"Twin Peaks" and "Blue Velvet" director, artist, meditation guru and all round weird egg David Lynch has been struggling to find distribution for his latest film, "Inland Empire", starring Laura Dern, Jeremy Irons, Grace Zabriskie, Justin Theroux and Harry Dean Stanton. The film is another play on identity and the fluidity of reality, fiction and film.
The official teaser trailer has not yet been released on the official website, but it can be viewed below in Adobe/Macromedia Flash video fomat through YouTube.
Now following on the artistic triumph that was "Mulholland Drive", there's been quite a bit of negative buzz surrounding this project. One controversial decision was to drop celluloid and go exclusively with digital equipment on video, sound and post production.
Jeremy Irons in "Inland Empire" (Click for larger image)
There are of course advantages to this, budgetwise and in ease of editing. But even with modern digital cameras, the picture quality really suffers noticeably (though sloppy lighting and post production must carry some of the blame), yielding that flat shot on Betamax effect you often see on older television shows. A filmmaker such as Lynch, whose works are, more than most, self-consciously pieces of visual art, would potentially lose a lot in this transition.
Another problem seems to be that "Inland Empire" was shot largely without a script, with actors having to improv in front of the camera. Now, we've all seen examples of how badly improv can turn out. Even when going for the baffling, the people in front of, and behind, the camera can't be baffled, dazed and confused. And in terms of artistic coherence, it looks like a definite step backwards.
"Mulholland Drive" was such an artistic success, because, unlike some earlier David Lynch works, it actually made sense. Sure, it was surrealist and had boxes with alternate realities and people turning into other people. But the material, much of which was originally shot as for a pilot for a scuppered television show, was obviously thought through, and explicable as a coherent storyline. Your interpretation of the film could vary, but there was undoubtedly a storyline there to interpret.
"Inland Empire" Official Teaser Trailer
A french language short feature on David Lynch's "Inland Empire".