Saturday, September 16, 2017

plato's cave forty eight (being a film journal) it is happening again

Mark Frost and David Lynch - Twin Peaks: The Return - 2017
Seascapes, Avant-Garde Scrub editing and Transcendental Electricity in Part Three

Purple burst of liquid light transcends to Sugimoto / Vija Celmins / Michael Snow like
Seascapes with a bass heavy oceanic drone not unlike Thomas Köner.  Nearness & Infinity.

Hiroshi Sugimoto Lake Superior, Cascade River - 1995

Vija Celmins Untitled Ocean - 1970

Michael Snow Wavelength - 1967

Scrub editing by Duwayne Dunham and David Lynch. I have never seen editing quite like this. The edits move freely through the shots like a scrubbing tool or a disc jockey scratching a vinyl record, back and forth, sometimes fluid, sometimes not. Visual ellipsis, like parts of the film got destroyed and edits needed to be made (P. Adam Sitney on the films of Joseph Cornell). In addition; foreign shots are added in, interrupting and causing havoc, in these already scrubbed moments. Scrubs go between being smooth and hypnotic to jarring and nearing out of control. This editing effect is used to an astounding effect in Part Eight, especially around the gas station/convenience store, but basically introduced in this section with Cooper and Naido. One of the outstanding achievements in this new series is the disorienting editing techniques used. People disappearing in flickers also appears numerous times. The history of avant-garde film has unconventional editing techniques more commonplace; works by Kurt Kren, Saul Levine or Peter Kubelka, but here the subtleties and complexities of this scrub technique (for lack of a better word) is quite novel. In addition, seeing these techniques in television is really quite crazy even with all the unconventional tv of the day.
If one looks close at these techniques an attempts a description; we start a slow zoom into a character (Naido), with edits here and there to remove frames, interrupted with reversing back to a previous part of the zoom, again interrupted with edits. Camera movements and hard cuts between different camera set ups further extend this technique. The overall feeling of a solid decision is present, no randomness… this decision adds such gravity to the editing. Lynchian drones and Badalamenti melodies are an  undercurrent to this fuckery and slowly Electricity makes itself present (last image) which has such a profound presence in this 18 hour work.

As we exit to the cosmic bell, the sound design is beyond sophistication, with distorted banging and drones followed by sonic electricity, then to near silence as Naido falls into space (second image).

Vija Celmins Night Sky #2 - 1991

Vija Celmins  Night Sky #18 - 1998

Jules Janssen Photograph de la surface solaire * - 1884

Ernest Mouchez La Photographie astronomique a l'observatoire de Paris - 1887

The scenes of Cooper and Naido in space resonate quite clearly for me as I am a follower of artist's and scientists depicting space, like Vija Celmins and early cosmos photography (see Dans le champ des étoiles. Les photographes et le ciel, 1850-2000).

James Turrell Meeting at MoMA PS1, photo by Chi Yun

Post cosmos, we enter a James Turrell like interior, which leads us back to Electricity (third image) and a lovely ring-like tone to a deep drone.

Images of Electricity
Face and body morph as Cooper moves through the outlet, rendered even more otherworldly with scrub editing.  Electricity further manifests itself with Mr. C, and then he barfs black corn Garmonbozia.

Dougie Jones electrical disintegration in the Red Room reminds of Hans Holbein anamorphic painting The Ambassadors from 1533. The strange and often times childlike special effects throughout the 18 part series are so very beautiful and novel. They are mostly very painterly, like Dougie Jones appearing as black smoke in the Rancho Rosa empty house fuck pad; Jade gives two rides (third image).

Thursday, September 14, 2017

plato's cave forty seven (being a film journal) it is happening again

Mark Frost and David Lynch - Twin Peaks: The Return - 2017
Some radical visual disorientations from Part Two, starting with a passing train

The woods at night, lit by flashlight. Flares & circles of confusion, Angelo Badalamenti melody creeps out of the darkness, Hawk moves through the woods with flashlight and illuminates his path as he talks with Margaret Lanterman (née Coulson).  Circles of confusion everywhere, Hawk approaches Glastonbury Grove and backwards drones via Lynch sound design unbalance the viewer as the red curtains are superimposed over the trees. Fade to white. Curtains of Red Room appear.

Very disorienting effect as Mike is present in the Red Room, and then disappears. The camera is moved slightly between shots to heighten the strangeness of this disappearance. Images superimposed here to illuminate (3rd image: note corner of chair, left side).

Numerous very fucked up backwards blinks from Laura Palmer.

Cooper after exiting the glass box, realm of The Experiment.

Horrors of nature reflected in mirrors as Sarah Palmer inebriates herself.

On a side note, the only negative deal with the series (for this viewer) is much of the millennial pitchfork music. Here we are in Part Two with band number one, The Chromatics. It indeed has elements that fit in with Lynch's work : they are visually playing guitars but one hears only synths. They heavily borrow from Sonic Youth's Wish Fulfillment, a song I had not listened to since my sonic youth ("at night, I'm driving in your car, pretending that we'll leave this town").  The borrow seems more than an hommage. Other songs borrow but in a more interesting way, like The Nine Inch Nails apocalyptic guitar (the best part of the song) which sounds quite like Lustmord's Rising and other albums from him (compare NIN at 58 seconds with Lustmord at 1 minute 29 seconds and the majority of the album). The repetition of non poetic lyrics seems to be quite the thing with millennial music; like Ed Sheeran's I'm in love with your body nonsense.... we hear it often with bands in this series like Lissie and her I'm fine fine.... wouldn't it have been more interesting to see a techno set by Andy Stott or some MF Autechre than the one in Part Nine?

Hurley, Freddie Sykes, Shelly and Red in The Roadhouse make up for The Chromatics. James Marshall's child-like obsession with Renee (Jessica Szohr) as he moves through the bar is truly hypnotic, especially in contrast to Red's ultra cool flirting with Shelly. Re-watching the series after finishing Part Eighteen, Freddy's presence here in The Roadhouse is truly wondrous for a reason that is hard to put into words.

The best songs from the series for me were Edward Louis Severson's Out of Sand,  James Hurley's Just You (written by David Lynch, Angelo Badalamenti and James Marshall), Angelo Badalamenti’s Heartbreaking, Rebekah Del Rio, Moby And Nick Launay's No Stars (David Lynch Co-Written), Trouble's (Dean Hurley, Riley Lynch, and Alex Zhang Hungtai) Snake Eyes, Harry Dean Stanton's Red River Valley, and Julee Cruise' The World Spins. Seeing Alessandro Cortini in Part Eight was very a nice surprise as well.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

plato's cave forty six (being a film journal) it is happening again

Mark Frost and David Lynch - Twin Peaks: The Return - 2017
Drones and sound design in Part One

Pulsing flashlight (“my flashlights broke”) illuminates a dark car trunk, to heavy drone with electrical flickering. Image goes from the pulsing trunk (a piece of flesh is found, not dissimilar to Blue Velvet), Cut to The Fireman, then to the phonograph record with end credits.

plato's cave forty five (being a film journal) it is happening again

Mark Frost and David Lynch - Twin Peaks: The Return - 2017
Painting connections in Part One, The F. Bacon reference (Body and Head combination on bed) is the most obvious. The log lady in her dark room with red lamb brought some others to mind.

John Singer Sargent - A Dinner Table at Night - 1884

Thomas Wilmer Dewing - The Spinet - ca. 1902

plato's cave forty four (being a film journal) it is happening again

Mark Frost and David Lynch - Twin Peaks: The Return - 2017
Heavy actorshippe, the appearance of Jane Adams in Part One

In Happiness with Jared Harris

In Wonder Boys

Selected filmography

- Light Sleeper - 1992, Paul Schrader dir.
- Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle - 1994, Alan Rudolph  dir.
- Kansas City - 1996, Robert Altman dir.
- Happiness - 1998,  Todd Solondz dir.
- Wonder Boys - 2000, Curtis Hanson dir.
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - 2004, Michel Gondry dir,
- Little Children - 2006, Todd Field dir.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

plato's cave forty three (being a film journal) it is happening again

Mark Frost and David Lynch - Twin Peaks: The Return - 2017
Film and television references in Part One

Continuing The Art of Memory's survey of Twin Peaks: The Return, this entry is on possible film/television references in the series. The point of these posts in general has been to look at the show specifically with structural elements (sound design, cinematography, editing) in mind, and less on plot analysis which is covered by many websites and forums. Certain intentions by the makers dealing with the history of cinema and televions are relevant to this site and will be covered to a degree. These intentions may not exist for Lynch/Frost but they can for the spectator.

There appears to be an abundance of references to specific films or television shows, or genres of film/television in Twin Peaks: The Return. An immediate example that could describe this well is the character of Billy, found behind bars in the Twin Peaks sheriff's department in the later parts of the series. His seemingly unnecessary presence (in addition to being quite comical) is more like some nonsensical reference to the zombie genre, like a character from The Walking Dead walked on set by accident and was used because it worked well. It is quite interesting I think imagining Lynch and Frost saying "let's add in a zombie". Maybe (most likely) it did not happen this way......  It brings to mind the original 2 Twin Peaks seasons which had heavy references to the Soap Opera genre. This reference is now thankfully eschewed for more interesting business.

Oh, yes, hello? Yeah, you don't know me.
This is this is Marjorie Green.
But my neighbor, there's something wrong.
Yeah, um, I haven't seen her in three days.
Oh, and then there's that terrible smell.
And Armstrong smelled it in the Then I smelled it No.
No, Armstrong's my dog.
No Oh, my address? Oh, I-I-I don't know.
Um, oh, my goodness.
Um, yes, oh, I know this.
You know, I know this.
(atmospheric drone)

Intentional or unintentional tip of the hat to the Coen Brothers film Fargo (meets The Shining)? Marjorie Green with her Buckhorn South Dakota accent can't remember her address. Also the later Barney & Ruth Davenport talk between Marjorie Green and the two police is beyond comedy and comprehension.

"Where's the smell coming from, Mrs. Green?"
Endless references to the cop genre from Dragnet to Southland. This is present in many of Lynch's other films; Mulholland Dr., Lost Highway, and Blue Velvet. Comical beat policing and procedural work by detectives. This is later in the series at an extreme with the Detectives Fusco and the Las Vegas FBI.

More of these references will be added as I go through the series, being my third viewing. My knowledge of tv is somewhat limited, so I will probably miss some.