Sunday, July 19, 2009

Are the Hills Going to March Off?

One of my colleagues at the library has been critiquing film for over a year now, though I became aware of it only last week. Check out Are the Hills Going to March Off?, an arthouse blog authored by Carson Lund.

Carson will be launching a David Lynch Blogathon on Tuesday, and I'm looking forward to the ambitious series. To call Lynch "the most singular, important filmmaker and artist working in America currently" is a tall accolade, though I'd have to agree that he belongs somewhere in the top five for artistic integrity. Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive are towering masterpieces that rank in my 40 favorite films of all time. I dare say, however, that a couple of the director's lemons would enjoy a home on a list of my most despised films (if I took the trouble to write one up), notably Dune and Wild at Heart. Lynch tends to nail a home run or miss completely -- as does any filmmaker whose reach exceeds his grasp.


Anonymous Jonathan said...

I think you (and perhaps Lund) should reconsider the value of Blue Velvet, which IMNSHO is a steaming pile of excrement - nothing more than porn and depravity dressed up as surreal art. You can't say it much better than Roger Ebert:

"[The] scenes of stark sexual despair are the tipoff to what's wrong with the movie. They're so strong that they deserve to be in a movie that is sincere, honest and true. But Blue Velvet surrounds them with a story that's marred by sophomoric satire and cheap shots. The director is either denying the strength of his material or trying to defuse it by pretending it's all part of a campy in-joke... What's worse? Slapping somebody around, or standing back and finding the whole thing funny?"

Lynch did reportedly laugh himself into hysteria while shooting those nasty rape and bondage scenes, so I have to wonder about the so-called "artistic integrity" which drives him. He strikes me as a self-indulgent sicko aiming for shock value. If Blue Velvet is his best accomplishment, what does that say about the rest of his "art"?

Blogger Loren Rosson III said...

Ebert has had an ongoing crusade against Lynch, and I remain unclear as to what bothers him so much about this tone of material which he has no problems with when handled by other filmmakers in similar contexts. That Lynch may have gotten a perverse thrill out of filming certain scenes is meaningless, of course. It has no bearing on the integrity of the film.

Blogger Carson said...

Well, to be sure, I actually do not find Blue Velvet to be his supreme achievement. I've had my reservations about it in the past, but have grown to like it almost as much as my favorites of his.

At the same time, Loren makes point; it's best not to get fooled by tall tales about a particular director's supposed "making of" antics. Knowing Lynch from watching so many interviews with him has assured me this: he would not laugh like a hyena watching Kyle Maclachlan and Isabella Rossellini grapple physically and emotionally with each other. If anything, he'd just act indifferently towards it, bent on something else about the scene, like the particular aura of the dilapidated motel it is staged in.


Post a Comment

<< Home