Author Topic: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis  (Read 30104 times)

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SamFZGames

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #90 on: February 26, 2014, 03:19:21 PM »
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Hey guys, some cool posts!

My little interpretation there not doing much for you huh JB? That's OK.

Interestingly this new interpretation of mine is much more compatible with your analysis, you just have to shift some spiritual stuff to be more psychological. I'm trying to find the interview where Lynch said the title of the film was referencing the inside of the mind, like a person's own internal empire.

I think what got me started with it was how in your Halfborn analysis you quote Lynch talking with Laura Dern about who she looks through the TV and sees 'herself'. That does work with your soul mates idea, but I think there's more ground in it being either a reincarnation, or the same actual person.

The thing for me holding it all together are the counselling sessions with Mr. K which seem to come out of nowhere and pop up at random points of the movie.

I know that the way I had been interpreting Inland Empire before (literally and spiritually), if I had used that same logic on his other films, Mullholland Drive would have been about a magic blue mafia box that just turns people into other people and shifts their lives around for some reason, and Lost Highway would have been about a guy who gets framed for murder and then physically, magically turns into another person and then back again for no apparent reason. These don't really work for me at all.

The thing that makes it interesting here is that in Lost Highway, Fred's not really experiencing things quite right even before he turns into Pete - the videos show up, filmed from an angle nobody possibly could have achieved, as his memories linking him to the real world, and in Mulholland Drive, Diane is seeing a lot of hallucinations when she's not dreaming. So if Nikki is a construct of Sue, then that works, but a lot of the weirdest stuff in the film happens outside of that, and I do find it kind of tough to buy that the Rabbits are sort of deities.

But I'll continue watching it, with all the different interpretations I've read, see which stick the best :)

Jeremy Blackman

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #91 on: February 26, 2014, 04:49:26 PM »
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I think what got me started with it was how in your Halfborn analysis you quote Lynch talking with Laura Dern about who she looks through the TV and sees 'herself'.

Because this moment fascinates me so much I'm going to repost it here:

Lynch: And then you turn and look right into the camera.
[Lynch, aware of the documentary camera's presence, coyly whispers something totally inaudible in Laura Dern's ear.]
Lynch: [now in a medium whisper] She'll see you looking at her from the TV.
Dern: Okay. Okay.
Lynch: You know, like that. You're lookin' right at the camera.
Dern: [turning her face away, speaking in an audible half-whisper] And I'm looking at the camera as though I see myself?
Lynch: You see your—yeah, yeah.

It's especially tantalizing how he interrupts himself before completing the word "yourself"... and maybe he was tempted to say something else... "your _____."

That does work with your soul mates idea, but I think there's more ground in it being either a reincarnation, or the same actual person.

I regret using the term "soulmate" because it has so much baggage. The other term I used, "twin soul," is more appropriate. But their connections are so deep and interwoven that they could essentially be considered the same entity. Separate but the same.

And I kind of prefer that interpretation. We do see them merging at the end, and it aligns more precisely with the concept of "half born," which after all was a term coined by the movie itself.

So if Nikki is a construct of Sue, then that works, but a lot of the weirdest stuff in the film happens outside of that, and I do find it kind of tough to buy that the Rabbits are sort of deities.

Yeah, I don't think they're deities. They could be spirit world figures that are there to serve a purpose, or they could be projections of Sue's / Lost Girl's own consciousness.

The thing for me holding it all together are the counselling sessions with Mr. K which seem to come out of nowhere and pop up at random points of the movie.

It doesn't seem random to me, though. Sue seeks him out (consciously or not) when she is explicitly on her post-life journey. He could be a spirit world figure of some kind, but again, for the film's purposes, he could very well be Sue's projection. And I wouldn't even call it counseling. It's a device for self-reflection.

I know that the way I had been interpreting Inland Empire before (literally and spiritually), if I had used that same logic on his other films, Mullholland Drive would have been about a magic blue mafia box that just turns people into other people and shifts their lives around for some reason, and Lost Highway would have been about a guy who gets framed for murder and then physically, magically turns into another person and then back again for no apparent reason. These don't really work for me at all.

I think we should be open to the idea that with IE he was trying some new things, though. Even compared to Mulholland Drive, the movie takes a deeper dive into a world of mystery and confusion. It doesn't surprise me that he would employ new concepts for a more extreme film.

As I was saying before, if Inland Empire doesn't literally depict spiritual mechanics, it's certainly using them figuratively. It works for me either way.
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SamFZGames

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #92 on: March 16, 2014, 09:25:27 AM »
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My multiple personality theory doesn't hold up at all when I watch it back, looking at the outfit she is wearing, the fact that she's carrying the bag and the screwdriver etc. the film makes it clear that the "counselling session" happens in one sitting at one specific time.

Based on this I think it's worth looking at the timeline of events based on what Sue/Nikki is wearing, what items she is carrying etc.

Figurative spirituality works for me, I just never thought of Lynch as the kind who does literal spirituality. Not since Twin Peaks anyway, and up until things got REALLY weird, the black lodge stuff was all supposed to be just a dream.

I'm going back to my old interpretation (the one that occurs to me naturally when I watch the film, even on my first viewing), which is much closer to yours. I'll read through your analysis and watch it yet again :)

I do think your analysis makes a lot of things clearer, but I also think (no offence) it has a lot of holes in places.

Ooh, by the way! More evidence for my previously mentioned AXXoN N Propp symbols theory... Lynch's cancelled website, although in it's own pages referring to it in capital AXXON N, the Google search result page title looks like this:



Notice how Lynch (or his web designer) has used the 'degree' symbol in place of the O. This makes it EXPLICITLY clear that that O is supposed to be small, and that it's not just a co-incidense that the O looks small and high up in the film. Again, the only place I can find an A X and N but where the O is small and sits higher up than the other letters is in Vladimir Propp's formulas, BUT, I think Propp uses a lower case 'o', not a degree symbol, and that page title could easily have been done with a lower case 'o' rather than the degree symbol.

Can anybody think of any examples of where a small circle, higher up, like a degree symbol, is used in place of the letter O?

I do think that when applying AXXoN N to a Propp formula (when you use X for unexplainable events as a lot of articles I've read say you are supposed to, but some neglect to mention it), what you get is quite uncanny, but I have my doubts after seeing that degree symbol (whilst it affirms my suspicions on that letter O being different to the rest).

When looking up the degree symbol on Wikipedia I get:

Quote
Other characters with similar appearance but different meanings include:
U+00BA º masculine ordinal indicator (HTML: º º) (superscript letter used in abbreviating words; varies with the font and sometimes underlined)
U+02DA ˚ modifier letter ring above (HTML: ˚) (standalone)
U+030A ◌̊ ring above (HTML: ̊) (applied to a letter)
U+0325 ◌̥ ring below (HTML: ̥) (applied to a letter)
U+309C ゜ katakana-hiragana semi-voiced sound mark (HTML: ゜) (standalone)
U+309A ◌゚ combining katakana-hiragana semi-voiced sound mark (HTML: ゚) (applied to a letter)
U+2070 ⁰ superscript zero (HTML: ⁰)
U+2218 ∘ ring operator (HTML: ∘)

None of these seem to apply... So I'm not sure if it was just a stylistic choice to use the degree symbol instead of the lowercase 'o', right now the Propp theory is the only thing I can apply to an O being explicitly small while the rest of the letters are large.

On the other hand, since the rest of the page title uses lowercase, it'd make sense why a symbol would have to be used to make the O smaller. Perhaps it's to do with the fact that Google don't allow all-capital page titles, though I'm not sure if that was the same back when Lynch was planning the web series.


I'm also intrigued by the "You look at your -- Yeah." thing. I will have to watch Lynch One back again sometime and listen to it to hear the tone he says it in, as in is he interrupting himself because 'yourself' wouldn't be the correct word, or is he genuinely thinking 'it's your soul twin/past self/doppelganger'?

Jeremy Blackman

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #93 on: March 20, 2014, 06:09:45 PM »
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Nice work on AXXoN N. Yeah, I'm still convinced the O and N are supposed to be offset, since they appear that way anywhere it's feasible.

I'm also intrigued by the "You look at your -- Yeah." thing. I will have to watch Lynch One back again sometime and listen to it to hear the tone he says it in, as in is he interrupting himself because 'yourself' wouldn't be the correct word, or is he genuinely thinking 'it's your soul twin/past self/doppelganger'?

IIRC, it possibly sounds like he's stopping himself because he doesn't want to reveal too much. He has to give Laura Dern enough info but knows the camera is right there. It's like "yourself" wasn't quite the right word for him, but it works well enough for Laura Dern's purposes.
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Deep Thought

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #94 on: April 22, 2014, 06:17:16 PM »
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Hi Jeremy, I just popped in after reading your excellent analysis. I have not read all of this discussion, and maybe I am wrong, but I thought you have mentioned somewhere Lynch may have been trying "new" things in this movie. The first time I watched it I was immediately struck by many of Lynch's "old friends" like the room above the convenience store/the alley behind the marketplace. Many other obvious symbols appear throughout his films and I find it worthwhile to treat these last four films at least as one cohesive exploration of the intersection of the conscious and the spiritual. (i.e. the marketplace and the alley behind it).

Forgive me if you've covered this. I loved reading your thoughts and will watch IE again soon!

Jeremy Blackman

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #95 on: April 23, 2014, 04:50:09 PM »
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Thanks! I haven't covered that exactly. I think you're right, though. He's just taking it so much further with Inland Empire, into something whose spiritual nature is so screamingly obvious that the narrative can't be interpreted as just another Lynchian dream. This is why I think Inland Empire is so much bolder than even Mulholland Drive; it embraces magical realism and doesn't provide easy entry points. And he uses at least some new tools to do that. IE has all kinds of machinations that you wouldn't dream of seeing in one of his previous films.
"Hunger is the purest sin"

Deep Thought

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #96 on: April 23, 2014, 06:23:34 PM »
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Agreed.  :yabbse-thumbup:

I look forward to watching it again with your ideas buzzing in my brain.  :bravo:

--------------------------------------------

So I just finished watching again after several years and am still convinced any analysis should incorporate at least TP and MD directly into the theory. Lynch lets us know in no uncertain terms his intentions in the final credits, which take place in the Red Room with the Lumberjack, the Monkey, and Rita, among others. (This is probably old hat to the IE forums, but I have been out of circulation for a while).

Striking thing watching the Clown Face knowing what I know now after your work. Very nice!

Korova

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #97 on: June 01, 2014, 09:11:04 AM »
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So, I'm new here and I just wanted to thank all of you (of course especially JB) for the very insightful comments on this movie. :bravo:
Still there is one point which was left largely unanswered. It's about the end of "On High in Blue Tomorrows", when Sue dies. Contrary to this, in the beginning Nikki says to crazy Polish neighbor that there is no murder in the movie.
I get that this is kind of explained in your analysis, but just I can't wrap my mind around it. Something's off here. Did they change the movie's ending or was it always supposed to be so? Who changed the ending and why? Or is it all, because (if Nikki is the fantasy of Sue) Sue wanted her story to end without murder in the beginning, but it slips inside the movie (the allusion to murder in Scene 35/the murder of Sue in the end), which is a fantasy of Sue.
On another note, this was the scariest movie I ever watched... And somehow Laura Dern's Crazy Clown Face was always been there in the scariest moments. I think first the running (after the actual clown face), then "I'm a whore! WHERE AM I? I'M AFRAID" (is this the right quote?) and then the reflection of evil. :shock: The scariest moments of Mulholland Dr. were also about the confronting of the evil (the bum is the evil side of Diane, isn't it? Or am I wrong here?). God, this is so unorganized. (I guess, I have to get organizized)
Anyway, lovely movie. (the friend with whom I've seen it, swore to never see it again)

Madame Wd

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #98 on: June 20, 2014, 08:32:04 PM »
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Hi Jeremy,
I registered just so I could post about your Halfborn interpretation of Inland Empire!  I want to thank you so much.  I have seen IE 6 times now and the first couple of times I was so freaked out by the movie I couldn't even begin to piece it together in any way that did anything other than disturb me and scare the pants off of me.  It's definitely the most intense film experience I've ever had and I value it deeply.  Unfortunately nobody I know is even mildly interested in David Lynch and pulling apart his work so I've been driven to the internet in hopes of some enlightenment.
Your thoughts on what is going on in this film really made sense to me and I am so grateful to have read them.  I watched the movie again after reading your words and it really does all fall into place beautifully with this understanding.  The idea that a spiritual cleansing is taking place and that Sue is moving through these sequences in order to reunite and "pay the bill" for the Lost Girl resonates in a huge way.
I would like to know what your thoughts are about some of the things in MTTH - do you think that LG and The Phantom are aware of their "past lives" together in the watch-buying scene?  It seems like The Phantom might know who she is but she is unsure of who he is.  Is this why he asks her to hold his hand for "12 seconds"?  So that she will connect with him and remember him and what he was to her?  And what do you think about the extended scene with the prostitutes on Hollywood Blvd?  I assume Blondie with Mohwak is trying to get their drug dealer on the phone to show up?  Why are the Spirit Guides in such a degraded state - Sue isn't around to be a part of this. 
I wonder as well about the scene in MTTH with Nastassja Kinski... clearly she has been seduced by Billy... I can't tell if Nikki/Sue is upset by this... she is in Nikki's house but she's wearing that blue dress and looks rather frumpy - she doesn't look like Nikki... but she also doesn't look grizzled and dark like Sue... who is this version?  She's the same version we see in the credits.  Is she Sue "redeemed"... is she who Sue becomes after she confronts and kills Her Own Evil and frees LG?  But back to Nastassja Kinski - ok here's something weird that occurred to me when I was watching MTTH again... she seems like a middling/halfway point between LG and Sue... she's got that vaguely Baltic accent and she kind of looks like LG but she's blonde and seems to be rather like Sue as well?... Your thoughts?
Another question for you - why does The Phantom incarnate as a human being in Old Poland and not incarnate as a human being in Sue's time?  Is The Phantom supposed to be a human being in New Poland?  I assume HE was the man who was supposed to be in the shed to which Janek took Smithy?  Was he human in New Poland but then he became a supernatural creature in the Inland Empire (Sue's world)? 
Also I'm confused about Smithy... is his trip to New Poland where Janek takes him to the shed BEFORE he meets Sue ...in other words, does he go to meet The Phantom at the shed, find out The Phantom has moved to the Inland Empire and then does Smithy move there in search of The Phantom, happen to meet Sue and get married to her OR does he leave Sue after finding out she's gotten knocked up by Billy and move back to Poland and THERE have the experience with The Phantom not being in the shed?  Or am I wasting my time trying to make this into some sort of chronology?
Ok, that's all for now.  I'll wait to see what response(s) I get.  Thanks again!!

Jeremy Blackman

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #99 on: June 21, 2014, 11:56:18 AM »
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Still there is one point which was left largely unanswered. It's about the end of "On High in Blue Tomorrows", when Sue dies. Contrary to this, in the beginning Nikki says to crazy Polish neighbor that there is no murder in the movie.

I get that this is kind of explained in your analysis, but just I can't wrap my mind around it. Something's off here. Did they change the movie's ending or was it always supposed to be so? Who changed the ending and why? Or is it all, because (if Nikki is the fantasy of Sue) Sue wanted her story to end without murder in the beginning, but it slips inside the movie (the allusion to murder in Scene 35/the murder of Sue in the end), which is a fantasy of Sue.

When Nikki claims that there is no murder in On High in Blue Tomorrows, she's simply wrong. Perhaps it's an illustration of just how deep her denial (as Nikki) goes. Even at the table read, they are describing a murder that happened:

Devon: Are you cryin'?
Nikki: Uh huh. Yeah.
Devon: You sorry bout last night?
Nikki: Are you?
Devon: Why you cryin?
Nikki: I'm sorry, Billy. I'm so sorry.
Devon: What?
Nikki: Oh, shit. Look in the other room.

Smithy/Krol being dead in the other room, of course.

The last "gaze of emerging reality" is what ends the table read, as Nikki walks away to meet (and "become") Sue. So the difference between her earlier denial ("there is no murder"), and then literally reading a scene that involves murder, completely makes sense.

On another note, this was the scariest movie I ever watched... And somehow Laura Dern's Crazy Clown Face was always been there in the scariest moments. I think first the running (after the actual clown face), then "I'm a whore! WHERE AM I? I'M AFRAID" (is this the right quote?) and then the reflection of evil. :shock: The scariest moments of Mulholland Dr. were also about the confronting of the evil (the bum is the evil side of Diane, isn't it? Or am I wrong here?).

I'm definitely not an expert on Mulholland Drive, but yes, I think you're right about that. I think Mulholland Drive is proto-Inland Empire in many ways. Lots of MD themes become explicit and enlarged in IE.

Anyway, lovely movie.

Hmm maybe that's how I should sell it to people.

"Hunger is the purest sin"

Jeremy Blackman

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #100 on: June 21, 2014, 11:57:08 AM »
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Madame Wd - first of all thanks for all the kind words! I haven't seen More Things That Happened in a while, but I'll try to answer from what I can remember and my notes.

I would like to know what your thoughts are about some of the things in MTTH - do you think that LG and The Phantom are aware of their "past lives" together in the watch-buying scene?  It seems like The Phantom might know who she is but she is unsure of who he is.  Is this why he asks her to hold his hand for "12 seconds"?  So that she will connect with him and remember him and what he was to her?  And what do you think about the extended scene with the prostitutes on Hollywood Blvd?  I assume Blondie with Mohwak is trying to get their drug dealer on the phone to show up?  Why are the Spirit Guides in such a degraded state - Sue isn't around to be a part of this.

Those scenes were also the most problematic for me, because they are definitely incongruous with the movie proper, even if you don't buy my interpretation (but I guess especially if you do). The solution: I don't think they have to be considered canon. Some of them, even most of them, do actually feel like "more things that happened" and enrich the movie. But others are so contradictory, for exactly the reasons you described. I interpret the ones that don't fit as things that Lynch set aside because they didn't fit. And I think that's fair.

The deleted scene with Nikki/Sue on the phone is pretty much proof of this. It's an amazing scene, pure Lynch... it's so great that the only reason to exclude it from the movie is that it doesn't make sense.

Another question for you - why does The Phantom incarnate as a human being in Old Poland and not incarnate as a human being in Sue's time?  Is The Phantom supposed to be a human being in New Poland?  I assume HE was the man who was supposed to be in the shed to which Janek took Smithy?  Was he human in New Poland but then he became a supernatural creature in the Inland Empire (Sue's world)?

Also I'm confused about Smithy... is his trip to New Poland where Janek takes him to the shed BEFORE he meets Sue ...in other words, does he go to meet The Phantom at the shed, find out The Phantom has moved to the Inland Empire and then does Smithy move there in search of The Phantom, happen to meet Sue and get married to her OR does he leave Sue after finding out she's gotten knocked up by Billy and move back to Poland and THERE have the experience with The Phantom not being in the shed?  Or am I wasting my time trying to make this into some sort of chronology?

That's pretty much my interpretation -- that the Phantom is incarnated as a human in Old Poland, but that his incarnation in New Poland and Inland Empire is supernatural in nature. He seems to have been in charge of the circus, so he represented himself as human, but his supernatural properties must have eventually supplanted that, since he eventually took on the role of guarding the purgatory.

Something just occurred to me, and just for fun I'll follow it... What if the watch-buying scene represents Lost Girl's imprisonment? Maybe that is a sort of visualization of what happened between the end of Lost Girl's life and being held in purgatory. It's kind of perfect, actually. Death represented by a Hollywood party. From my analysis:

There are many paintings on the walls, and pretty much all of them have something to do with falling into hell. Lost Girl enters the scene . . . She approaches the Phantom wanting to buy a lucky watch . . . We do get a better sense of Lost Girl's general desperation, I guess. But the scene appears to suggest (not even in a subtle way) that she sold her soul to the devil or something like that.

So maybe this conversation is what seals her fate (a figurative cinematic representation of that process). This would actually make sense with the self-directed model of spiritual progress that the rest of the film seems to follow -- Lost Girl "imprisons" herself. I think it's also valid to discard the watch scene, and this is just a theory, but I like it so far.

Anyway, back to what I was saying...

In terms of chronology, my interpretation is that Smithy's life in New Poland comes before (and probably immediately before) his life in Inland Empire. Here's the quote from my analysis:

The contemporary Smithy is born in New Poland and lives in New Poland for quite a while working with the circus. In the mean time, it's quite possible that he becomes aware of the injustices in his past life. When he is brought to the seance, he comes to understand that his past life lover (Lost Girl) has been imprisoned, that "the man he works for" (the Phantom) is somehow involved, and that he can be found in Inland Empire. Smithy goes to Inland Empire and moves nextdoor to the Phantom. He can't, however, confront the Phantom—probably because he knows what he'd be facing. Smithy's cowardice and his unsatisfiable desire for vengeance turns him into a bitter, angry, abusive man.
"Hunger is the purest sin"

Helicopter

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #101 on: July 14, 2014, 08:02:34 AM »
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Hi all! First of all I think I need to say sorry to Jeremy Blackman for my nickname.. I tried several ones but they were occupied, and then this word came to my mind - of course because I've seen it many times reading this topic :D But at that moment I just didn't realize that.. So if I could ask you, JB, as admin, to change my nickname if possible..
Also I need to say sorry for my English, I think you've got it's not my native language. But I hope it's good enough to explain somehow my thoughts :)

Now more close to the topic. I've read your "Halfborn" article and I find it really great! It explains perfectly many things - especially about Phantom character, which was rather confusing for me.. So thank you for such a huge job!
But still I have some questions and misunderstandings.. Sorry if they would seem a bit stupid for you, possibly that's because I'm a bit lost inside this complicated plot - so I really hope that you could answer my post to make things a bit clear for me..

So the first one is related to murders in Sue's reality. You say that Smitty is planning (and actually killing?) Billy, and Sue is killing her husband Smitty.. And finally we have a dialog from “Blue Tomorrows” script, where Sue is talking to Billy and hints that there’s Smitty murdered in other room… But wait, how can be Smitty already murdered, if he still needs to kill Billy? Looks like paradox… Moreover, I didn’t find in the film any clear evidence that Billy is really murdered. Maybe I’ve just miss one?

The next thing is about Nikki – I’ve doubts if it’s just a fantasy (yes, I’m not original at this point). Again, let’s look at event sequence: you mean that Sue if actually killed, and only after that she imagines herself like successful actress, relives her own life, and performs some actions to kill evil represented by Phantom? Did I got it right?
So, effectively we have that both soulmates (Lost Girl and Sue) are dead, but while Sue if performing some mental actions (for how long time? for 45 years?), Lost Girl is trapped in the purgatory and has to watch everything that happens with Sue/Nikki. But when we use soulmates concept, it seems rather strange that both souls are not alive, doesn’t it? In which actual state the Sue’s soul is?
From my opinion, there’s one more thing saying that Nikki’s reality is at least something more than just a fantasy. And this if, for sure, Visitor#1 and #2 characters. I think you agree that this are clue characters and everything related to them is extremely important. And it’s rather evident that in fact these visitors are indeed the same person! If we accept that Sue’s reality takes place more or less in 1960, while Nikki’s one – in 2005, we have 45-year difference, and there’s no surprise that a middle-aged woman we see as Visitor#2 becomes old woman (Visitor#1)! And while they’re speaking about the same thing (unpaid bill) and even have the same facial gestures, it makes no doubt that it’s the same person, and in fact we have just one Visitor. (Sorry if this was already evident for you, but as I remember you don’t clearly mention this fact in article, so I decided to write about this rather detailed).
Moreover, there’s a scene where Nikki is maked up before filming, and film staff is talking about strange old woman who’s asking “Who is playing Smitty?”. Someone doubts they’re talking about this Visitor#1?
So we need to ask: could Sue of 1960 just imagine all that stuff about actress Nikki in 2005, visited by that strange woman, along with that complicated things the Visitor is talking about? I’m in doubt about that… Possibly we need to accept that Visitor is real person who acts both in 1960 and 2005, and she’s somehow involved and interested in all the things that are going on.
To conclude, you mentioned Occama razor in one of you posts – and with this “instrument” we should always pay attention in order not to cut something more than necessary… And actually it seems to me that some important facts related to Visitor, are cut.. And we can’t say it’s something unimportant, as the Visitor seems to be really clue characted…
I need to repeat that maybe I just lost the point, that’s why I hope to get your answer. Thank you in advance!

Jeremy Blackman

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #102 on: July 16, 2014, 07:01:49 PM »
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So the first one is related to murders in Sue's reality. You say that Smitty is planning (and actually killing?) Billy, and Sue is killing her husband Smitty.. And finally we have a dialog from “Blue Tomorrows” script, where Sue is talking to Billy and hints that there’s Smitty murdered in other room… But wait, how can be Smitty already murdered, if he still needs to kill Billy? Looks like paradox… Moreover, I didn’t find in the film any clear evidence that Billy is really murdered. Maybe I’ve just miss one?

The part about Billy having been murdered is indeed a paradox, but it's from a deleted scene. Paradox solved! (There are at least a couple other paradoxes introduced by "More Things That Happened.")

In reality, it becomes clear that Smithy wants to kill Billy, so Sue kills Smithy.

From my analysis: "These are basically two versions of the same murder story. The only difference is whether Smithy gets a chance to kill Billy before he himself is killed."

Again, let’s look at event sequence: you mean that Sue is actually killed, and only after that she imagines herself like successful actress, relives her own life, and performs some actions to kill evil represented by Phantom? Did I got it right?

Yes, I think Doris does in fact kill Sue, but to be clear, when that is represented in the film, it can be considered "reliving," since Sue simply gets up and walks away. (It's an imitation of Sue's actual death that happened a long time ago, which was probably visually similar, but still.) This play-death is what brings the reliving to a close and begins the journey to Room 47. It ends the reliving, because reliving that process of being killed makes Sue realize that she is dead. For the rest of the film, she very visibly has this spiritual awareness, and has completely transcended the illusion... which is brilliantly illustrated as she ignores and walks past Kingsley etc.

So, effectively we have that both soulmates (Lost Girl and Sue) are dead, but while Sue if performing some mental actions (for how long time? for 45 years?), Lost Girl is trapped in the purgatory and has to watch everything that happens with Sue/Nikki. But when we use soulmates concept, it seems rather strange that both souls are not alive, doesn’t it? In which actual state the Sue’s soul is?

I tried to explain the "twin soul" concept (still regret also saying "soulmates" as a shortcut), which is when one soul watches/empathizes/guides/learns as the other is incarnate. That's the simplest way I can describe it without getting too muddy.

When Sue says she "lost a bunch of years," yes it's unclear, but I do believe her spirit was in limbo on earth for all those years, her fantasy as Nikki probably taking up much of that time. And yes, Lost Girl observed Sue's life and Sue's post-life wanderings and relivings, which surely made that process even more agonizing. However, the purgatory probably exists outside of time, which is sort of customary with that kind of spiritual mechanic.

From my opinion, there’s one more thing saying that Nikki’s reality is at least something more than just a fantasy. And this if, for sure, Visitor#1 and #2 characters. I think you agree that this are clue characters and everything related to them is extremely important. And it’s rather evident that in fact these visitors are indeed the same person! If we accept that Sue’s reality takes place more or less in 1960, while Nikki’s one – in 2005, we have 45-year difference, and there’s no surprise that a middle-aged woman we see as Visitor#2 becomes old woman (Visitor#1)! And while they’re speaking about the same thing (unpaid bill) and even have the same facial gestures, it makes no doubt that it’s the same person, and in fact we have just one Visitor. (Sorry if this was already evident for you, but as I remember you don’t clearly mention this fact in article, so I decided to write about this rather detailed).
Moreover, there’s a scene where Nikki is maked up before filming, and film staff is talking about strange old woman who’s asking “Who is playing Smitty?”. Someone doubts they’re talking about this Visitor#1?

So we need to ask: could Sue of 1960 just imagine all that stuff about actress Nikki in 2005, visited by that strange woman, along with that complicated things the Visitor is talking about? I’m in doubt about that… Possibly we need to accept that Visitor is real person who acts both in 1960 and 2005, and she’s somehow involved and interested in all the things that are going on.
To conclude, you mentioned Occama razor in one of you posts – and with this “instrument” we should always pay attention in order not to cut something more than necessary… And actually it seems to me that some important facts related to Visitor, are cut.. And we can’t say it’s something unimportant, as the Visitor seems to be really clue characted…
I need to repeat that maybe I just lost the point, that’s why I hope to get your answer. Thank you in advance!

It actually never occurred to me that Visitor #1 and #2 are the same person. Interesting possibility! They're credited as separate characters, but that could mean nothing.

However, I don't think that can be used as clear evidence of anything, really. If the Visitor ages and Sue/Nikki does not, clearly either Sue or Nikki is not real, but it doesn't suggest which. I think that the best explanation, which fits with the rest of my interpretation, is that the Visitors are both spirit world figures reminding Sue of the debt. That idea connects with basically everything else that I've laid out.

I'm inclined to think the Visitors are not the same person. Their personalities, their level of passion, and their methods of persuasion are so different. (Although, maybe one is a manic episode, and the other is a depressive episode.)

It's like this, I think. When Sue was Sue, they sent the lethargic Visitor as a plain (but memorable) reminder. Then when Sue was deep in her Nikki Grace fantasy, they sent the psychotic woman for a decidedly less gentle approach ("brutal fucking murder!"), to snap her out of it, and to present her with enough incongruity that she would being to realize that something was very wrong, that her reality was not real.

To answer your PM:

I need to ask you one more question that's a bit confusing for me.. The term "New Poland" means "contemporary Poland", or is it just some region where Polish emigrants live?
Also a bit confusing is a "Baltic region", it's unlikely that there could be a radio-play in English in actual Baltic region of Europe.. But my guess is again that it's somewhere in USA where Baltic emigrants live, could this be right?
I'm not from USA as you can see, and that's why I've some doubts about film geography, so I hope you could help me at this point.. Thanks!

Yes, I used "New Poland" to mean contemporary Poland. As for the radio play being in English, I'm honestly not sure that's an important detail. Although maybe a case could be made... I'd need my memory refreshed.
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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #103 on: July 29, 2014, 06:30:52 PM »
0
I tried to explain the "twin soul" concept (still regret also saying "soulmates" as a shortcut), which is when one soul watches/empathizes/guides/learns as the other is incarnate. That's the simplest way I can describe it without getting too muddy.
Yes, I more or less understood what do you mean (for me I see no great difference between terms "twin souls" or "soulmates" in context of the film), but the fact that makes me uncertain is that we don't see the second soul indeed incarnated, but already dead and existing in "limbo" state or smth like this. The twin soul connection between soul in purgatory and limbo is somethat more complicated. Ok that still could be, but I wonder if Lost Girl was trying to guide her "soulmate" Sue while she was still incarnated and actually living? And how exactly she tried to do this, if yes?
In fact, it could be crucial to try to figure out, which events have really taken place in Sue's life and which ones actually have "happened" only in reliving. Such things as Visitor#2, her meeting with Phantom when she took screwdriver etc..


Quote
It actually never occurred to me that Visitor #1 and #2 are the same person. Interesting possibility! They're credited as separate characters, but that could mean nothing.

However, I don't think that can be used as clear evidence of anything, really. If the Visitor ages and Sue/Nikki does not, clearly either Sue or Nikki is not real, but it doesn't suggest which. I think that the best explanation, which fits with the rest of my interpretation, is that the Visitors are both spirit world figures reminding Sue of the debt. That idea connects with basically everything else that I've laid out.

I'm inclined to think the Visitors are not the same person. Their personalities, their level of passion, and their methods of persuasion are so different. (Although, maybe one is a manic episode, and the other is a depressive episode.)

It's like this, I think. When Sue was Sue, they sent the lethargic Visitor as a plain (but memorable) reminder. Then when Sue was deep in her Nikki Grace fantasy, they sent the psychotic woman for a decidedly less gentle approach ("brutal fucking murder!"), to snap her out of it, and to present her with enough incongruity that she would being to realize that something was very wrong, that her reality was not real.
About the Visitor, I noticed in one moment very distinctive head movement of V#2, that we can see also when we see V#1.. Behaviour and temperament can change, but some small gestures may not.. Moreover, the age difference between them seems to be perfectly equal to 45 years: if you see V#2 and you know that it's 1960, would you be surprised that she looks like V#1 in the year 2005? I think not. And I don't think that Lynch could make just a sort of co-incedence for such a crucial character(s).
Btw, we see V#2's watch, I can say even that our attention is forsed to see her watch for some moment. Isn't that the same watch which are sold to Lost Girl (or not her but someone who look like her?) in "More things that happened"? And which bring "good luck"? That's also something to think about..

Finally about V#2, I need to say that it's not just reminder - in fact, surprised (or scared) Sue went to Phantom's house exactly because of this talk (even if not immediately after that, like in film), and that launched the following sequence of events that resulted into her death. That makes me think of, how I said before - how did all this looked like in actual Sue's life, did all happened exactly as she sees in reliving (including her visit to Billy when she tells that "something is bad wrong" and makes Doris Side angry), or in some different way? Of course I understand that it looks like we can't get exact answers from the film, but it's something to think over..

As for Nikki, I want to say that she could be reincarnation of Sue's soul, or she could become a spirit world character herself, but not realizing her actual nature until the gets the role in "On high in blue tomorrows" - she behaves and appears to all others as real person. This better explains how could Sue's soul (from 1960-s as we remember) fit so perfectly to the reality of 2005.

One more thing  is interesting to figure out, about the place where gets Sue when she runs from shooting stage into "Smitty's house" set. If we're using term "purgatory" for Lost Girl's room, doesn't it look like that Sue also gets into her purgatory? Maybe we could even say that she's captured into it.. The thing that makes me think like this, is who she meets there - the prostitutes. You see that they're not just helping her, when we first see them they're talking about some person they were in love with. I could suppose even that they're talking about the same person - that's why they're indeed together in this place. So what it is? A collective purgatory for everyone who was in love with Smitty? Looks like that...

Smitty/Piotrek personality is also something too complicated. Piotrek is pretty equal to Smitty - of course we could tell that Sue just imagined him in her Nikki fantasy but I'm not sure that's right. One episode makes me think other way: when Nikki just got the role, and he goes down the stairs.. And from "More things ..." we could notice that you get on this stairs when you walk from Sue's reality (and Smitty's house) to Nikki's one! So we can assume that Smitty in fact controls (or keeps watching) Sue's soul and can easily travel between two realities..


Quote
Yes, I used "New Poland" to mean contemporary Poland. As for the radio play being in English, I'm honestly not sure that's an important detail. Although maybe a case could be made... I'd need my memory refreshed.
Ok thanks. I was just a bit confused with the fact that he's moving there and back several times.. To go from California to Poland is really not like to take a car and to drive to city nearby :) Btw the sequence of events is not so clear: he already lives with Sue when circus comes to picnic (this picnic is in their house in Inland Empire or not?), then he leaves with them to Eastern Europe, as Sue tells.. Then happen all that affairs with circus, and only after that he gets information that Phantom is involved in that story with Lost Girl and that he's in Inland Empire. Hm.. that could look like another paradox but maybe it's just necessary to think of "what was before and what after"...
The case is that he not only moves close to Phantom, but he meets Sue and marries her - at what moment he does that, and does he know from very beginning who she is?

Fernando

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #104 on: October 21, 2014, 11:15:37 AM »
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In the latest installment of Academy Originals web series, Moby shows his fans his favorite film of all time.

Legendary singer and DJ Moby is best known for his electronic music and eclectic and charitable lifestyle. But, his music career has long been intertwined with cinematic endeavors as well, given how many of his songs are used film scores.

So, it was no surprise when the Academy invited Moby to choose a favorite film from their archives to watch with a few of his friends as a part of their new web series, Academy Originals. But, never one to be normal, Moby tweeted his invitation to all of his fans and chose quite possibly the most Moby-esque film possible: David Lynch's "Inland Empire."

Moby explained to his fans, "If you have a pathological attachment to a conventional three act narrative, you'll either leave or blow your brains out. If you approach it like a psychedelic experience experimental film, then all of a sudden it's wonderful."


There's a short video of that screening that I can't embed, click on the link.

http://www.indiewire.com/article/watch-moby-takes-his-fans-to-a-really-weird-movie-20141021

 

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