Author Topic: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis  (Read 33392 times)

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jenkins

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #105 on: October 21, 2014, 01:42:00 PM »
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^this is the kind of marketing the academy does, btw, in regard to how in the iv thread i said the academy doesn't do marketing so much. this is how they do it

kylefoley76

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #106 on: April 06, 2015, 10:54:38 PM »
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Hi Jeremy,

Thanks for posting your analysis on Inland Empire.  It's really good.  Yours and Fred Palakton's essay are the only two essay that I've seen who have handled the film with any competence.  I'm working on 15,000 word essay which I will post in about a month.  However, there is one part in your essay that is really bugging me.  You said that there is a scene in Old Poland where Piotrek appears to have a bullet hole through the head.  I cannot find this scene.  Is this on the deleted scenes?

Jeremy Blackman

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #107 on: April 06, 2015, 11:25:29 PM »
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Thanks! Please be sure to post your essay here when you're done! And I will have to read Fred Palakton.

Yeah, he was either shot or stabbed in the head with something. The shot is very dark, but you can find it at 1 hour 42 min. I increased the brightness/contrast:





It mirrors the deleted scene where we are shown Billy's murdered corpse (who was the illegitimate lover, like Piotrek in Old Poland).

Here's what I said about it:

Quote
The Phantom lookalike kills the Smithy lookalike. This is probably the most clear-cut case. The motive is certainly there, just as it is for the contemporary Smithy. He has been cheated, and he wants to exterminate the illegitimate lover. He even does some cryptic bragging when he meets Lost Girl in the street. [17] Judging by the shot of the dead Smithy lookalike, it appears to have been a gunshot wound to the head.
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kylefoley76

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #108 on: April 07, 2015, 03:27:48 AM »
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Wow, that's really amazing.  Thanks for that post.  I think maybe you have better photoshop equipment than I do.  I'm trying to figure out who is walking up the stairs with the screwdriver in Old Poland at 1:30 (I think). I know you think it is lost girl.  But I want to get a better view.  This is the only thing my equipment was able to produce. See attachments.

Jeremy Blackman

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #109 on: April 07, 2015, 05:04:36 PM »
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Yeah, that (the screwdriver girl) is something I struggled with at first, because her hair looks weird, but I am sure it's Lost Girl. I'll try to get a better image of it later.

The top image is obviously Julia Ormond, playing the (not so mysterious) mystery woman, who is Piotrek's wife in Old Poland. It's my opinion that she is stabbed by Lost Girl, which sets everything into motion. That stabbing is the thing that creates Lost Girl's spiritual crisis. It gets her stuck in purgatory and leads to her repeating a similar life "half born" through Sue. But this time Sue is the one who is stabbed by Julia Ormond. Being the stabee instead of the stabber is a very simple empathy exercise, but it seems to work.

It's been a while since I've watched IE, but I think it's actually unclear chronologically (and otherwise) whether Lost Girl stabs Julia Ormond before or after Piotrek's death. After makes more sense to me, and that means it's probably in mistaken revenge. Before would also make sense and would mean it's out of jealousy, a more evil act.
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Jeremy Blackman

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #110 on: April 07, 2015, 09:55:46 PM »
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Edit: I've updated my analysis with the new stuff in this post.


Screencaps of Lost Girl with the screwdriver are below. But I think I also just made a breakthrough. And it seems so obvious now, I don't know why I didn't get it before, or why no one corrected me. (The breakthrough is in #5.)

The following sequence, from 1:38:00 to 1:42:25, is incredibly important...


1

Sue is in a reliving limbo state at the barbecue (one of the clearest cases of that mechanic). Sue sees the ketchup all over Smithy’s t-shirt. This immediately reminds her of the stabbings — her own, and Lost Girl’s.

2

Speaking of Lost Girl’s stabbing, let’s go there! We see Lost Girl’s face flicker in the ketchup. Then we fully shift back to Old Poland. Lost Girl is illuminated by candlelight and says a little prayer as if preparing for something:

“Cast out this wicked dream that has seized my heart.”

3

Lost Girl slowly walks up the stairs, looking unsure of herself (see below), but she goes through with it and kills her lover’s wife.

The scream. The stabbing has happened.

We hear the screwdriver fall on the floor. Lost Girl kneels down and holds her head in a classic “what have I done?” pose (see below).

4

Lynch shows us Julia Ormond from behind. “Who is she? Who is she?” Literally asking us to put it together. Then he shows us her face.

5

Lost Girl, now a murderer, briskly walks down the street and runs across her husband. They have that tense, awkward conversation, in which they fully acknowledge the awkwardness (which doesn’t make things less awkward).

“You seem different.”
“You too.”

They are both on edge because they both just killed someone. Lost Girl is more nervous because she is more disturbed by what she has just done. This escalates into existential horror when she finds out what her husband has just done.

In other words, there is no revenge in Old Poland. Lost Girl killed Piotrek’s wife out of jealousy ("this wicked dream that has seized my heart"). The Phantom lookalike killed his wife’s lover. At the same time.

Watch how Lost Girl responds when he says “you too.” She has this look on her face like she knows her soul has been severely damaged.

Seriously though, Karolina Gruszka’s acting in this scene is astounding. She communicates every level of meaning. And in general, she seems to get the film even better than Laura Dern.

6

We see Piotrek dead, and Lost Girl watching all of this from purgatory.

Note that this whole sequence was bookended in perfect duality, beginning with Sue recalling and triggering it, and ending with Lost Girl watching this memory and absorbing the experience, shivering in tears.




















« Last Edit: April 28, 2017, 05:41:45 PM by Jeremy Blackman »
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kylefoley76

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #111 on: April 08, 2015, 04:14:22 AM »
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We hear the screwdriver fall on the floor. Lost Girl kneels down and holds her head in a classic “what have I done?” pose (see below).

I can't find the image that refers to that.


Quote
Lynch shows us Julia Ormond from behind.
I agree with that.

Quote
“Who is she? Who is she?” Literally asking us to put it together. Then he shows us her face.
Are you talking about the face of the dead woman on the floor?  Because I'm not sure that that's Julia Ormond.


Quote
Lost Girl, now a murderer, briskly walks down the street and runs across her husband.
How do you feel about the Phantom being possibly her pimp with whom they have some sort of abusive, perverse love-hate relationship?  I have trouble believing that they're married.

Also, I'm having difficulty finding out who kills whom.  Lost girl clearly walks up the stairs but then we see Julia Ormond's back and she's alive.  This is after the scream.  Perhaps just like on Hollywood Blvd Julia Ormond stabbed Sue Blue but this time she's stabbing Sue Blue's other half, which is Lost Girl, even though admittedly if we assume that the next scene is chronologically after the murder scene it would not make sense for Lost Girl to be alive but perhaps that scene chronologically precedes the murder scene and the murder the Phantom is referring to is his own murder of Piotrek.  Admittedly, it makes more sense that the Phantom witnessed Lost Girl killing someone but it really seems like the woman dead on the floor is lost girl and that Julia Ormond survived the event immediately after the scream.  Or maybe it's the case that Lynch intended the events to be deliberately misleading.




Quote
Watch how Lost Girl responds when he says “you too.” She has this look on her face like she knows her soul has been severely damaged.
ok, i'll take a second look.

Quote
Seriously though, Karolina Gruszka’s acting in this scene is astounding. She communicates every level of meaning. And in general, she seems to get the film even better than Laura Dern.
Well, I wouldn't go that far but she is a good actress. Looking at her filmography on IMDB she gets a good amount of work.

Also, they took my attachments down.  Do you know why?

Jeremy Blackman

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #112 on: April 08, 2015, 12:01:46 PM »
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We hear the screwdriver fall on the floor. Lost Girl kneels down and holds her head in a classic “what have I done?” pose (see below).
I can't find the image that refers to that.

The last 3 images in my post above.

It takes place in the hall outside, so she presumably dropped the screwdriver in the room, came back out, and kneeled on the floor there.


Are you talking about the face of the dead woman on the floor?  Because I'm not sure that that's Julia Ormond.

It seems pretty clear to me that it's Julia Ormond. She has a distinctive nose.


Quote
Lost Girl, now a murderer, briskly walks down the street and runs across her husband.

How do you feel about the Phantom being possibly her pimp with whom they have some sort of abusive, perverse love-hate relationship?  I have trouble believing that they're married.

He says "our home." It seems most likely that he's her abusive husband. But yeah, pimping her could be part of his abuse, and there could be some other weird things going on. She certainly seems justified in falling in love with another guy.


Lost girl clearly walks up the stairs but then we see Julia Ormond's back and she's alive.

Right, but when Lynch shows us Julia Ormond's back, it's to remind us of that same image that appeared earlier. That is not a chronological scene. It might as well be a freeze frame. The prostitutes literally poke their head in the frame, break the fourth wall, and ask us "who is she?" It's an insert. "Hey, remember this woman? She just got killed." It's there to help us.


Admittedly, it makes more sense that the Phantom witnessed Lost Girl killing someone

He doesn't know that Lost Girl killed anyone. What he is referring to throughout their chat is, as you said, his own murder of Piotrek, whose body we see immediately afterwards to make it clear to us.


but it really seems like the woman dead on the floor is lost girl and that Julia Ormond survived the event immediately after the scream.

I'm not sure where you're getting that from. The dead woman's face looks nothing like Lost Girl and exactly like Julia Ormond.

Lost Girl being killed there would necessitate a severe and awkwardly deceptive jumbling of the chronology. Because right after that, we see her walk on to the street, very much alive and looking like she just killed someone.


Or maybe it's the case that Lynch intended the events to be deliberately misleading.

The thing is, nothing in that whole sequence is misleading. If you accept that insert shot / freeze frame as what it is, everything is in order.


Also, they took my attachments down.  Do you know why?

They're still there.
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kylefoley76

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #113 on: April 09, 2015, 01:32:02 AM »
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Right, but when Lynch shows us Julia Ormond's back, it's to remind us of that same image that appeared earlier. That is not a chronological scene. It might as well be a freeze frame.
I suppose that makes more sense than Lost Girl lying dead on the floor.  Thanks for pointing that out to me.  Without people like you, I can't learn anything.

Jeremy Blackman

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #114 on: April 09, 2015, 10:21:28 AM »
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Thanks. Sorry if I sounded argumentative there, I just got into it. :yabbse-grin:
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kylefoley76

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #115 on: April 12, 2015, 08:45:48 PM »
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Palakton believes that this scene where Piotrek is arguing with a woman that the woman is Lost Girl but I think it's the actress played by Julia Ormond.  It's one of the scenes that takes place in Old Poland sometime between 1:20 and 1:40

LOST GIRL I can’t give you children. I know that…Are you listening to me?
PIOTREK I’m going out now.
LOST GIRL I’m not who you think I am! I’ll never let you have her! Never…

Who do you think is the woman?

Jeremy Blackman

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #116 on: April 12, 2015, 08:49:21 PM »
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Yes, I'm with you on that one. I always understood that to be Julia Ormond. I'll check that out again, but I remember it being pretty clear.
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archetek

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #117 on: November 23, 2015, 07:36:35 AM »
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Jeremy,

Your analysis of this film is outstanding! Your work on this is very much appreciated, it showed me that my initial derivations after watching for the first time were not far off, but were also not-even-close, if you know what I mean.

Cheers for an awesome analysis and thread! Great forum, plan to stay indefinitely.
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archetek

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #118 on: November 23, 2015, 07:55:52 AM »
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[TL;DR - A theme of the movie: 'There are only two, the third does not belong and must be purged so the two can become one.' Look for the numbers 2 and 3, sets of pairs vs. trios/love-triangles, two girl rabbits and one boy, two fertile and one barren/sterile, Nikki being exposed as a fantasy to help Sue and lost-girl find each other, etc]

Jeremy, if you don't mind my asking, what is the image in your profile pic from? It kind of reminds me of the shape of the red lamp in IE, which also sparked my interest, as it seems to symbolize a trinity of some sort, which struck me because initially I was only thinking of the pairs of characters, when actually there are many more instances of characters/entities in groups of three. Maybe the Phantom represents the third part of Lynch's holy trinity here? I.e., the three main characters of everyone's life are themselves, their soul mate, and their spirit guide (could this also be the Phantom maybe? It seems like a stretch but I feel like the 'pairs of two within sets of three' is a common theme, I will give some examples below that may intrigue you)

My first naive and myopic interpretation of the movie was that all of the female characters were representative of mother nature, and all male characters represented mankind. This is especially represented in the first scene with the prostitute lost-girl, which set the whole tone of the movie for me. There is definitely a 'men making women's lives hell' feel to everything that happens, and that to me screamed symbolism of mankind ruining mother nature, but I care about the environment so that is likely me projecting. (funny word that, its two main meanings are a big part of IE)

If you watch the movie with this dualism in mind though, I think you might find some very interesting new ideas, for me what came to light was the concept of two vs. three, e.g., character + lookalike/reincarnation + the Phantom, the two lovers in the multiple love triangles, two of the three in the love triangles being fertile while the 3rd is barren/sterile, the two female rabbits vs the one male rabbit, sue and lost-girl vs. nikki, the two candles lit by one of the two female rabbits while the 3rd male rabbit is absent, the list goes on. There are also multiple instances of grouping 2 females with one male, an obscure example are the homeless people there for sue's death. The 3 rabbits representing Lynch's trinity godhead definitely makes sense, especially if there really is a Polish fable about that. (I plan on searching for that fable and finding out myself)

This is a bit of a silly interpretation, and a small one at that, but I think you'll find the numbers 2 and 3 permeating the entire movie, and the 3rd is almost always hidden/offscreen/ambiguous. I see a few examples of triumph or defeat of 2 due to actions/encouragement/reflection of a 3rd. Also, the male rabbit asks, "Where was I?" in the rabbit scene that happens after the two-candle rabbit scene where he is missing, but fades in and out briefly, the same way the Phantom disappears in Sue's story to Mr. K. I honestly feel like there's an argument to be made for this dynamic pervading the film: one + one's other half +(vs.) fear/evil/negativity. What is striking to me is that there is always one of the three missing, it's not always the phantom, either...as far as I can tell there are no scenes that include sue, lost-girl AND the phantom together. I feel like the two-lights theme is related to this. (Two candles at the seance, two lights reflected on the TV, and two candles lit by the rabbit)

It seems to me that all of this points to, 'There are only two, the third does not belong and must be purged so the two can become one.' This pertains to quite a few dynamics,  just think of what a love-triangle murder actually is. Like I said, a bit silly but it's definitely there.

Such a fantastic movie, and I have to say the OP's interpretation seems to be the closest to what Lynch's internal narrative actually was, it really opened my eyes to what was really going on. I was actually a little disappointed in myself for not giving it another watch before looking up online interpretations, but my own was so fantastical I knew it was more myself projecting my own demons onto the screen. Lynch has a way of creating a box we all fill with our own insecurities, hopes, dreams, and fears.

Cheers! Sorry for the long-winded post!
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Jeremy Blackman

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Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Reply #119 on: November 23, 2015, 01:04:23 PM »
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Thanks, and welcome!

My avatar is from the Black Mirror episode "White Bear," one of the best episodes of TV I've ever seen.

Speaking of which, I also highly recommend The Leftovers — last night's episode was truly remarkable, and heavily Lynch-inspired. Season 1 is mixed (though worth watching), but Season 2 is on a new level.

I love your interpretations of IE. I think it's really the case here that Lynch didn't grasp the entirety of what he was making; I don't think one human mind could.

I like the examples of trios/trinities you found! I'm sure they're in all kinds of places I haven't noticed before. When you say "This is a bit of a silly interpretation," well, that's just how the entire movie works. There's a lot of silliness and off-the-wall symbolism throughout... What keeps it from being dumb is the foreboding, and the ever-present sense that something else is going on.

I honestly feel like there's an argument to be made for this dynamic pervading the film: one + one's other half +(vs.) fear/evil/negativity. What is striking to me is that there is always one of the three missing, it's not always the phantom, either...as far as I can tell there are no scenes that include sue, lost-girl AND the phantom together. I feel like the two-lights theme is related to this. (Two candles at the seance, two lights reflected on the TV, and two candles lit by the rabbit)

This is fascinating. I wonder what conclusions can be drawn.

The Polish mediums seem to be manifestations of the spirit world rabbits. But the rabbits are still a bit of a mystery — their role is very fluid. Not only might they be the mediums, they might also be Janek and Mr. K.





With the other trios, what is Lynch getting at? My theory has been that direct correlations are being drawn between Old Poland and Inland Empire to show what reincarnation can do. I think that's true and that it's the core of the film. But it might go beyond that — I think there's a lot of room to expand on the idea of trios/trinities, because you're right, it pops up in other areas of the movie.

'There are only two, the third does not belong and must be purged so the two can become one.' This pertains to quite a few dynamics, just think of what a love-triangle murder actually is.

Ooo I definitely like this! Have to let it sink in.
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