XIXAX Film Forum


Recent Posts

51
David Lynch / Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Last post by WorldForgot on January 13, 2019, 04:04:03 PM »

I've never seen someone bring this up, but there's a fairly subtle recurring motif of the window from Smithy's house. If I remember rightly we see it 3 times; briefly overlaid on the Axxonn intro, (obviously )when Nikki invades the set and enters the house, and when Nikki/Sue looks up to see herself. This strongly suggests that there are 2 mirrored/alternate 'realities' at play. I'm almost positive that the Nikki/Sue we see with the prostitutes and doing the silk/cigarette trick is different to the one we see playing out scenes from the film. Smithy's house also backs this up - one version of the house seems to be genuine  and the other seems to exist outside of reality (think the Red Room from Twin Peaks).

I don't want to spoil my full answer for this, because it's my favorite chapter of the thing I'm writing. But essentially my view is that ghost-Sue is a time traveler. That's not so much "alternate reality" as a fluid way of observing and learning in this strange pseudo-spiritual space.


Just curious, JB, talkin' Lynch here, and it being that I agree with your interp that within both workz "stories = lives":
Why is it a pseudo-spiritual space and not just spiritual space? Emotional reverberations sprout possibility their reality. Emotional/physical trauma affects Sue + LG's perceptionz and/or experiencez of ontology/lived space-time just as in Twin Peaks, Dale's. Has gotta be as real to mortals as the space of the Rabbits' is to the Phantom?
52
David Lynch / Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Last post by Jeremy Blackman on January 13, 2019, 02:10:55 PM »
I'm working on a new, much longer interpretation, so I'm going to draw from that for a lot of this. You'll just have to trust me that a lot of my ideas are supported by evidence, even if I don't write it all out here.

There's evidence to support that many of the events in IE have been a reoccurring cycle; Kingsley mentioning "if we all play our part, this could be the one" and "this is a star maker if I ever saw one", as well as the seemingly frustrated silence of him and Freddie when they sit down at the script reading (like they're having to start things all over again). Also, we see the Visitor again at the end of the movie pointing to future Nikki, but this time the story's been resolved and she's at peace instead of starting the series of events over again.

I agree. Even on a surface level, we see that the events playing out in Nikki's life are essentially a new cycle of the events in Lost Girl's life. Axxon N. ("the longest running radio play in history") is crucial here. I like to think of it as an eternal system of lives, repeating, but with "variations" as Visitor #1 puts it. In Lynch's metaphor here, stories = lives.

I've never seen someone bring this up, but there's a fairly subtle recurring motif of the window from Smithy's house. If I remember rightly we see it 3 times; briefly overlaid on the Axxonn intro, (obviously )when Nikki invades the set and enters the house, and when Nikki/Sue looks up to see herself. This strongly suggests that there are 2 mirrored/alternate 'realities' at play. I'm almost positive that the Nikki/Sue we see with the prostitutes and doing the silk/cigarette trick is different to the one we see playing out scenes from the film. Smithy's house also backs this up - one version of the house seems to be genuine  and the other seems to exist outside of reality (think the Red Room from Twin Peaks).

I don't want to spoil my full answer for this, because it's my favorite chapter of the thing I'm writing. But essentially my view is that ghost-Sue is a time traveler. That's not so much "alternate reality" as a fluid way of observing and learning in this strange pseudo-spiritual space.

This is basically how it happens. Going from memory, so hopefully this is correct:

(1) In the alley behind the marketplace, Sue (ghost-Sue) enters the Axxon N. door. This is a magical door that takes her back in time. Axxon N. represents the time cycle/continuum, so of course it makes perfect sense than an Axxon N. door would be able to take you through time.

(2) Sue emerges in the set. She sees the earlier version of herself, not yet awakened. Her intrusion on this set helps awaken the previous earlier of herself.

(3) Earlier Sue (still a ghost, still naively going by Nikki) gets curious and suspicious and the reality of her world starts crumbling.

(4) She eventually gets curious enough that, while in the alley behind the marketplace, she passes through the Axxon N. door. See #1.

In other words, this is literally a time loop.

Speaking of the set, there is definitely something significant about the mysterious room in the hallway. We see Smithy go in there with his green jacket once, we see Nikki/Sue enter there before confronting the Phantom, we see Lost Girl exit out of it and we see Nikki/Sue enter it in MTTH before ending up back outside the house. There is also definitely something up with the final Axxonn room we see before Nikki/Sue confronts the Phantom. Watch the scene carefully: Nikki/Sue enters the door and appears in Smithy's house, she then goes through the mysterious hallway door (notice how it goes slow-motion at this point), the camera pans slowly to the right, the lights change colour and then Nikki/Sue reappears back in the Axxonn room. Notice how an unreasonable amount of time has passed on the Axxonn room clock while this happens. Weird, huh?? I'm certain that this is some clever misdirection and there are actually 2 Nikki/Sues walking around (no idea which one's which); 1 enters the mysterious door to where the Lost Girl is and the other one enters the Axxonn room a bit after (entering the room from the right) and goes to confront the Phantom. This explain the doppelganger on the Walk of Fame, the weird mirror scene mentioned earlier (where Nikki/Sue looks up to see herself) AND how Nikki/Sue ends up in 2 different places at the end for seemingly no reason (one in the Rabbit room and one in the Lost Girl's room).

To your first point, if I understand this correctly, that room is important because that's where the Phantom-killing gun is kept. It's made very clear to Sue how important this room and this dresser is, because she will need to retrieve that gun.

I'm still not entirely sure what the deal with Doris is. When she approaches Nikki/Sue on the Walk of Fame she's clearly unarmed and unhurt, and when she stabs Nikki/Sue the screwdriver is left behind. So how exactly did she end up stabbed, herself? I propose she's either stabbed by the 2nd Nikki/Sue or this is just some shoddy continuity on the film's behalf.

This was very intentional, in my opinion. In symbolic fashion, Doris has that screwdriver in her gut because she was stabbed by it in her previous life, by Lost Girl, in her apartment. See my posts on this page.

(Also addresses your next point.)

Speaking of which, the 2 people with blurred-out faces at the start of the film and definitely not the Lost Girl and the Phantom. The voices and actors are different (credited just as "Man" and "Woman" or something if I remember rightly). The hotel room of the Lost Girl has modern decor (notice the absence of the TV in the black and white scenes).

I don't have strong opinions on this. I would agree that that's definitely not the Phantom. But I might argue that it is Lost Girl in that scene (played by a Karolina Gruszka body double, perhaps) going by her body type. For that matter, it might has well be a similar version of these characters from a previous life/time. The connection is there, so it ultimately doesn't matter too much.

The Rabbits take on a similar role to the spirits in Twin Peaks (Firefighter, Mike etc), seeming to be pulling the strings of the events throughout the film. They laid a trap for the Phantom ("bring the horse to the well") which allowed Nikki/Sue to kill him. This would suggest he's a kinda rogue spirit, much like Bob in Twin Peaks. They also grant him permission to enter the physical world at the start of the film ("I'm looking for a way in").

I like this a lot and strongly agree with you here. I have also always seen the rabbits as being helpful to Sue's journey.

Regarding Smithy, it's made clear that he's under the employment of the Phantom, but what does he do exactly?

In one life, he worked for the circus taking care of the animals, while the Phantom was the ringleader. So in that sense he did literally work for the Phantom. The rest of this question is addressed in my analysis. But you'd have to agree with me that there are two sets of lives in this film, as I lay out there.

If we're to assume that MTTH is canon then it seem like the Lost Girl ended up damned by buying the watch from the Phantom.

Yeah, it is a major question how canonical those bits actually are. Some do seem like things that definitely happened, others seem like stray possibilities that did not actually occur (and contradict what's in the film), and others are somewhere in between.
53
David Lynch / Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Last post by r3dshift3d on January 13, 2019, 12:45:53 PM »
No problem, looking forward to your response!
54
David Lynch / Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Last post by Jeremy Blackman on January 13, 2019, 12:23:51 PM »
I will probably try to tackle your Qs in a few days. But I'll say this, it's a pretty bold claim to say this movie is unsolvable. I mean, you're right that it's not 100% solvable. Just by virtue of the way it was made. But I think I've made sense of 90-95% of it.

You might also say that a lot of questions don't really need to be answered.
55
David Lynch / Re: HALFBORN: An Inland Empire Analysis
« Last post by r3dshift3d on January 13, 2019, 12:09:54 PM »
Awesome, wasn't expecting replies!

Is your youtube video going to be 50 hours long?

After watching Inland Empire to death over the past several years I've come to the conclusion that it's unsolvable. Lynch left way too much ambiguity in some of the key aspects of the story for a complete, comprehensive explanation to be possible (I'll expand below). What i'm aiming to do with my video is to tie together a high level plot for people who don't understand the film and then to identify the core mysteries of Inland Empire and why it is indeed unsolvable.

I have a lot to say about the film but here are a mix of points which may be of interest; some addressing points made earlier in this thread some which I haven't seen mentioned before)...

- There's evidence to support that many of the events in IE have been a reoccurring cycle; Kingsley mentioning "if we all play our part, this could be the one" and "this is a star maker if I ever saw one", as well as the seemingly frustrated silence of him and Freddie when they sit down at the script reading (like they're having to start things all over again). Also, we see the Visitor again at the end of the movie pointing to future Nikki, but this time the story's been resolved and she's at peace instead of starting the series of events over again.

- I've never seen someone bring this up, but there's a fairly subtle recurring motif of the window from Smithy's house. If I remember rightly we see it 3 times; briefly overlaid on the Axxonn intro, (obviously )when Nikki invades the set and enters the house, and when Nikki/Sue looks up to see herself. This strongly suggests that there are 2 mirrored/alternate 'realities' at play. I'm almost positive that the Nikki/Sue we see with the prostitutes and doing the silk/cigarette trick is different to the one we see playing out scenes from the film. Smithy's house also backs this up - one version of the house seems to be genuine  and the other seems to exist outside of reality (think the Red Room from Twin Peaks).

- Speaking of the set, there is definitely something significant about the mysterious room in the hallway. We see Smithy go in there with his green jacket once, we see Nikki/Sue enter there before confronting the Phantom, we see Lost Girl exit out of it and we see Nikki/Sue enter it in MTTH before ending up back outside the house. There is also definitely something up with the final Axxonn room we see before Nikki/Sue confronts the Phantom. Watch the scene carefully: Nikki/Sue enters the door and appears in Smithy's house, she then goes through the mysterious hallway door (notice how it goes slow-motion at this point), the camera pans slowly to the right, the lights change colour and then Nikki/Sue reappears back in the Axxonn room. Notice how an unreasonable amount of time has passed on the Axxonn room clock while this happens. Weird, huh?? I'm certain that this is some clever misdirection and there are actually 2 Nikki/Sues walking around (no idea which one's which); 1 enters the mysterious door to where the Lost Girl is and the other one enters the Axxonn room a bit after (entering the room from the right) and goes to confront the Phantom. This explain the doppelganger on the Walk of Fame, the weird mirror scene mentioned earlier (where Nikki/Sue looks up to see herself) AND how Nikki/Sue ends up in 2 different places at the end for seemingly no reason (one in the Rabbit room and one in the Lost Girl's room).

- I'm still not entirely sure what the deal with Doris is. When she approaches Nikki/Sue on the Walk of Fame she's clearly unarmed and unhurt, and when she stabs Nikki/Sue the screwdriver is left behind. So how exactly did she end up stabbed, herself? I propose she's either stabbed by the 2nd Nikki/Sue or this is just some shoddy continuity on the film's behalf.

- It's absolutely not clear who-kills-who in Old Poland, there are valid cases for the 'mystery girl' being both Doris or the Lost Girl. It does look more Doris from the back but she clearly says "I'll never let you have her" (or whatever it is), heavily implying that she's the one who commits the murder (and the corpse is almost definitely Doris); but this is all contradicted by the fact we see the Lost Girl walking up the stairs with the screwdriver. These scenes would be more enjoyable if they left ambiguous rather than outright contradictory. Also. we hear a gramophone crackle at the start of the first Old Poland scene which leads us to believe it's part of the Axxonn radioplay. Thus I don't believe that these scenes are part of Lost Girl's history nor the 47 film. Buuuuut the presentation of these scenes differs to the black and white scenes at the start of the film which are also apparently part of Axxonn - more contradictions, yayyy!

- Speaking of which, the 2 people with blurred-out faces at the start of the film and definitely not the Lost Girl and the Phantom. The voices and actors are different (credited just as "Man" and "Woman" or something if I remember rightly). The hotel room of the Lost Girl has modern decor (notice the absence of the TV in the black and white scenes).

- The Rabbits take on a similar role to the spirits in Twin Peaks (Firefighter, Mike etc), seeming to be pulling the strings of the events throughout the film. They laid a trap for the Phantom ("bring the horse to the well") which allowed Nikki/Sue to kill him. This would suggest he's a kinda rogue spirit, much like Bob in Twin Peaks. They also grant him permission to enter the physical world at the start of the film ("I'm looking for a way in").

- Regarding Smithy, it's made clear that he's under the employment of the Phantom, but what does he do exactly? We see him leaving the house late at night a few times with a green coat, I think we can assume this is when he's off to do his jobs. When Nikki and Devon are having sex for the first time I think we're seeing Smithy here, not Piotrek (notice the clothes), but how is that possible?! Wellllll, we see Smithy enter the mysterious door in the hallway, and it's already established that this door is like a gateway between the 2 worlds/realities; so I highly suspect that Smithy is jumping between them (remember we see him lurking on the set when Nikki enters the house for the first time). So does that mean that Smithy/Piotrek are the same person? Not sure about that. We're also drawn attention to the question "who's playing Smithy?" - is the answer "himself"? It also seems like he's wearing the green jacket whenever he's doing this work. Still not entirely sure of the answers here but there's definitely a greater significance of his involvement than we're lead to think.

- If we're to assume that MTTH is canon then it seem like the Lost Girl ended up damned by buying the watch from the Phantom.

Interested to hear what you guys think!


56
DVD Talk / Re: Random DVD and Blu-ray announcements
« Last post by wilder on January 13, 2019, 08:59:53 AM »
December 6, 2019

Roman Polanski’s Bitter Moon (1992) on blu-ray from Studio Canal (Germany)



Nigel Dobson is an English perfect gentleman, married to equally respectable Fiona. On a cruise heading for India, they meet a highly unconventional couple, American unpublished would-be literary celebrity Oscar, in a wheelchair, and his much younger Parisian wife, Mimi.

Bitter Moon (1992) - Amazon DE






April 9, 2019

Frank Tuttle’s This Gun for Hire (1942) on blu-ray from Shout Factory



A hired killer dodges police while tracking down the enemy agents who tried to frame him.



April 29/30, 2019

Aleksey German’s Khrustalyov, My Car! (1998) on blu-ray from Arrow US & Arrow UK, from a 2K restoration of the original camera negative



Named after the apocryphal exclamation of Soviet security chief Lavrentiy Beria as he rushed to Stalin's deathbed, this blackly funny, deliriously immersive satire distils the anticipation and anxiety in the Moscow air, as the Soviet despot lay dying.

Late winter 1953. The lives of nearly half the planet are in Stalin's hands. A military surgeon, General Yuri Georgievich Klensky (Yuri Tsurilo), finds himself a target of the "Doctors' Plot": the anti-Semitic conspiracy accusing Jewish doctors in Moscow of planning to assassinate the Soviet elite. Pursued, abused, and marked for the gulags, Yuri is chased and dragged through a Stalinist Soviet nightmare. His desperate, jolting journey encapsulates the madness of the era.

Directed by Aleksei German (Hard to Be a God), Khrustalyov, My Car! proved wildly provocative when it was screened at the 1998 Cannes film festival, despite being championed as the best film of the festival by the president of the Cannes jury that year, Martin Scorsese. A one-of-a-kind collision of nightmare and realism, German's film is presented here in a new restoration with a wealth of illuminating extras.







April 8/9, 2019

Alain Resnais’ Mélo (!986) on blu-ray from Arrow US & Arrow UK



Master director Alain Resnais (Last Year At Marienbad) blurs the line between cinematic technique and theatrical artifice in his award-winning Mélo, adapted from Henri Bernstein's classic play about a doomed love triangle in 1920s Paris.

Pierre (Pierre Arditi, Love Unto Death) and Marcel (André Dussollier, A Good Marriage) are both celebrated concert violinists and lifelong friends, in spite of their differing temperaments. Pierre is modest, sensitive and content with his lot; Marcel is hungry, driven, and pursues a solo career that takes him to the four corners of the world. After years apart, the two friends reunite when Pierre invites Marcel to his home for dinner. It is then that Marcel first meets Pierre's wife Romaine (Sabine Azéma, Cosmos), sparking a passionate affair that can only end in tragedy before the curtain falls.




2019 TBD

Elmer Clifton & Ida Lupino’s Not Wanted (1949) on blu-ray from Kino, from a 4K restoration. New restorations of Ida Lupino’s The Bigamist (1953) and The Hitch-Hiker (1953) are also forthcoming.



After a beautiful but unsophisticated girl is seduced by a worldly piano player and gives up her out-of-wedlock baby, her guilt compels her to kidnap another child.






March 18, 2019

Michael Apted’s The Triple Echo (1972) on blu-ray from Indicator (UK), from a 2K restoration from the original camera negative



When a young soldier (Deacon) deserts his outfit and hides in a remote farm, the farm owner (Jackson) and he fall in love. But their idyll is shattered by the arrival of a boorish, violent army sergeant (Reed) searching for his AWOL recruit.

The Triple Echo (1972) - Powerhouse Films


This trailer is wild





March 18, 2019

John Dexter’s The Virgin Soldiers (1969) on blu-ray from Indicator (UK)



Set in Singapore in the early 1950s, this impressive adaptation of Leslie Thomas’ best-selling, scandalous novel centres on a group of naïve, young British Army recruits billeted to Malaya who have no experience of either love or war.

The Virgin Soldiers (1969) - Powerhouse Films






March 18, 2019

Anthony Mann’s A Dandy in Aspic (1968) on blu-ray from Indicator (UK)



The final film by the great Anthony Mann (Winchester '73, El Cid) A Dandy in Aspic is a stylish and complex cold-war thriller starring Laurence Harvey (Room at the Top, The Manchurian Candidate) as a Russian double-agent working for British Intelligence who is assigned to track down and kill an unusual target.

Falling between the outlandish exploits of James Bond and the dour realism of John le Carré’s ‘circus of spies’, this paranoid thriller is a dark and refined affair, with a superb supporting cast headed by Mia Farrow (Rosemary’s Baby, See No Evil) and Tom Courtenay (The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Otley), wonderful cinematography by regular Powell and Pressburger cameraman Christopher Challis, and with a terrific score by Quincy Jones.


A Dandy in Aspic (1968) - Powerhouse Films



March 18, 2019

Billy Wilder’s Irma la Douce (1963) on blu-ray from Masters of Cinema (UK)



In Paris, a former policeman falls in love with a prostitute, and tries to get her out of that life by paying for all of her time.

Irma la Douce (1963) - Amazon UK



April 30, 2019

Jim Sheridan’s The Boxer (1997) on blu-ray from Shout Factory



Young Danny Flynn is released from prison 14 years after "taking the rap" for the IRA and tries to rebuild his life in his old Belfast neighborhood.


57
2018 In Film / Re: If Beale Street Could Talk
« Last post by BigSock on January 13, 2019, 03:57:12 AM »
Disappointing. A film that should be expressing emotions yet the aesthetic is mannered and repressed. Stylistic techniques that have been performed better in other films by other filmmakers
58
2018 In Film / Re: The Other Side of the Wind
« Last post by csage97 on January 12, 2019, 03:03:31 PM »
I watched "They'll Love Me When I'm Dead" first and found it to greatly enhance the experience of "The Other Side Of The Wind". There's a lot of interesting backstory and behind the scenes info in the doc that will help you to appreciate the unique atmosphere and Orson Welles' unconventional approach to making this film. However, if you prefer going into a movie with fresh eyes you might want to skip it since it does overfamiliarize you with a lot of the shots and plot points.

I really loved it, too. It's one of those movies where even when it seems like things are going over your head, you don't feel lost as long as you're along for the ride. It doesn't expect you to fully comprehend everything that's going on as much as experience it, I wonder if anyone else found similarities to 'Inherent Vice' in this way? One of the most masterfully edited pieces of work I've seen, you can never predict which shot it will cut to to but it always feels like the perfect choice.

Thanks for the info. I'm tempted to do the opposite: Watch The Other Side first, and then They'll Love Me second. I'm kind of privy to the idea of going into the feature film blind, and then getting some perspective with the doc afterwards. And then, if I enjoyed the feature, I'll go back with new perspective for a re-watch. This way, I can also give my thoughts about my different experience. Hopefully I won't be missing too much on the very first watch this way, though.

IV is one of my favourite films (and possibly my favourite book). I'm interested to see if there are similarities indeed. And yeah ... I love a beautifully edited film. Can't wait to watch these tonight.
59
2018 In Film / Re: The Other Side of the Wind
« Last post by Reelist on January 12, 2019, 01:48:52 PM »
I watched "They'll Love Me When I'm Dead" first and found it to greatly enhance the experience of "The Other Side Of The Wind". There's a lot of interesting backstory and behind the scenes info in the doc that will help you to appreciate the unique atmosphere and Orson Welles' unconventional approach to making this film. However, if you prefer going into a movie with fresh eyes you might want to skip it since it does overfamiliarize you with a lot of the shots and plot points.

I really loved it, too. It's one of those movies where even when it seems like things are going over your head, you don't feel lost as long as you're along for the ride. It doesn't expect you to fully comprehend everything that's going on as much as experience it, I wonder if anyone else found similarities to 'Inherent Vice' in this way? One of the most masterfully edited pieces of work I've seen, you can never predict which shot it will cut to to but it always feels like the perfect choice.
60
2018 In Film / Re: The Other Side of the Wind
« Last post by csage97 on January 12, 2019, 11:36:31 AM »
As someone who isn't too familiar with the history of this film, do you think it'd be wise to watch They'll Love Me When I'm Dead first, or after the feature?