9 – Computer Magic
That feeling – Dent May
Keep The Dog Quiet - Owen Pallett
Like Rock & Roll And Radio -Ray LaMontagne and The Pariah Dogs
Sing - She & Him
If You Can't Sleep - She & Him
Learning - Perfume Genius
Toro - Chew Lips
Rocket – Gold Frapp
The House -Katie Melua
Take Em Up – Shit Robot
Lawren Harris - Donovan Woods
Human Nature (Michael Jackson cover) - Vijay Iyer
Hard to Change - Meg Hutchinson
Icarus - White Hinterland
StrangeLoveHate - Scanners
He Dreams He's Awake - Stars
Sailing - ‪Deerhunter
Blue Lily - The Depreciation Guild
In The End - Charlotte Gainsbourg
Vanities - Charlotte Gainsbourg
Slip Away - Kathryn Calder
Mr. Peterson - Perfume Genius
Dark Allies - Light Asylum
Next To Me - Sleeping At Last
Accidental Light - Sleeping At Last
Watermark - Sleeping At Last
Baby Birch – Joanna Newsom
The Truest Faith – Korallreven
Honey Mine (feat. Victoria Bergsman) – Korallreven
Outer Limits – Sleep Over
Chinatown – Wild Nothing
Anything – Chad Valley
Days Ahead - Museum of Bellas Artes
Watch the Glow – Museum of Bellas Artes
Late Key – Veux
Stick to My Side – Pantha Du Prince
Forget You & I - Nite Jewel
Falling Far - Nite Jewel
I'm New Here - Gil Scott-Heron
The Crutch - Gil Scott-Heron
Last Forever – Molly Nilsson
On Giving Up - High Places
The Longest Shadows - High Places
The Loop - Mimicking Birds
10 percent - Mimicking Birds
Burning Stars - Mimicking Birds
Broken Horse - Freelance Whales
Dark Tower - Miniature Tigers
Coyote Enchantment - Miniature Tigers
To Old Friends and New - Titus Andronicus
From the Mouth of Gabriel - Sufjan Stevens
Across the Sea - D'eon
More Blitz Than Ritz - The Crookes
I Kissed A Girl (Katy Perry Cover) - William Fitzsimmons
Kylie - William Fitzsimmons
Problem of Pain - William Fitzsimmons
Passion Play - William Fitzsimmons
True Blue - Dirty Beaches
Heaven's On Fire - The Radio Dept.
What if it isn't out there? - The Silver Seas
Don't Be Afraid - Keep Shelly In Athens
Someone Else - Henry Wolfe
The Man Who Would Speak True - Blitzen Trapper
Out Of Tune - Real Estate
When I’m Small - Phantogram
Camouflage – Small Black
Saviour - Teen Daze
Harlem River Blues - Justin Townes Earle
When We're Dancing - Twin Shadow
Nightcall - Kavinsky
A Real Hero - College feat. Electric Youth
Tomorrow - Jono McCleery
Endless Summer - Still Corners
You Can Call Me Al (Paul Simon cover) - Jens Lekman
I Can't Wait - Twin Shadow
Burn Bridges – Dom
My Plants Are Dead - Blonde Redhead
Spain - Blonde Redhead
Shades Away - Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
Under The Bridges - Niki & The Dove
DJ Ease My Mind - Niki & The Dove
Mother Protect - Niki & The Dove
Turnpike Ghost (Steel Train Cover) - Tegan and Sara
Touch Me Bad (Steel Train Cover) - Nellie Mckay
I Can't Go For That - The Bird and the Bee
Love Is All - The Tallest Man on Earth
Wake Up Your Saints - The National
The Order Of Things - Badly Drawn Boy
I Saw You Walk Away - Badly Drawn Boy
It's What I'm Thinking - Badly Drawn Boy
A Pure Accident - Badly Drawn Boy
Rambling Man - Laura Marling
Love saves - Thieves Like Us
So Clear -  Thieves Like Us
I Don't Feel It Anymore - William Fitzsimmons (Feat. Brooke Fraser) (George Raquet Remix)
Watch Over Me - Teen Daze
Dream Fortress - Grimes
Voyage - Charlotte Gainsbourg
Selfmachine - I Blame Coco
The Lost Ones - Joanna Ballard
Oil Rush - Joanna Ballard
Don't You - El May
The Things You Lost - El May
I Remember - El May
Shelter - Jars of Clay
The Bullitts feat Jay Electronica & Lucy Liu - Close Your Eyes
Faces - Owl Eyes
The Believers - How To Destroy Angels

(Last updated 2nd January 2013)

Enjoy the music! Do you disagree or agree with my ranking?Have I missed any great music from 2010 I could add? I'd love to hear what you have to say about the list.

from Chris, moviesandsongs365

Songs for your iPod

(These 3 songs conclude my love affair with 2010 in music on moviesandsongs365. For a summary, I've posting my top 100 songs of 2010 on the sidebar)

Karen - Chew Lips

(I love this tune! Thanks to music blogger suterenbizzare for recommending, just one of several cool electronica tracks on the 2010 album Unicorn)


I Would Like To Call It Beauty - Corinne Bailey Rae

(Corinne's late husband's brother said he believed in a force that binds everything, holds everything, adding, "I would like to call it… beauty." So powerful was the sentiment that the singer took it for the song title, and credited him as its co-writer)


I'm Gonna Make It Better - She & Him

(I gave the album a second chance, and discovered this catchy and uplifting gem)

Readers, any thoughts on this week's music?

Film review: Mulholland Dr (2001)

Originally was going to be a made for TV production, ended up being a film. A star making performance by attractive Naomi Watts.

All his career, director David Lynch has made films that demand something from his audience. The story doesn’t have a traditional beginning middle and end. On the DVD, Lynch himself has reluctantly provided David Lynch’s 10 clues to unlocking Mulholland Dr (To be fair, I don’t know if you can ever fully understand a Lynch film, but some of the major structures may be solvable)

The movie makes detectives of the audience. For example, notice how the cup changes into a glass above. The story is like a dream most of the time, we must try and decode what’s reality and what’s a dream world.

Los Angeles is in many ways the main character in Mulholland Drive, and together with Angelo Badalamenti's music is a very atmospheric location. It’s a place where everyone dreams of being someone, or something else. It can make a few of those dreams come true, while shattering the rest. It’s the city where many would-be actors have two names – the one they were given at birth and the one created especially for their successful other selves.

Roads seem to appear often in Lynchs films.
Lynch: “And Fellini’s La Strada is one of my favourite films! A road, I’ve been thinking, is a moving forward into the unknown and that’s compelling to me. That’s also what films are – the lights go down, the curtain opens and away we go, but we don’t know where we’re going” (quoted from the book Lynch on Lynch)

Spoilers ahead: Lynch talks about the Naomi Watts character from Mulholland Drive in the interview book Lynch on Lynch:

“This particular girl – Diane – sees things she wants but she just can’t get them. It’s all there – the party – but she’s not invited. And it gets to her. You could call it fate – if it doesn’t smile on you, there’s nothing you can do. You can have the greatest talent and the greatest ideas, but if that door doesn’t open, you’re fresh out of luck. It takes so many ingredients and the door opening, to finally make it. There are jokes about how in LA everyone has got a resume and a photo. So there’s a yearning to get the chance to express yourself – a sort of creativity in the air. Everyone is willing to go for broke and take a chance. It’s a modern town in that way. It’s like you want to go to Las Vegas and turn that one dollar into a million dollars. Sunset Boulevard (1950) says so much about that Hollywood dream thing to me”

Interviewer: And you’ve included some specific references, or allusions to Wilder’s movie in your own?
Lynch: “There’s a shot in Mulholland Drive of a street sign that says Sunset Boulevard. I would have loved to put a small piece of the original music in there”.
Lost Highway seemed to occupy at least two completely different decades. Mulholland Drive is also defiantly contemporary and yet it has a feeling that it’s happening in the past – the fifties or even the thirties and forties. Lynch: “But that’s so much like our actual lives. Many times during the day we plan for the future, and many times in that day we think of the past. We’re listening to retro radio, and watching retro TV. There are all kinds of opportunities to re-live the past and there are new things coming up every second”

Asked about what genre Mulholland Drive fits into, Lynch answers:
“There may be noir elements in Mulholland Drive, and a couple of genres swimming around in there together. For me, it’s a love story (...) All the characters are dealing somewhat with a question of identity. Like everyone” (Lynch on Lynch, page 269-293)

I’ve also read the “cowboy” could be interpreted as a meta level, Lynch speaking directly to the audience through that character.

Cowboy: “You will see me one more time, if you do good, you’ll see me two more times, if you do bad”
In other words, talking about how many viewings it would take for you to better understand the ambiguity.

A lot of trademark Lynch can be observed, dreams, nods to the 50s, taboo sexuality, downright weirdness, the use of electricity and lamps, music provided by composer Angelo Badalamenti, etc. A clue to solving what’s going on I heard about in the actors studio, where host James Lipton says the name on the badge the waitress is wearing is different depending on who’s looking at her, so someone must be wrong.

Among my favourite Lynch films. Several scenes play out as comedy, which is part of the charm and appeal for me, the director shows he has a sense of humour and doesn't take everything too seriously.

Although not horror, to me, the film at times has the atmosphere of a video game like Phantasmagoria, where you play a beautiful blond trying to solve a mystery with dangers lurking around every corner, keys and secret doors, etc.



Readers, any thoughts on Mulholland Dr?

Songs for your iPod

Oh my god – Cocoon

(Beautiful dreamy album sleeve. Gives me chills at 2.50, “and I almost forgot you were here too”)


I Wanna Be Adored - The Raveonettes (The Stone Roses cover)

(Better than the original? I think so)


Bodies in motion - Laurie Anderson

(For me among the best tracks on her 2010 album Homeland. Amazing home-made video, worth a look even if you don't care for the music. Another Day in America is also interesting-more like a speech than a song)

Readers, any thoughts on this week's music?

Film review: The Straight Story (1999)

Deceptively straightforward (no pun intended) story about old man Alvin Straight, who travels on a lawn mower to visit his brother. He’s a stubborn old timer who refuses to listen to his doctor, he does his own thing. Along with The Elephant Man, I think this is probably Lynch's most tender and tear-inducing movie.

Lynch quoted from the book, The Complete Lynch:

“The Straight Story is an unusual film for me. But I was so moved by the screenplay that soon enough I found myself in Iowa. It doesn’t matter if the story is true or not. It’s a story. Everything is a story. This is a different world than I’ve been in, one in which nature plays a big part. And, although it appears to be calm, there are many things going on”

According to an interview done with Cousins for The Straight Story on youtube, Lynch thinks, in an ideal world, you should come to a film knowing nothing about it. In the opening, we float slowly into the story. In that interview, Lynch admits there is only one Alvin Straight, but that there are similar qualities to Lynch’s own father, being a cowboy with an inner strength coupled with an innocence and tenderness. Also discussed in the interview is how some people stay in the same town all their life, and Lynch compares The Straight Story to It’s A Wonderful Life, where Lynch thinks you don’t have to travel around to get a lot of experiences. Without giving too much away, one of the scenes has the camera moving up into the sky, and Lynch claims this is to show the small and the infinite, the stars are there for everybody, and they make you dream, Alvin Straight shared the stars with someone, and it’s a beautiful memory. The Elephant man (1980) also contained such a scene filming the stars.

Actor Richard Farnsworth met many of the people who’s lives had been touched by Alvin Straight:
“He was very independent. He might not have had any money, but he didn’t want anyone to know about it. He was a very hard-headed old guy. I might have played him a little softer than he is” (The Complete Lynch, page 227)

Mary Sweeny talks about:
“it was really important to them to be emotional but not sentimental, which is really hard to do, and thank God David directed it, because our script could so easily have turned into a schmaltzy glossy Hallmark version of this guy’s life”

The snail’s pace editing gave time to show the simple pleasures of watching a breeze waft across a cornfield, or emotions play across a face. Similar in some respects to The Elephant Man, Lynch’s earlier true-life portrayal of a sensitive soul trapped in a failing body.

Both The Straight Story and Lynch’s Wild at heart (1990) are road movies, albeit moving at vastly different speeds. Perhaps the story of Alvin Straight allowed Lynch to quietly oppose the often mindless speed of so much contemporary cinema, or even the world we live in. When you drive slowly through the US, it gives you the opportunity to meet some people from the different cities on the way, something road movies tend to strive towards.

What about Alvin Straights many encounters with people in the movie? Were they based on actual meetings?
Lynch: “A lot of them were and some were not” (...) “In my mind, Alvin could have travelled in much easier ways but these would not have meant the same to his brother. His journey to me was about forgiveness and making something right” (Lynch on Lynch)

A life-affirming story, I love parts of the music score by Angelo Badalamenti, the pacing, and some of the quotes that we hear are very memorable to me. I think my favourite scene is when Alvin talks about how a bunch of sticks, as opposed to just a single stick, are strong and unbreakable, like family.

Other road movies starring an old man you might enjoy are Harry and Tonto (1974) or About Schmidt (2002)

Readers, any thoughts on The Straight Story?

Songs for your iPod

In the sun – she & him

(She is so cute in that video, I don’t really like their other songs, her vocal in this one is great)


Mr. Peterson - Perfume Genius

(While I’m not gay, his songs are still powerful to me. His fragile vocals I think are similar to the acoustic singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston)


Learning - Perfume Genius

Readers, any thoughts on this week's music?

Songs for your iPod

Strawberry Skies (ft. Laurel Halo) - Games

(Thanks to burning reels for recommending this little-known band)


Blank Pages - The Album Leaf


Bowsprit – Balmorhea

Readers, any thoughts on this week's music?

Film review: Lost Highway (1997)

A psychological thriller film with elements of neo-noir. Something about this David Lynch movie has me hooked every time. Contains one of my favourite opening credits sequences. So mysterious and with an awesome song, which in it’s own twisted way sums up the movie. Another reason I love the film is the 90s soundtrack. Despite receiving mixed reviews upon initial release, the film has now developed a cult following.

The soundtrack is really great, highlights for me are Lou Reed’s This Magic Moment, The Smashing Pumpkins’ Eye, (who I don’t usually like), David Bowie’s I’m Deranged, and Antonio Carlos Jobim’s Insensatez.

Much like Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, it’s a cryptic film that demands repeat viewings to better understand what’s going on. I’m pretty sure Lynch has added some Hitchcock MacGuffins to confuse his audience!

Another favourite sequence of mine is where Pullman meets the mystery man/death character, who says “We’ve met before, haven’t we?” So creepy and atmospheric to me.

Definitely one of the darkest and most disturbing Lynch films along with Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart.

The car chase was actually a situation Lynch himself experienced, I noticed on the extra features of Twin Peaks.

A minor problem I have with the film is the sound, the dialogue on my dvd is very soft, but when they shift to the club and saxophone, it’s very loud all of a sudden. Although, this may be intentional for the shock value. Unfortunately, I find myself turning the volume up and down.

Spoilers ahead: I’ve heard in an interview on Canal Plus, that Lynch was inspired by the O.J. Simpson trial, in such a way that O.J. could go on living despite the killings. People do things, and yet they keep on living. Lost Highway is about how you can repress some events and feelings in order to continue living a normal life. Having something, and the mind helping you to hide it, but sometimes these terrible things reveal themselves briefly, when the mind doesn’t work.

Lynch on Lost Highway: “A graphic investigation into parallel identity crises. A world where time is dangerously out of control. A terrifying ride down the lost highway

Lynch fell in love with a sentence from the book Night People by Barry Gifford: “We’re just a couple of Apaches ridin’ wild on the lost highway”.

Lynch on the title: “Its just a dreamy thing – Lost Highway. It evokes all kinds of things in your head. And then later on I found out that Hank Williams has written a song called Lost Highway” (Lynch on Lynch, page 221)

Interviewer: Fred and Renees house has an uncertain geography. It seems that it might be endless: that once you step into it, you’re entering some potentially vast, dark labyrinth. Dorothy Vallen’s apartment in Blue Velvet is a little like that.

Lynch: “Right. And that’s the way it is in relationships sometimes. You just don’t know how they’re going to go, if there’s an end to them or if there’s just more trouble” (Lynch on Lynch, page 225)
The metaphor of waking up beside your partner and experiencing them as a stranger can perhaps be traced back to some of Freud’s writing, a contemplation on how we grow apart?

I think the main character is losing his mind. One interpretation of the film is that in this breakdown the main character tries to imagine a better life for himself, but he’s so messed up that even this imaginary life goes wrong. The mistrust and madness in him are so deep that even his fantasies end in a nightmare. Lynch as quoted in Lynch on Lynch: “But why though. Because of this person. This woman. No matter which place you first start walking, eventually you’re going to walk into trouble – if you’re walking with the wrong person

Lost Highway has the logic of a dream, in other words there is no logic! Anything is possible in a dream, and everything doesn’t necessarily make sense, even for the director creating the dream.

In case you’re curious, a clue to solving the ending is the Pullman scene at about 23 minutes into the movie, where he talks about he likes to remember things his own way, not necessarily the way they happened. Good luck!

Readers, any thoughts on Lost Highway?

For more on Lost Highway, I recommend the website 35 years of David Lynch




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