Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Inland Empire

David Lynch's new film, Inland Empire

What can one say about this movie?

I saw it a few weeks ago at the a AFI theater in Silver Spring, Maryland and I felt very inspired and creative when I walked out of the dark theater into the snowy and quiet afternoon. It takes a while for all David Lynch's movies to set in, but this one more so.

It is an incredibly long movie- about 3 hours I believe. David Lynch movies are designed to make you squirm in your seat, but since this one was so long it made you squirm even more. The only negative thing I can say about this movie is that it was so long that it made me conscious of how long it was and towards the end I found myself thinking, "When is this going to be over? I am getting a bit tired of sitting in this chair."

First of all, I have heard rumor that the way he filmed this was different from how he goes about producing his other movies. What he did supposedly, was just got a bunch of actors together and started filming whatever came up with no concrete or particular plan in mind. They did this for THREE YEARS, just filmed what they felt like filming. At the end of that three years, David Lynch somehow put scenes together and made a story out of it. I find that absolutely brilliant. I am a painter, and one thing that I aways strive for is to show the process of painting in the paintings themselves. David Lynch has found a brilliant way of doing that with this movie, by implementing the movie making process backwards. It definitely shows. To me, this is creative genius.

Don't assume that this would make the movie more confusing than his other films. That would be a natural assumption, since most of his movies are very confusing plot wise. And since he created this film in a non linear fashion, it would seem obvious that this would be even more confusing. Quite the contrary, I found this film to be less confusing than his others.

This film was David Lynch in his prime. He is an old man now, and his has finally met his mark. Laura Dern was fascinating. I have a new found respect for her. Whenever I thought of Laura Dern before, I always thought of blockbusters like Jurassic Park. Now though, I admire her brevity and sophisticated charm.

What this movie made me think about most of all, was the classic idea of "The world is a stage." All of his movies get to that on some level or another, but I really felt it on this one. When I took the bus home after seeing it, I stared out the window at the snow and decided that there are two ways to see one's personal world and environment. My life at that moment could be mysterious and horrific (there could be strange things going on out there in the snow- some strange human like creature hiding behind a lamp post- staring at me as I rode by), or it could be calm, peaceful and beautiful. I like both options, to be honest with you. Either one makes life more interesting and reflective. What if one were to live their life this way- by seeing from one of these two perspectives constantly- taking turns between the two? What kind of interesting roads would that take you down?

Another important idea to note is, all of the characters in Inland Empire, at least all of the female characters (there were many) are representations of aspects of the female psyche that resides in each and every female I know, including me. A woman's inner life is complex and fascinating. It would be a shame to reduce women's innards to simplistic and logical emotions like we do in our day to day lives (its much easier that way), because they are much more than that. Always.

Last but not least, symbology. Many would believe that Lynch's bizarre and absurd films are filled with symbolism and people will rack their brains for months trying to figure out what he was trying to get across. However, I do not think Lynch deals in symbolism at all. I think all of these meanderings and train of thoughts he takes us though, are simply that; meanderings and trains of thoughts. They represent themselves, and nothing else. In order to get though Inland Empire, it is important to go with the flow of scenes and plot turns. You just have to let Lynch take you for a ride, and trust that where he is taking you is going to be strange and entertaining- and will leave you with a little bit of a different perspective on life.

The next movie that should be arriving in my mailbox (Netflix) is a Lynch movie I have never seen, called Wild At Heart starring Laura Dern (yay!) and Nicholas Cage. I will let you know how it turns out.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Goals, Dreams and Resolutions 2007

These are some questions for the New Year posed by Devon from
Ink in my coffee

Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions 2007

1. Take a few minutes to reflect on the previous year. What are you happy with?
I am happy with the sheer amount of change that has taken place in the last year. A year ago today, if I were to watch myself from a time travelers box, I would have told myself that moving to DC is the best thing to do. I wasn't terribly excited about moving to Washington but I now realize it was a big blessing. I have realized that having physical distance from your past makes you realize you don't have to chain yourself to ideas of how other people think of you, or how you think you should be based on how you have been. I feel like I have a lot more personal freedom now. I dream more now, I feel more motivated, and stronger.
Daniel and I are getting along better than ever. I remember being a little girl staring out the window at the stars when I was in bed, and having this very intense feeling that there was a person out there who I was supposed to meet and wondering what he was doing at that very moment. I missed this person I had never met very much- as if we had been separated. Of course, as I grew older I let go of the childish fantasy. When I met Daniel though, I believed in it again. I knew he was the person I missed as a little girl. I didn't realize this fully until recently- when I remembered that feeling I had looking out the window. He was the person I was thinking of when I looked at the stars. I don't care if this sounds cheesy, it's true.

2. What are you unhappy with?
I really wish I had more time to work on my real talents. I wish I had enough confidence in them to believe that they are real talents. I wish I was brave enough to take a plunge and do what it will take to be happy in the long term. I want to be creatively free. Sometimes I think whats holding me back is that I am waiting for someone or something to shock me into action. But of course, there really is no such thing and I need to make it happen myself.

3. What unexpected joys did you discover during the year?

I have rediscovered my enjoyment of creative writing. I have actually started a novel, and I am having a lot of fun with it. I don't know if it is any good, but that's not the point I guess.
Also, I never thought that I would actually like DC. But strangely enough, it has really grown on me. When my plane was descending onto Reagan airport after spending Christmas with my family, I saw the infamous national monuments from above. I had a very strong feeling of coming home, I never thought in a million years I would feel that way about DC. This ugly, beautiful city. I am happy being here for now. I have learned so much about our country. Like a David Lynch movie, every character and situation in it is a reflection of a part of what's inside everyone. A specatacle of whats in every American town, city, and family. That's not something you realize as a tourist or visitor. DC is a shy girl at first, she takes a long time to open up to new people but once she does she is mind boggling.

4. What were some of the unexpected obstacles that came up, and how did you deal with them? Looking back, would you have done anything differently?
I didn't think it would be so draining, so energy consuming to figure out what my career goals are. I wish I was one of those people that knew from the day they could talk what they wanted to be when they grew up. I have too many interests to be able to be so specific. I feel that because of my indecision, I ended up in a job that doesn't exactly knock my socks off. Some days, I wake up wondering, "what the hell am I doing?" But other days, I am happy I have the routine and security of a steady paycheck, the comfort of going to the same place and knowing exactly what I am supposed to do. I don't think I will be in this for the long haul, but for now its good (I think). I just wish I had more time and motivation to do other things to prepare myself for when I do want to do something else.

5. What expectations did you find you needed to let go of?
That I am supposed to have it all figured out. That I am supposed to be perfect, that my life is supposed to be perfect. That I am supposed to be good at everything I like doing.

6. Looking ahead, how do you want to structure next year to support your creative endeavors? I want to make artmaking and writing a permanent habit. I want to meet other artists, and be around other artists. I want to get over my social anxieties, and "get myself out there."

7. How does the rest of your life support your creative endeavors? I am lucky in the respect that my job is not stressful most of the time, which in theory should leave me plenty of energy to do other things. I am thankful that Daniel is so supportive of me and creates an open dialogue with me about my art and aspirations. Like an existentialist, he never lets me forget to constantly redefine myself every day.

8. How can you change/compromise on the non-supportive elements? I wish I could make an additional income somehow- you know, off the stock market, or a blog, or something- ANYTHING! so that I could have the financial freedom to pursue writing, painting and photography all the time.
Going back to school is always a possibility; sometimes I think that is what I really want to do, but other times I think it would be pointless to go to school again for art. (by the way- I am thinking of going back to school to get an MSW).
I can also work on striping the mystery away behind artmaking. I think that is a barrier that I have, and other artists have, that really holds me back. There is no mystery except for the one you create in your mind. Artmaking is artmaking. You either do it, or you dont. How many times did my teachers tell me this in school, and I am only now realizing this? (many)

9. What new aspect of the writing life do you want to try next year? Like I said, I have started a novel. I really want to finish it within a year's time and see how it goes. I would like to find an honest and unbiased editor

10. Where do you need to be more disciplined?
In my practice. Like Naomi Wolf's father said, "You cant revise a blank page." You have to write or paint something before it can be good or bad.

11. Where do you need to ease up on yourself? Being a "good" painter, writer. Being amazing at everything I do.

12. List your goals for the coming year. 1. Write a novel. 2. make artmaking a permanent habit. 3. Consider going back to school.

13. List three positive, active steps to take on each goal to get it going.
1.1 write a page every day.
1.2 do it the same time every day so it becomes a habit like brushing my teeth
1.3 stop wasting time watching television. Watch David Lynch movies instead for inspiration
2.1 paint everyday
2.2 do it the same time everyday so it becomes a habit like taking a shower
2.3 stop watching television

14. List three positive, active steps to help you stick to them.
"You may delay, but time will not" -Benjamin Franklin.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Harper's 2006 Review


Thousands of people died in the Iraqi civil war, which was
costing the United States $100,000 a minute. U.S. forces
began to negotiate with Sunni insurgents, and the
Pentagon, short of buglers who can play taps at military
funerals, ordered 700 automated digital bugles. Oil
companies announced record profits; President George
W. Bush said that America is "addicted to oil" and also
asked Congress to pass laws outlawing human/animal
hybrids. Scientists in Taiwan bred three glowing pigs.
Samuel Alito was confirmed to the Supreme Court, and a
study found that Antonin Scalia is the funniest of the
Supreme Court justices. Robert Grenier, director of the
CIA counter-terrorism center, was fired for opposing
"excessive" interrogation techniques like waterboarding,
and U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney shot and severely
injured a fellow hunter while aiming at quail. Osama bin
Laden released a tape in which he warned of new attacks on
the United States; he also called on his followers to
travel to Sudan and fight against the U.N. forces in
Darfur. Al Qaeda members were communicating via social
networking website, and the Taliban
established a "mini-state" in Peshawar. Iran announced
that it had successfully produced low-grade enriched
uranium; to celebrate, men in traditional dress danced
with uranium samples. U.S. senators insisted that
attacking Iran must remain an option. "I can drink beer
out of my leg," said Matthew Braddock, a 25-year-old
National Guardsman who lost his left foot and nine inches
of his left leg to a mine in northern Iraq. "How many
people can do that?"

Ariel Sharon was still alive, and war erupted between
Hezbollah and Israel. Authorities in the United Kingdom
announced the discovery of a terrorist plot to blow up as
many as ten passenger planes in the air. Riots over
blasphemous cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad broke
out in India, Indonesia, Kashmir, Palestine, Thailand, the
autonomous Somali region of Puntland, and Afghanistan.
Yanni was arrested for allegedly hitting his girlfriend,
and Keith Richards fell out of a coconut tree. Coretta
Scott King, Gordon Parks, Octavia Butler, Stanislaw Lem,
James Brown, Don Knotts, Syd Barrett, Betty Friedan,
Milton Friedman, John Kenneth Galbraith, Slobodan
Milosevic, Abu Mussab Al Zarqawi, Kenneth Lay, Gerald
Ford, and "Grandpa" Al Lewis died. The Massachusetts
legislature voted to make health insurance mandatory for
all state residents by July 2007, and a whistleblower
accused AT&T of providing the National Security Agency
with full access to customer phone calls and Internet
usage records. Polls found that while only 36 percent of
Americans worry a great deal about global warming, 90
percent were prepared to fight its effects by caulking.
Twenty percent of U.S. teenagers admitted to huffing
household products in order to get high. SAT scores in
the United States showed the largest decline in 31 years,
and after 15,000 tries a California scientist was able to
teach starlings some grammar. At least 2.5 million
American children were taking antipsychotic drugs; the
same number of Kenyans were close to starvation. The
United Nations said that 1,200 people were dying in Congo
each day, and Zimbabwe faced an acute tampon shortage. At
a zoo in the Netherlands three bears ate a monkey.

Even though Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death two days
before the U.S. midterm elections, the Republican Party
lost its majority in the House of Representatives and the
Senate. Hussein was later hanged. The Pentagon
classified homosexuality as a mental defect akin to
retardation, and Russian President Vladimir Putin kissed a
young boy on the stomach. Kansas raised its minimum
marriage age to 15. NASA said that there might be water
on Saturn's moon Enceladus, as well as on Mars, and
researchers discovered that the buried lakes of Antarctica
are connected to one another by secret rivers. Dick
Cheney was retaining fluids. Starbucks announced plans to
add 28,000 new locations to its extant 12,000, and Chinese
Wal-Mart workers unionized. Americans had nearly $800
billion in credit-card debt. Secretary of Defense Donald
Rumsfeld resigned. Researchers in Chicago verified that a
quantum computer does not have to perform any calculations
in order to arrive at results. In New York City a corpse
flower bloomed, and construction began at Ground Zero.
The human population reached 6.5 billion, and scientists
found that new infectious diseases were emerging at a
faster rate than they had in the past. "These are good
times," said a scientist, "for pathogens."

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