Opening night of Indiefest, and the movie was David Lynch's "Inland Empire"! Okay, I know this was a huge get for Indiefest, but first I gotta call them out for showing a movie that's opening all over the bay area the very next day. I go to film fests to see movies I can't see anywhere else, not to see movies 1 day early. Still, I can forgive it for opening night.
As far as the film itself...well, it's David Lynch. Lately I get the feeling that his M.O. Is "I'm David fuckin' Lynch and I'll do whatever I want and people will call me a genius!" Thing is, with "Lost Highway" and "Mullholland Drive" I did come around to seeing his genius. With "Inland Empire" I'm still in the WTF phase, and it might be much tougher to overcome than his previous movies. So here's some things I noted:
First, he's abandoned film for digital video, and from what I've heard that's permanent. So it's less classically pretty than say, "Mullholland Drive" (which even if you didn't understand it you can appreciate it's beauty). Second, he doesn't just slip over to DV, he embraces and showcases it's limitations in all it's blurry, pixelated, blown-out glory, even if much of these limitations have been overcome by others (see the work of Robert Rodriguez). The use of DV actually makes it feel lik he's directing in a foreign language that he's not yet fluent in. It makes me curious to see his next DV effort to see how it compares.
Now, as for the plot, it's a showcase for Laura Dern's frightened/confused face. She plays an actress cast in a second attempt to make a movie, the first attempt of which ended in murder (although nobody's told that at the start). This could be her huge break and everything is going great until she starts confusing the script with real life. Which is a problem since it deals with infidelity and her co-star is a notorious lothario and her husband is notoriously jealous. Meanwhile it turns out she might actually be a Polish whore dreaming all of this and there's a sitcom starring anthropomorphic rabbits--i.e., it's a David Lynch film. The problem (or bonus) is it's a completely unfiltered David Lynch film.
Another thought--while I haven't worked out the literal truth (which is increasingly unimportant in a David Lynch film), it quite possible forms a thematic triangle with "Lost Highway" (fear of male sexuality) and "Mullholland Drive" (mocking Hollywood cliches)--it simultaneously explores/destroys/mocks Hollywood cliches while exploring female sexual roles (and the fear/mockery thereof).
Oh yeah, and then there's the music/dance numbers. Really, it could be re-edited into three movies--the actress movie, the whore movie, and the musical.
Anyway, I can't wait to get the DVD and inflict it on my friends. Even if multiple viewings don't improve my understanding of it, at least I'll likely have fewer friends.
That's unfair, there are actually several absolutely brilliant scenes that'll no doubt bring me back to this movie several times--the lamp, the clown face, etc.
Then it was off to the after party at a club called the Porn Palace. Actually a pretty awesome club/dungeon which actually had porn playing on a screen. For the record, I only watched because I try to see everything at Indiefest. But ultimately I was more interested in drinking beer and chatting with filmmakers.
And that's that. Now day 1 of 13 is in the books.