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For a Baroque Aesthetic, A study of the Films of David Lynch

par Michael Cutaya
National College of Arts and Design, Dublin - Master of Arts in the History of Arts and Design 2004

Disponible en mode multipage


A Study of the Films of David Lynch

Michaële CUTAYA

Thesis submitted for the

Master of Arts in the History of Art and Design

The Faculty of History of Art and Design and Complementary Studies

The National College of Art and Design

A Recognised College of the National University of Ireland

The Research has been supervised by:

Dr Brenda Moore McCann

Valerie Connor

September 2004


I declare that this thesis has not been submitted as an exercise for a degree at any other college or university.

I declare that it is entirely my own work.

I agree that the library may lend or copy the thesis upon request from the date of deposit of the thesis.

September 2004


List of Illustrations 4

Acknowledgments 5

Introduction 6

Chapter I: Narrative Continuities 25

Chapter II: The Shot of Ambiguity 47

Chapter III: The Montage of Confusion 74

Chapter IV: The Texture of Film 100

Chapter V: The Dark Depths 123

Conclusion 142

Appendix: The Eye-of-the-Duck 148

Selected Filmography of David Lynch 149

Filmography 153

Bibliography 154


Fig. 1 The Spatial Relationships of the Characters, series of stills from Blue Velvet.

Fig. 2 Tensions in the House, series of stills from Lost Highway.

Fig. 3 The Confrontation of Local and Federal Authority, series of stills from

the pilot episode of Twin Peaks.

Fig. 4 The Aerial Sense of Presence, series of stills from The Straight Story.

Fig. 5 Threat Over Los Angeles, series of stills from Mulholland Drive.

Fig. 6 Following Betty and Rita Inside, series of stills from Mulholland Drive.

Fig. 7 From Fred To Pete, series of stills from Lost Highway.

Fig. 8 «Hey Pretty Girl Time to Wake up», series of stills from Mulholland Drive.

Fig. 9 The Projective Powers of the Telephone, series of stills from Lost Highway.

Fig. 10 The Difficult Coming to the Light, series of stills from Lost Highway.

Fig. 11 Going In and Out of the Darkness, series of stills from Lost Highway.

Fig. 12 From the Darkness Emerges the Marvellous, series of stills from Eraserhead and Blue Velvet.


I am thankful to Brenda Moore McCann and Valerie Connor for their patient and supportive supervising. I also would like to thank for their help: Fergus Daly, Florence Brument, Gavin Murphy and the staff of the National College of Art and Design. And very special thanks to Philippe, Léa and Willem.


History of the Baroque

From its long and convoluted development, the baroque has taken many forms; it is an adjective, a style in the history of art and an aesthetical concept. It derives from the Portuguese word barocco, which was used by the goldsmiths of the 16th century to describe irregular pearls. During the 17th century it was used to mean «strange» or «shocking» and toward the end of the 18th century, the art theoreticians supporting classicism, qualified as baroque everything that was regarded as capricious and extravagant in the art of the Italian seicento and the further development of its forms.1(*)

The term retained its negative connotations and remained vaguely associated with the art of the 17th century and everything that was not classic until the end of the 19th century. By this time the germane historiography reinvestigated the art of the period and with Jacob Burckhardt (1818-1897) the baroque becomes the dominant style of the 17th century art. For Burckhardt, `The baroque speaks the same language as the Renaissance, but like a wild dialect.'2(*) While he integrated the baroque in an historical perspective, he still considered it an art of decadence. It is one of his disciples, Heinrich Wölfflin (1864-1945), who will affirm the baroque as a specific style in Renaissance and Baroque in 1888.

Wölfflin elaborated on the main characteristics of the baroque from the formal study of the art that was established in Rome at the beginning of the 17th century before spreading over Europe. He tried to articulate a definition to unify an art which had taken many different forms, whether it was in Italy, Spain, Germany or the Netherlands. Wölfflin developed a series of general principles in Principles of Art History (1915) around the contrasting relationship between Renaissance and baroque art.

Wölfflin also opened the way to future baroque studies in considering the baroque as a phase in the development of styles in art history. For him, styles evolve from a primitive period, during which new means of representation are experimented with, to a classic period where these means are brought to a harmonious expression before entering a baroque period where the matured artistic forms are set in movement. Wölfflin invented the «trans-historical baroque».3(*)

This concept will be taken further by Eugenio D'Ors (1882-1954), who introduces the notion of a transcendental baroque in his Lo Barroco in 1935. He elevates the baroque as a metaphysical principle which he opposed to classicism; the baroque is a life principle in perpetual conflict with the barren reign of classic reason. If his work is generally held to be somewhat excessive and a little fantasist, it nevertheless brought the baroque into the realm of concepts.4(*)

Each of these dimensions of the baroque - adjective, style and concept - are layered with different meanings, which has led to a wide and varied use to the term baroque. This study will start from the baroque as the artistic form of the 17th century as defined by Wölfflin and then open up onto the aesthetical concept grown out of these forms.

Wölfflin and the Baroque

The baroque developed in Rome at the beginning of the 17th century and corresponds to the time of the Counter-Reformation in the Catholic Church. The Council of Trent (1545-1563) had reaffirmed, in opposition to the reformist position, the importance of the visual arts for the communication of the Gospel to the people. Thus the Catholic Church supported a great artistic activity through its patronage. This explains the predominance of religious subject matter, and the importance of Rome.

The Baroque used the same system of representation as the Renaissance, but where its critics only saw distortions and decadence of the forms, Wölfflin developed the notion that the baroque had its own modus operandi:

The central idea of the Italian Renaissance is that of perfect proportion [...]. Every form developed to self-existent being, the whole freely co-coordinated: nothing but independently living parts. [...] The baroque uses the same system of forms, but in place of the perfect, the completed, gives the restless, the becoming, in place of the limited, the conceivable, gives the limitless, the colossal. The ideal of beautiful proportion vanishes; interest concentrates not on being, but on happening.5(*)

Wölfflin develops his arguments further in the comparative description of a Renaissance and a baroque façade:

When Alberti speaks of a beautiful façade as musica, in which not a note can be changed, he means nothing else than the unalterable, or the organic determination of form. These terms are quite alien to the baroque, and it is inevitable that they should be; the aim of this is not to represent a perfected state, but to suggest an incomplete process and a movement toward its completion. This is why the formal relationship becomes looser, for the baroque is bold enough to turn harmony into a dissonance by using imperfect proportions. The significant thing is not the attempt to complicate our perception of harmonious relationships but the intention to create an intentional dissonance.6(*)

Thus the baroque is not in opposition to the classical form developed by the Renaissance: it comes from and grows out of it. Its paintings use the same system of representation and the perspective, its architecture the same elements and order, but instead of seeking a harmony of forms it searches for the movement to animate them.

Rome was already layered by the accumulation of the architectural and cultural remnants of the civilisations that had gone past. Limited space did not stop the baroque artists to conceive the grandest projects fitted into the most confined spaces. This may partly explain the feeling of disproportion:

The baroque flaunts cramped niches, windows disproportionate to their allotted space, and paintings much too large for the surfaces they fill, they are transposed from a different key, tuned to a different scale of proportions.7(*)

In his Principles of Art History, Wölfflin contrasted the art of the baroque with the art of the Renaissance around five principles of analysis. The first one, the linear and the painterly, compares the clear linear style of the Renaissance to the intermingled masses of the baroque. The second, plane and recession, develops the difference between a composition in parallel planes to one where all planes are absorbed by a movement in depth. The third principle, the closed and open forms, sees the transition from a contained composition where every element is balanced by another to a mode of composition where the parts aspires to move out of the frame. In the fourth principle, multiplicity and unity concerns the relationship between the various elements of composition. The multiplicity of the Renaissance is rather a multiple unity, that is a unity where the various parts are free elements which can still function independently, whereas in the unity of the baroque, all parts are absorbed into the movement of the composition and only make sense in relation to the whole. The fifth and last principle concerns the light and the shadows, clearness and unclearness. The light of the Renaissance is an overall luminosity where the shadows are only there to shade the form. In the baroque it is the light that brings out the form out of the darkness.

In the relationship established by Wölfflin between Renaissance and baroque, the baroque needs the classic form with which to be contrasted; it appears in the hollow of the classic form.

Leibniz and Deleuze

In 1988, the philosopher Gilles Deleuze investigated the concept of the baroque in The Fold, Leibniz and the Baroque. He proposed the seventeenth century philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) as the philosopher the baroque was lacking. In 1980 Deleuze was describing Leibniz to his students:

Imagine Leibniz, there is something frightening there. He is the philosopher of order, even more, of order and policing, in every sense of the word "policing." In the first sense of the word especially, that is, regulated organization of the city. He only thinks in terms of order. But very oddly in this taste for order and to establish this order, he yields to the most insane concept creation that we have ever witnessed in philosophy. Dishevelled concepts, the most exuberant concepts, the most disordered, the most complex in order to justify what is. Each thing must have a reason.8(*)

This paradox is somehow reflected in the occurrence of the baroque as historical phenomenon. When Leibniz is the philosopher of order, the baroque is the art of the Counter-Reformation and as such is deeply embedded into the agenda of the Catholic Church to reassert itself in face of the growing reformist churches. As such it is the art of authority, but at the same time it has overgrown any attempt to contain it consequently the 17th century was a period of intense creativity.

Deleuze developed his approach to the baroque from the concept of the fold; he undertook to establish that the baroque fold is different from others folds in the history of art:

Should we wish to maintain the working relation of the Baroque and the fold, we shall therefore have to show that the fold remains limited in the other cases, and that in the Baroque it knows an unlimited freedom whose conditions can be determined.9(*)

From this premise he then posits the six traits of the baroque, which:

Taken in their rigor, have to account for the extreme specificity of the Baroque, and the possibility of stretching it outside of its historical limits, without any arbitrary extension: the contribution of the Baroque to art in general, and the contribution of Leibnizianism to philosophy.10(*)

The first of these traits is the fold, which the baroque develops as an infinite process. The fold is the expression of matter and produces form. The second trait concerns the relationship between the inside and the outside: `The infinite fold separates or moves between matter and soul, the façade and the closed room, the outside and the inside.'11(*) To the infinite receptivity of the façade responds the infinite spontaneity of the inner rooms of action. The third trait concerns the resolution of this tension across a divide in two levels: the high and the low. The façade-matter goes below and the soul-room above. The fold, moving between, differentiates into pleats of matter on the outside and folds in the soul inside: matter and manners. The fourth trait is the unfold, which is not the contrary of the fold, but the continuation of its act. The unfold is the manifestation of the action of the fold. The unfolding does not reveal a void but more folds: folds are always full. Textures constitute the fifth trait of the baroque: texture is constituted by the manner into which the matter is folded; it is the forces of resistance of the material. The sixth and last trait concerns the paradigm of the fold: the search for a model through the choice of material but also through its formal expression. The baroque fold can only appear `with infinity, in what is incommensurable and in excess, when the variable curve supersedes the circle.'12(*)

From these specific traits a number of terms emerge which are associated with the baroque taken in larger perspective: the notion of the fold is related to material and texture but also to manners and forces.

Baroque and Realism

The baroque can be approached in many ways and some may be in contradiction with each other. The art historian Christine Buci-Glucksmann distinguishes two tendencies in the baroque: a baroque of fullness and a baroque of emptiness:

The relation to history is complicated. Besides, isn't there but one baroque? I believe that in reality there is a baroque of fullness such as Leibniz or Deleuze's. There is nothing but fullness. It is the baroque of the fold and the crease, the unfolding, the interior and the exterior, etc. But in the historical baroque there is also something that fascinated me, it is the baroque of emptiness. Borromini isn't Bernini. The baroque of emptiness is the spiral, which climbs nowhere.13(*)

She develops her notion of a baroque of emptiness with a comparison to the art of rhetoric, an art of elaborated form around nothing: `It's beginning with nothing that there is rhetoric, pose, metaphor.'14(*)

There may be two tendencies within the baroque, but there may also be two different points of views from which to look upon the baroque. The different appreciations of the baroque seem to spring for a large part from the question of what is reality. The classical point of view considers the essence, the origin of things; classicism researches the truth through the perfect form. From this perspective the baroque representation, with all its artifices, excesses, decorations, trompe l'oeils and multiplied images, is necessarily superficial and false. The baroque is the art of illusions deluding the beholder away from the truth of things. Thus theorists of the 18th century, invested in classicism, found no redeeming feature in the baroque. More recently however, its very artificiality has seduced many for being more revealing of a world made of deceptive appearances. A manifesto for the neo-baroque aesthetic written by Erminia Passannanti gives a good example of this point of view:

Neo-baroque is the rediscovery, exaltation and re-evaluation of the kitsch, it is the attribution to its codes of a scheme of values, and it is indeed the re-activation of these values in the contemporaneity. It is believing in the power of the false, the artifact as being more meaningful of the true.15(*)

This also echoes the comparison with the art of rhetoric made by Christine Buci-Glucksmann. It has in common with classicism a reference to the `true', albeit by replacing it with emptiness. Thus, all images are false but as it is all there is, therefore, the baroque is «truthful».

There is, however, another line of thought, which not so much denies the existence of an origin than makes it one image among many just as valid. In his essay Nietzsche, Genealogy, History, Michel Foucault develops the notion of genealogy:

The search for descent is not the erecting of foundations: on the contrary, it disturbs what was previously considered immobile; it fragments what was thought unified; it shows the heterogeneity of what was imagined consistent with itself.16(*)

Thus considered, genealogy, far from seeking a mythological origin, exposes the diversity and multiplicity of descent.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) denounced the notion of Truth as a fraud, the research of truth being used in effect to deny reality: reality, in this sense, is the world we live in, a world of appearances, the only thing we have. Therefore appearances are the only truth we know of the world and not some abstract and otherworldly idea of Truth, which can only exist in denying life itself with all its illusions.

From this vantage point the multiple images of the baroque are no longer seen as so many illusions, but rather as a representation of a world made of images. The images do not hide the truth or adorn emptiness, they are the truth, the many layered, multiple faceted truth. This is the baroque of fullness, the baroque of the fold, the baroque of Leibniz and Deleuze.

Realism and Cinema

The capacity of films and the moving image to imitate reality sent spectators running during the first projection of the Lumiere brothers' film, L'arrivée d'un Train en Gare de la Ciotat, in 1895. Thus the question of reality and its representation is at the core of the history of cinema, as stated by Lapsley and Westlake in Film Theory an Introduction:

Although since then few spectators have mistaken the image for reality itself, film's extraordinary power to imitate reality has made realism a central feature of cinema aesthetics.17(*)

From its beginnings, the perception of cinema has been split into two tendencies: as a window on reality, with its mechanical system of reproduction as warrant of its objectivity; or as the ultimate creator of illusions with the possible manipulation of its mechanical eye allowing all the tricks with Georges Melies (1861-1938) as the first illusionist:

Lumiere's camera awakes us to the world. Melies stretches behind his characters the painted canvas of the collective unconscious.18(*)

The history of cinema is situated between those two poles of attraction, between realism and artifice. However the pretension of a large part of the cinematographic production to realism relies, as in literature or in plays, on its capacity to hide its conventions of representation. Thus associating cinema with the larger issue of realism during the 20th century:

Far from being the faithful depiction of reality it is assumed to be, realism, through the various forms it has taken throughout its history, shows itself to be neither window nor mirror but a set of conventions. There is, in other words, `no realism but there are realisms'.19(*)

The political discourse contained in the claim to realism of theatre had been exposed by such as Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956):

The importance of realism is a direct consequence of its epistemic status, as Brecht recognised when he called it a major political, philosophical and practical issue.20(*)

The realist text functions on the articulation of various point of views, thus pretending to objectivity, but subjecting them to a unifying view presented as the truth:

The so-called classic realist text, then, whether George Lucas or George Eliot, is defined by a structure in which the various discourses comprising the text form a hierarchy. Among these various discourses, each of which proposes a version of reality, one is privileged as the bearer of the truth.21(*)

Each object is firmly framed in its position by the dominant discourse, and no ambiguities are left to the reader-spectator:

The unified subject confronts the hypostatised object, each locked into a paralysing fixity, with no perspective for struggle or possibility of transformation.22(*)

Through its technological capacity for reproduction the cinema was even more apt to pretend to a transparent discourse; unlike literature or theatre, it was proposed to be only reproducing reality.

But by being directly engaged with the appearance of the world, the cinema was necessarily a privileged medium to represent its shifting appearances. It may well be that the most likely medium to express a baroque aesthetic is the cinema. Hence it is not very surprising that the relationship between baroque and cinema has been a recurring feature of film theory.

Baroque and Cinema

The French film critic André Bazin wrote in 1945 about a comparison between photography and film:

The film is no longer content to preserve the object, enshrouded as it were in an instant, as the bodies of insects are preserved intact, out of the distant past, in amber. The film delivers baroque art from its convulsive catalepsy. Now, for the first time, the image of things is likewise the image of their duration, change mummified as it were.23(*)

Bazin saw an ontological link between baroque and cinema, the latter bringing in the movement the former was striving for. The effects the baroque developed to create illusions, such as trompe l'oeil or other artifices, were not without similarities with those of cinema, as the art historian Rudolf Wittkower described:

There is, however, on a different level an important connection between the theatre and the art of the baroque age. In the theatre we live in a fictitious reality, and the stronger the illusion the more readily we are prepared to surrender to it. At this period the most powerful effects were used to eliminate the borderline between fiction and reality. The fire which Bernini arranged on the stage during the performance of one of his comedies and which provoked a stampede of the audience is a well-known example.24(*)

While the search for movement and illusion already established a link between baroque and cinema, it is in 1955 that the baroque made his entrance as a new form of cinema in the film critics' vocabulary. In his essay on the relationship between critique and baroque: `Du concept au fétiche: penser un nouvel âge du cinéma,'25(*) Antoine De Baecque explains how the term was imported from literary debates.

In France in the early 1950s, with the publication of such essays as La Literature de l'âge baroque en France26(*) by Jean Rousset, was raised the question of a baroque literature. The literary developments of the baroque led to a set of definitions detached from its art historical context.

The baroque became, from then on, a tool to examine a work with, a tool which is setting out its specificities as a style (hyperbolic, complex, accumulative, decorative), a state of mind (mix of genres, taste for contrasts, antithesis, paradoxes, for surprises and the singular, for the obscure and mysterious), and a dynamic (preeminence given to movement, ellipsis and helices).27(*)

Thus defined the baroque became an easily applicable term to most artistic forms. It entered the discourse on cinema during the controversy over Max Ophuls' film: Lola Montes (1955); which will become the first film to be qualified as a `masterpiece of the baroque art'.28(*) However, the term baroque was also used by those that vilipended the film, as synonymous of extravagant, pretentious or pompous, thus perpetuating the ambiguous nature of the term.

The critics who saw the film as the revelation of a new form of cinema developed the idea further and extended the term baroque to the films of Orson Welles, Federico Fellini, Robert Aldrich or George Cukor. They hailed the baroque as a new age of the cinema:

It is another age in cinema, which in the same movement, makes and reveals the baroque expression, that of the directors of the accomplished and complex form, multiple and virtuoso, symbolic and singular, an age which would start with the Wellesiens manifesto, would be realized by Ophuls and would drain a whole block of modern cinema: Bergman, Hitchcock, Aldrich, Fellini, Kurosawa, Astruc...An age which, by the ceaseless metamorphosis of forms, would succeed in the history of cinema to Hollywood classicism with its dry, simple, pure, ordained, efficient style.29(*)

Thus a new form of cinematic expression was prophesized; unfortunately the young cinema of the 1960s such as the New Wave was more interested with a direct confrontation with `reality' than by the sophisticated forms of the baroque. Thus leaving the baroque manifesto hanging.

The notion will return during the 1970s with the apparition of a darker and self-reflexive cinema. However it is the term mannerism that will be retained to describe this cinema more inclined toward citations and parody.30(*)

The term baroque has remained a regular feature in the film critics' vocabulary ever since, but often without an explicit context, as remarked Hervé Aubron in his essay on baroque and cinema, A Rebours:

The term baroque may be one of the most un-thought of the cinematographic critic. Burgeoning very frequently in film reviews, it is almost always used in its archaic acceptation: bizarre, unusual, exuberant...31(*)

He warns against the uses of a term, which, if often applied is at the risk of losing all specificity and, ultimately, all interest.32(*) But the relationship between baroque and cinema is persistent and may not have yet yielded all its potential. To the question as to what cinema looks for in the baroque, Aubron suggests that it may be a return to the world. To the cynics who said that all has been done, the baroque offers a world whose very fabric is all that has been done, the world is made of these multiple images: `Whence, obviously, the baroque's obsession for illusion, but assuredly not as a joking or cynical trap.'33(*)

Thus, the notion of the baroque that has been so far developed in film critic is mostly issue from its literary associations and has suffered from a tendency to expand indefinitely. To approach the relationship between baroque and cinema, it may be necessary, on the one hand, to go back to the definitions of the baroque as a style in the history of art, and on the other hand, to avoid too much generalization in remaining focused on a specific set of films.

Wölfflin had identified three general phases of development in art: the primitive, the classic and the baroque. As it happens the first two terms are applied by David Bordwell and his collaborators in their study of cinema, The Classical Hollywood Cinema, so that we may draw parallels between their respective evolutions.34(*) The authors identify a primitive phase in cinema going from its invention in 1895 to circa 1917. This was a period during which a system of representation was progressively established in Hollywood. This system aims to ensure a smooth narrative continuity:

The number of possible narratives is unlimited. Historically, however, the cinema has tended to be dominated by a single mode of narrative form. In the course of this book we shall refer to this dominant mode as the «classical Hollywood cinema» - «classical» because of its wide and long history, «Hollywood» because the mode assumed its definite shape in American studio films.35(*)

The authors believe that by 1917 the classical system was fully developed and continued to reign over cinematic representation up to circa 1940. If, then, other systems of representation were to appear, the classical system would remain the reference from which the others would demarcate themselves.

Following the course of art history, after the classicism of the Renaissance, there is a mannerist and then a baroque period. These two terms have appeared, sometimes rather confusedly in film theory to qualify films made since Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941).36(*) It is important however to differentiate the two styles, which while they have many common features are, at core, fundamentally different. They both emerge from the classical system of representation but mannerism is more of a sophisticated ending to the Renaissance than a new style, as Erwin Panofsky has described:

The style freezes, crystallizes, adorns itself of the smoothness and hardness of a glaze, while its movements, which tend to an excess of grace, are at the same time, constrained and stifled. The whole of the composition become a battlefield where contradictory forces confront each other, tangled up within an infinite tension.37(*)

The cinematic equivalent would be found in a sophisticated and reflexive cinema, for which formal variations over the classical system has become the goal. The baroque shares this dependence from the classical system but absorbs it into another view of the world and takes it into another realm of representation.

Any given work of art is always larger than the label trying to contain it. Thus the only interest in approaching a film as baroque is to suggest new possibilities that will enrich the experience of the film. It is to this end that this study will investigate the films of David Lynch as possibly resonant with a baroque aesthetic.

David Lynch

David Lynch was born in 1946 in Missoula, Montana. He studied Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and cinema at the American Film Institute (AFI), in Los Angeles. He made his first short film, while studying in Philadelphia, Six Men Getting Sick (1967), from a desire to see his figures move and for the sound, as told by Michel Chion:

And, one day, something clicked, though he could not have known that this would be a definitive turning point. He decided to make `film paintings': «When I looked at these paintings, I missed the sound. I was expecting a sound, or maybe the wind, to come out. I also wanted the edges to disappear. I wanted to get into the inside. It was spatial...»38(*)

After a couple of shorts, The Alphabet (1968), The Grandmother (1970), and a first feature length film made with the help of the AFI, Eraserhead (1976) - which took five years in the making - David Lynch moved into major studio productions with The Elephant Man (1980). He had some difficult experiences notably with Dune (1984) where he found that the demands made by a large production did not fit his intuitive method of working. He managed to find a place within the studio system without altering his approach to filmmaking with Blue Velvet (1986). It was produced by Dino De Laurentiis, like Dune, but on a much smaller budget thus giving him more freedom.

Lynch was brought to worldwide fame with the television series Twin Peaks (1990-91) commissioned by ABC Worldvision Enterprises. While the success of Twin Peaks gave him more independence, his later forays into television On the Air (1992) and Hotel Room (1992), did not meet with the same success.

If sound and movement have been the decisive factors influencing his shift to films, Lynch's cinema has an arresting visual quality giving a careful attention to textures and colors as well as the lighting of his scenes - often demanding technical prowess from his cinematographers.

The work of David Lynch may in certain respects qualify only too easily for a reductive understanding of baroque - the extravagant settings and the weird or excessive behaviours of its characters. But the affinities go further and develop in unexpected directions.

Principles of Analysis

The films of David Lynch have often been submitted to a psychoanalytical interpretation for which many of their aspects lend themselves rather easily. Semiotic and psychoanalytical analyses of films can often fail by an excess of interpretation, thus pin-pointing the meaning of images as if it was a text to be read and emptying them of their complexity. On the other hand a textual analysis is at risk of remaining too formal, as remarked by the authors of Aesthetics of Film:

By setting out to return to the primacy of the signifier, textual analysis reveals its concern not to leap immediately to an interpretative reading. Instead, it often stops at the moment of «meaning,» and thus it regularly runs the risk of falling into paraphrase or purely formal description.39(*)

This study will keep to a formal approach to Lynch's films but will try to avoid a purely descriptive analysis. It will be structured over the five principles of the baroque as set out by Wölfflin in Principles of Art History. The classical Hollywood cinema will be the contrasting partner of a possible baroque cinema. Each chapter will echo one of the principles of Wölfflin but it will also develop a resonance with the defining traits of the Baroque as elaborated by Deleuze.

The first chapter, Narrative Continuities, will transpose the linear rendering of the form of the Renaissance to a linear progression of the narrative in classical films. It will suggest the possibility of a non-linear continuity in the sequence of actions in time and space.

The second chapter, The Shot of Ambiguity, is concerned with the conception of the shot. It will draw parallels between the classical composition by planes and the development of editing in the classical system. The composition in depth of the baroque could find its translation into movements of camera and a more active depth of field. It will develop the question of point-of-view and the subjectivity of the image.

The third chapter, The Montage of Confusion, based on the notion of closed and open form, will be concerned with the montage of the film. The containment of the classical form is found in the montage of the classical film leaving nothing without resolution and thus controlling meaning. The open form will bring a form of montage which will multiply possibilities and leaves the spectator make his own interpretation.

The multiplicity and unity of the fourth principle, which concern the relative independence of the elements of composition, will deal with the organisation of the elements of the film in the fourth chapter, The Texture of Film. In the classical film the parts of a film are hierarchically organised according to their relevance to the narrative. The baroque unity could emerge from the absence of such distinction making an object or a particular texture as important to the overall structure than a scene of action. This will develop into a consideration of textures as a formative element.

The last principle concerns the treatment of light and darkness, clearness and unclearness. This concern with light easily transposes to the different types of lighting used in films. This will lead to the consideration of the realistic, expressionist or moralistic content of light and darkness in the fifth chapter, The Dark Depths.

As Wölfflin warns in his introduction to Principles of Art History, these principles of analysis do not stand apart from each other: they are necessarily interlocked. Each chapter does not so much examine a new aspect of the work considered than it proposes a new perspective on an aspect already approached. Repetitions and cross-over are bound to occur, but each part should have its own proceeding thus bringing new developments to attention.

In bringing together the formal elements of analysis of the baroque used by Wölfflin and the study of the films of David Lynch, this study hopes to shift the relationship between baroque and cinema toward a more formal and visual approach than has generally been made.

On the Use of Quotes

A few words should be said about the choice of presentation. This work uses a large number of quotes which are divided into two categories. The first set of quotes concerns the baroque and are mostly extracted from works by Wölfflin and Deleuze. They structure - and resonate with - the main text, but they are not integrated into it. This choice was made to avoid an unfruitful mix of too many discourses; the questions of baroque and aesthetics are thus kept close but do not interfere with those of film theory and the cinema of David Lynch.

The second set of quotes, being part of the text, are conventionally used, however if they are given a pre-eminent part, it is in an attempt to keep the diversity in the expression of the different ideas. The quotes are used as voices resounding in harmony or dissonance with each other.




Everything depends on how far a preponderating significance is assigned to or withdrawn from the edges, whether they must be read as line or not. In the one case, the line means a track moving evenly round the form, to which the spectator can confidently entrust himself; in the other, the picture is dominated by lights and shadows, not exactly indeterminate, yet without stress on the boundaries. Only here and there does a bit of palpable outline emerge: it has ceased to exist as a uniformly sure guide through the sum of the form.40(*)

Heinrich Wölfflin, Principles of Art History.

This first chapter will look into the development of and the form taken by the relationship between narrative and cinema and how one form, the classical narrative, has come to dominate the feature length film.

Films have come to be associated with fictional narratives. However, if the relationship between cinema and narratives is almost as old as cinema itself, it was not necessarily so, as Christian Metz commented in Film Language: `The merging of the cinema and of narrativity was a great fact, which was by no means predestined - nor was it strictly fortuitous.'41(*) The brothers Lumière had rather thought of their invention as a scientific curiosity to record reality; but it is as a fictional narrative that cinema took form with the cinematic experiments of Georges Melies or David. W. Griffith. This led to the situation described here by Christian Metz:

In the realm of the cinema, all non-narrative genres - the documentary, the technical film, etc - have become marginal provinces, border regions so to speak, while the feature-length film of novelistic fiction, which is simply called a «film» - the usage is significant - has traced more and more clearly the king's highway of filmic expression.42(*)

So narrative cinema is not just a genre in the possible cinematic expressions, it is the dominant form of the medium. The possibilities offered by the narrative form are multiple, but as Bordwell and Thompson remarked in Film Art: An Introduction, one form has prevailed over others, that of classical cinema.

Classical cinema considers a narrative to be `a chain of events in cause-effect relationship occurring in time and space.'43(*) This is further defined as:

Typically, a narrative begins with one situation; a series of changes occurs according to a pattern of cause and effect; finally, a new situation arises that brings about the end of the narrative.44(*)

Thus are identified three aspects of narrative: causality, time and space. The characters are identified as the agents of cause and effects; `By creating and reacting to events, characters play roles within the film's formal system. [...] In a narrative, characters are constructed beings.' The authors of Film Art: An Introduction go on to define characters as possessing a certain number of properties or traits `designed to play a causal role in the narrative'. The narrative relies on the stability of these traits to ensure its continuity. 45(*)

The time and space of the narrative are subjected to the logic of the action. The events are organized in the chronological order offering the clearest understanding of their causality: such as flashbacks or flash-forwards according to need. However, the classical narrative will usually be careful to give the necessary clues to enable the spectator to reorganize the events into a linear chronological order. The same rules apply for space, if space is presented in fragments on the screen to highlight the most important actions; it is nevertheless narratively maintained in its continuity. If, for instance, a character has to cross a long distance between two shots, a narrative clue will indicate to the viewer that some time has elapsed enabling the character to effect his move.

Thus, in a classical narrative, if the plot introduces disruptions in cause and effect, time or space, it ultimately refers back to a linear continuity. Each effect has its cause, the time sequence is restored and the space is Euclidian. Bordwell and Thompson conclude:

Finally, most classical narrative films display strong degrees of closure at the end. Leaving no loose ends unresolved, these films seek to end their causal chains with a final effect. We usually learn the fate of each character, the answer to each mystery, and the outcome of each conflict.46(*)

This narrative form, which has become, in Noel Burch terms `The institutional mode of representation'47(*) is, nevertheless, just one possibility of the narrative form in cinema, as Christian Metz asserts:

Filmic narrativity, by becoming stable through convention and repetition over innumerable films, has gradually shaped itself into forms that are more or less fixed, but certainly not immutable.48(*)


In the Renaissance every architectural member was simply and purely stated, while in the baroque, members were multiplied. [...] The single, clear and self-sufficient line was replaced by a kind of formative zone, a complex of lines which made it difficult to recognize the actual contour. This resulted in an illusion of movement, a suggestion that the form had first to move into its allotted position.49(*)

Heinrich Wölfflin, Baroque and Renaissance.

The critical discourse accompanying the new cinema of the 1960s often remarked upon its departure from narrativity to explain its novelty. In Film Language, Christian Metz developed an analysis of the relationship between the `modern cinema and narrativity' and concluded to the inadequacy of this approach because it is based on the erroneous idea

That in the past the cinema was entirely narrative and no longer is so today, or is so at least to a much lesser extent. I believe on the contrary that the modern film is more narrative, and more satisfyingly so, and that the main contribution of the new cinema is to have enriched the filmic narrative.50(*)

Metz pursued the same approach elsewhere when discussing the conditions for a change of the narrative form:

The originality of creative artists consists, here as elsewhere, in tricking the code, or at least in using it ingenuously, rather than attacking it directly or in violating it-and still less in ignoring it.51(*)

The most inventive filmmakers have always used and tricked the code, but, it is necessary to maintain the code to a certain extent to help the viewer to orientate himself; as Metz warns: `A failure of intellection among the viewers would be the automatic sanctioning of a purely individual innovation, which the system would refuse to confirm.'52(*)

Thus, it is within the narrative cinema itself that new forms of cinema developed, in using the existing code as a springboard, they have presented the viewer with the representation of a less clear-cut world than the classical cinema.

In 1941, Orson Welles made Citizen Kane, which epitomizes many changes within the cinematic form. The film was described by Jorge Luis Borges as `a labyrinth without a centre'53(*); it revolves around the character of Charles Foster Kane, but without settling on any traits or properties. The character of Kane remains elusive to the end - the final identification of the word «Rosebud» with the childhood's sleigh does not resolve anything, at the most it adds another perspective on the personality of Kane.

Another film articulated around an unfathomable character, is Joseph Mankiewicz's The Barefoot Contessa (1954). It tells the story of Maria Vargas from the point of view of the different people involved. But the film tells more about the narrators than about Maria, she is the blind spot of the film as if the radiance of her beauty was warding off any possible comprehension. The first scene of the film reflects its whole structure; in a Spanish cabaret, a producer and his director wait to see Maria Vargas dance. When she does, the camera moves over the faces of the spectators and their various reactions, from ecstasy to jealousy, but the viewer of the film is left to his or her imagination.

These two films are examples of narratives that cannot rely on the characters traits to play a causal role to further the action, because the characters have no fixed traits. The undecidability of the character personality shapes the narrative: endlessly revolving around a blind spot.

Some filmmakers have taken a more subjective approach to time, not necessarily referred to a linear chronology. Raoul Ruiz' Le Temps Retrouvé (1999) is based on the last volume of the novel A la Recherche du Temps Perdu (1913-1927) by Marcel Proust. Raoul Ruiz did not attempt to explain the events recounted for those who had not read the book, rather he plunged the viewer into the stream of memories and fantasies of the narrator. The chronology of the events is remodelled around the perceptions of the protagonist, as if time had become a malleable substance to be shaped by his stream of consciousness. Accordingly, the opening credits rolls over images of a stream whose waters flow from right to left - which, within occidental conventions of narrative representation is textually understood to mean backward.

The spatial conventions adopted by classical Hollywood films are exposed in Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen's Singing in the Rain (1951). In the film there is only a token attempt at pretending that the space of the action is any other than a sound-stage; there is no spatial relationship between the different spaces. Even for the two scenes happening in the street - when Don Lockwood jumps into Kathy Selden's car to escape his fans and the scene of the title song - it functions as an independent location rather than a junction between two places. The film exhibits and plays on its artificial settings, and even uses them as a narrative element in the scene of the love declaration of Don to Kathy: Don uses the available instrument of a sound stage to set the perfect romantic scene: sunset, gentle breeze, moonlight and so on.

For Dogville (2003) Lars Von Triers set the scene in one huge sound stage with little else other than a few props and lights to make it a little village in the Rocky Mountains. Von Triers' deployment of camera movements ensures that the film has little to do with theatre - from his use of elaborated crane shots to handheld camera.

For Un Chien Andalou (1928) Luis Buñuel used all the make-believe capacity of cinema to conjure up a surrealist space annihilating the boundaries between fantasy and reality: the door of a Parisian apartment opens, like in dreams, on a rocky beach by the ocean.

Thus filmmakers have never been completely subservient to the classical narrative developed by Hollywood, and have used reflexive or disruptive approaches to it. However the classical narrative remains the framework from which other forms of narrative can expand.


Essentialism makes a classic of Descartes, while Leibniz's thought appears to be a profound mannerism. Classicism needs a solid and constant attribute for substance, but mannerism is fluid, and the spontaneity of manners replaces the essentiality of the attribute.54(*)

Gilles Deleuze, The Fold, Leibniz and the Baroque.

From his earlier shorts The Alphabet (1968) or the Grandmother (1970), David Lynch has used the narrative form and has remained within its realm since then. In her book The Passion of David Lynch, Martha Nochimson discusses the influence of painting in David Lynch's films. In this quote she reflects upon the particular influence of Francis Bacon's paintings:

For Bacon, narrative reality is inherent in the way that the image can cut through the static of its own conventions and those of the coherent self to reach the movement of feelings, the energies of the subconscious and the nerves. That is only possible if the artist permits such fissures to occur in the composing process. [...] Lynch's inheritance from Bacon is not his subject matter or color palette or specifics images, but the tension created by the collision between the narrative and the non-narrative elements of painting.55(*)

The bond between narrativity and David Lynch's work is further commented on by Michel Chion in David Lynch:

Narrative freedom does not mean indifference to the story, which is used as a pretext for saying something else, but rather such an intense belief in the story that like a child, one would like to draw it out as far and as literally as possible.56(*)

If Lynch has chosen the narrative form, it is as a necessary framework to express the tension with non-narrative elements. Thus developing a personal approach to such elements as the causal sequence of events and their relation to time and space.

Characters in the classical narrative are «constructed beings» 57(*) with a well-defined set of traits. They are thus quite distinct from the notion of the subject as offered by Lacanian psychoanalysis. The notion is developed here by B. Herzogenrath in reference to Lost Highway:

Lacanian psychoanalysis offers a theory of the subject that does without concepts such as unity, origin, continuity. It goes from the assumption of a fundamentally split subject and thus comes up with a model of subjectivity that grounds itself on a constitutive lack rather than wholeness. Thus, his theory lends itself as a useful and relevant background for the analysis of a sample of cinema that negates the idea of the autonomous, stable individual.58(*)

This fluctuating identity of the subject was already at the core of the earlier examples of Citizen Kane and The Barefoot Contessa. Lynch however takes a different approach; he is less concerned about the mysteries of identity than by the difficulty for the subject to find a place in the world. As such his characters often seem to conform to type, but then, under changing circumstances they shift their appearances; they may change type. André Bazin analysed the treatment of characters and causality in the film Le Notti di Cabiria (1957) by Federico Fellini. Bazin wrote that Fellini's `characters are never defined by their «character» but exclusively by their appearance,'59(*) which echoes a commentary of Martha Nochimson on a scene in Mulholland Drive:

Back at Betty's apartment, the layers are reconfigured as Rita takes on Betty's appearance by covering her luxuriant, dark hair with a short, blonde wig. The narrative excuse for this is that Rita is fearful that the murder of Selwyn means that the thugs chasing her are getting closer. But the tonal weight of this image is the move of Rita into Betty's place as the dominant personality, which she becomes when Betty invites her to share the bed rather than sleep on the couch and Rita initiates sex.60(*)

The change in the relationship between Betty and Rita is thus signified by the wig, a sort of hat of authority. Lynch's characters are exactly as they appear at a given moment but their appearance may change. In Fire Walk With Me, Laura Palmer is a regular high-school girl, a provocative seductress and a disturbed teenager; she is the sum of her images and cannot be reduced to one. In Mulholland Drive, Betty and Diane are one and the same: the hopeful young actress coming to Hollywood and the sour rejected woman seeking revenge. But, the difference is, she assumes a different name for each of her selves, as pointed out by Martha Nochimson:

In life we maintain continuous signs of identity, like our names. But our young inexperienced dreams routinely undergo such transformations, as they collide with forces unleashed by power establishments and our own internal obsessions that a new name and identity would be entirely in keeping with the profound alterations in us, especially the commutation of early assumption about our possibilities.61(*)

The enthusiastic Betty did not develop her potential to be an actress, which she seems to possess given her performance during the audition, and became Diane, the bitter woman. In Lost Highway the transformative process was more brutal with the violent metamorphosis of Fred Madison into Pete Dayton. There is some resonance to the film in this comment by Bazin on Fellini:

If there are, still, tensions and climaxes in the films of Fellini which leave nothing to be desired as regards drama or tragedy, it is because, in the absence of traditional dramatic causality, the incidents in his films develop effects of analogy and echo. Fellini's hero never reaches the final crisis (which destroys him or saves him) by a progressive dramatic linking but because the circumstances somehow or other affect him, build up inside him like the vibrant energy in a resonating body. He does not develop; he is transformed; overturning finally like an iceberg whose center of buoyancy has shifted unseen.62(*)

In the first part of the film the character of Fred Madison seems to be under a constant pressure from the inside, a constant ontological difficulty with being. His instability is inviting evil forces epitomized by the «Mystery man». The accumulation of energies that cannot find an expression, literally transforms Fred's body, as if trying on another shape for a fit.

Bazin's thoughts about the relationship between events and characters in Fellini's films seem to be particularly relevant to the films of David Lynch:

Events do not «happen» in Fellini's world; they befall its inhabitants; that is to say, they occur as an effect of «vertical» gravity, not in conformity to the laws of «horizontal» causality. As for the characters themselves, they exist and change only in reference to a purely internal kind of time. [...] Thus the Fellinian character does not evolve; he ripens or at the most becomes transformed.63(*)

In Lynch's films, if characters cannot be relied upon maintaining their properties, no more can the chain of events to follow a «horizontal» causality. In The Passion of David Lynch, Martha Nochimson develops the concept of the «Eye-of-the-duck» scene, from discussion with Lynch about a poem on the duck shape (see appendix A):

In moving from the bill to the head, down the S curve, around the body to the legs and feet, and back to the bill, we would seem to have the organic form of the duck. And yet Lynch asserts that the secret of the ocular rapture is the eye of the duck, disconnected from the connected lines of the duck's body but the glowing impetus for all the movement that radiates mysteriously around it.64(*)

Lynch has identified particular scenes from his films belonging to this category, `as a necessary prelude to closure but not in the way that the climax is'.65(*) In Elephant Man, for instance, it is the scene when John Merrick goes to the theatre to see the musical pantomime. Nochimson interprets this as being the height of sweetness in Merrick's life, sweetness that ultimately can only kill him, since he can never be part of that idealized «normality».66(*) The scene has no causal relation to the ending, but it nevertheless contains the key to it, the desire for normality.

The narrative structure of Lynch's films does not follow a simple cause and effect reaction; the events portrayed relate to each other in a more layered way. Charles Drazin commented on Blue Velvet:

With its hoodlums and car chases, Blue Velvet has many of the trappings of a Hollywood movie but a different operating system. It has the logic of a dream, where you find yourself in situations without knowing how you got into them, where events and settings reflect an inner rather than an outer reality. It is less a linear narrative than a coalescence of concerns. And in this landscape of the mind, the normal rules of time and space are secondary.67(*)

Further comments on Lynch's narrative approach are made by Thierry Jousse; after comparing the screenplay of Lost Highway to the film, he observed that most of the scenes which had been cut out had explanatory function:

This narrative trimming has allowed him (Lynch) to reach a disturbing opacity proceeding from a series of striking rhythmic punches. [...] The movie distributes a multitude of signs, clues, enigmas, slips of the tongue, which, as a treasure hunt, seem to mirror a secret lining of reality, who would, like a very active unconscious, permanently appear discontinuous and envelop life in a light paranoiac veil.68(*)

In avoiding simple resolutions, Lynch's films offer the viewer a multiplied range of possibilities. The event, free from its narrative function, redeploys its singularity, as Bazin commented about the Neo-Realists' films69(*):

The priority which they [the neorealists] accord incident over plot has led De Sica and Zavattini to replace plot as such with a microaction based on an infinitely divisible attention to the complexities in even the most ordinary events. This in itself rules out the slightest hierarchy, whether psychological, dramatic, or ideological, among the incidents that are portrayed.70(*)

Lynch's films sometimes give the impression that they might spiral down into one moment infinitely extended, as remarked by Charles Drazin:

Pruned of the narrative strings, an incident which would otherwise have been a flat A-to-B moment takes on depth and richness.71(*)

Such a moment can be found in The Straight Story as recounted by Michel Chion:

The discovery of Alvin, lying down with all his lucidity, surrounded by friends panicking without doing anything, is the occasion of a scene, oscillating between burlesque and tragic, at risk to go on indefinitely, like Lynch likes them.72(*)

The characters of this scene know what they are supposed to do, but somehow do not do it, brought to a standstill by their uncertainties. They are not sure of their interpretation of the events; whether or not Alvin really needs help. Another scene in the same film is commented on by Joe Kember in his essay on Lynch. Here he describes Rose Straight at the checkout of the grocery store paying for sausages her father will take on his journey:

Rose attempts to conform to the conversational rationale in the store, but struggles against her speech impediment within the formality of their polite dialogue. Speaking at cross-purposes, they misunderstand one another, and the conversation descends into a series of double takes and non sequiturs. The two women, smiling good-naturedly, pursue a gestural conversation with little more success. The facial expression of each is captured by a series of reactions shots, and the scene draws to an abrupt close when they mug back and forth their mutual dislike for braunshweiger.73(*)

Thus, the scene shows what a banal exchange at the checkout involves: the conformity to social behavior and the effort required when the body is not perfectly disciplined in this.

Lynch's attention to singular events opens micro-infinities - to echo the term of «microaction» used by Bazin - within the narrative structure. Something like, In Eraserhead, the micro eternity that is folded into the few seconds too long that the elevator doors take to slide shut on Henry.


The irrational number implies the descent of a circular arc on the straight line of rational points, and exposes the latter as a false infinity, a simple undefinite that includes an infinity of lacunaes; that is why the continuous is a labyrinth that cannot be represented by a straight line. The straight line always has to be intermingled with the curved lines.74(*)

Gilles Deleuze, The Fold, Leibniz and the Baroque

The chronology in Lynch's film is generally continuous, which does not mean that it is straight. It means the action is shown in continuity without flashbacks, flash forward or jump in time. There are a few exceptions such as, in Wild at Heart, the flashback of the fire where Lula's father dies, or in Fire Walk With Me, the time gap between the Teresa Banks case and the story of Laura Palmer. Generally, the events happen consecutively in time. What is disorientating to the viewer is the convoluted curves this continuity can take. There is no clear distinction between the different levels in the narrative, as remarked by Eric Bryant Rhodes about Lost Highway:

A large part of what has confounded spectators in Lynch's enterprise is how to distinguish between scenes that reflect the characters' fantasies, and those that belong to the narrative «reality». Lost Highway is a film that would appear to have a complete disregard for differences in ontological levels.75(*)

The confusion is already there in Eraserhead, in the moments where Henry is in the radiator with the girl. Initially, it seems easy enough to assimilate the radiator to a portal of dreams, but as the film goes on, this distinction becomes increasingly difficult to ascertain.

Blue Velvet presents itself as straightforward enough, but the scenes in Dorothy's apartment, on the seventh floor, have a dreamlike structure. In many respects they do not belong to the same reality plane as the scenes with Sandy for instance - Dorothy's apartment seems to be a projection of Jeffrey's fantasies.

The time structure of Lost Highway is a kind of flattening out of the fantasy curves, all events follow each other but, ultimately, they revolve and end when they started. This loop structure is described by Thierry Jousse:

The time loop of Lost Highway is very strange. Although the film's plot is ultimately linear enough and supposes a chronological succession, everything happens as if the relationship between past, present and future did not follow any hierarchy anymore. Without explicitly changing the chronology, Lynch makes it impossible to identify any given moment.76(*)

The confusion between past, present, future, dreams and reality is also woven into the narrative structure of Mulholland Drive. Like Lost Highway, the film is split in two parts articulated around one character's change. However this time there is no physical transformation, but an alteration of identity. The first part can be read as a fantasy/dream of Diane Selwyn, but it could also be the past of the second part or, possibly, an alternative future.

The very title of The Straight Story, as Michel Chion pointed out, is a graphic contradiction with its two sinuous capital S.77(*) By all accounts the film goes pretty much straight down the road through the farm belt country. However this straightforward trajectory is doubled up by the backward movement of Alvin Straight's memory, as he recounts events of his life to people he meets through chance encounters. And what started as a straight journey across fields ends as a sinuous progression through wooded hills. The final meeting of the two brothers, Alvin and Lyle, with its vista of a starry sky, seems to bring Alvin back to a unified self.

In Film Art, an Introduction, Bordwell and Thompson pointed out that whereas `in some media, a narrative might emphasize only causality and time [...] in film narrative, space is usually an important factor.'78(*) And the events in Lynch `s films always happen somewhere specific, even if this somewhere might prove difficult to localise. In Lynch on Lynch, Chris Rodley asks Lynch about Twin Peaks sense of place:

Chris Rodley: I wonder if you could elaborate on a sense of place in terms of Twin Peaks. Most American TV series have no sense of place whatsoever, even though so many of them take their names from specific cities or places.

David Lynch: Right. In my mind this was a place surrounded by woods. That's important. For as long as anybody can remember, woods have been mysterious places. So they were a character in my mind. And then other characters came to our minds. And as you start peopling this place, one thing leads to another. And somewhere along the line you have a certain type of community.79(*)

Talking about The Elephant Man Lynch tells Rodley how he walked around London to find the right place:

Then one day I was walking around a derelict hospital and suddenly a little wind-like thing came and entered me, and I was in that time - not only in that time in the room - but I knew that time.80(*)

For The Straight Story, Joe Kember remarks that David Lynch completed twice the journey accomplished by Alvin Straight on his lawnmower: `sometimes at mower pace.'81(*) Even when the place is nowhere explicit, like in Eraserhead, it is rendered very specifically through an `accumulation of details'.82(*) All of Lynch's films are firmly grounded in a specific locale and grow out of it - except maybe Dune for which, as remarked by Michel Chion: `Filming acres of sand did not convey the presence of a true, mythical planet.'83(*)

As was the chronology, space in Lynch's films is continuous; there are very few spatial jumps. When the characters move - Wild at Heart, The Straight Story - the space they cross is vividly present all along. In The Straight Story there is the feel of the tarmac going slowly by, the movements of the combine harvesters in the fields, the change of nature from late summer to autumn and the passage from the flat cultivated countryside of Laurens to wooded hills once the Mississippi has been crossed.

However, in most Lynch's films the characters stay in one place whether Twin Peaks, Los Angeles or Lumberton. But, no more than time could be represented by a straight line, could the space of Lynch's films be represented within a single plane. His space seems to fold itself around particular places that are «nowhere» and where «anything can happen.»84(*)


What makes the new harmony is, first, the distinction between two levels or floors, which resolves tension or allots the division. The lower level is assigned to the façade, which is elongated by being punctured and bent back according to the folds determined by a heavy matter, forming an infinite room for reception or receptivity. The upper level is closed, as a pure inside without an outside, a weightless, closed interiority, its walls hung with spontaneous folds that are now only those of a soul or a mind. This is because, as Wölfflin has shown, the baroque world is organised along two vectors, a deepening toward the bottom, and a thrust toward the upper regions.85(*)

Gilles Deleuze, The Fold, Leibniz and the Baroque.

These particular places which are «nowhere» are generally recognised by being hung by heavy red drapes. The most emblematic of them is the Red Room of the series Twin Peaks (1990-1991) and the film Twin Peaks, Fire Walk with Me (1992). Martha Nochimson has asserted that:

Lynch has directly stated that not only does everything look and sound different in the Red Room than it would in ordinary reality but also that the Red Room is a different place for everyone who enters it.86(*)

Thus the room changes properties whether it is agent Cooper or Laura who enters. In the series, scenes in the room with agent Cooper, were acted and spoken backward and then projected in reverse, which gave them that strange forwardness. This accentuated the feeling that in this room the normal rules of time and space do not apply.87(*)

A predecessor to the Red Room can be found in Eraserhead - the stage inside the radiator with the girl. Whether or not they are part of a dream, both places, the Red Room and the radiator's stage, are usually accessed during the sleep of the protagonist, thus supporting the notion of a dream-place. Other places in Lynch's films are more ambiguous as to their level of reality. They seem to belong to the ordinary plane of reality, but they possess qualities setting them apart.

In Blue Velvet, Dorothy Vallens' apartment is on the seventh floor of an apartment block called Deep River and `it's really close by, that's what's so creepy' as Sandy tells Jeffrey. However, only Jeffrey ever goes there - Sandy is prevented by the «man in yellow» - and the place seems to be in resonance with Jeffrey's fantasies88(*).

In Lost Highway, the nowhere space is brought even closer as the Madison's bedroom. The bedroom is both at the heart of the house and the centre around which Fred and Renee revolve - it is there that their relationship is made and undone.

Martha Nochimson identifies the nightclub, Club Silencio, in Mulholland Drive as belonging to the type of place like the Red Room:

The portal through which Rita and Betty travel to the next stage of their blighted lives, Club Silencio will remind Lynch aficionados of the Red Room in Twin Peaks, a place, [...] that alters depending on who enters it. For Betty and Rita, it is a site of disintegration.89(*)

Club Silencio is also where Betty and Rita find the Blue Box that can be opened by the Blue Key found earlier in Rita's handbag:

A spatial black hole opens in the film in the form of a dark passage into a mysterious blue box, which pops up in various scenes, an ineffable portal available suddenly and every so often.90(*)

If these places have in common drapes and a transformative capacity, they also have to be accessed in a specific way. There is always a passage - a radiator in Eraserhead, a picture of a door on the wall in Fire Walk With Me, a stairway in Blue Velvet or a corridor in Lost Highway - which has to be gone through alone. The passage often takes a ritualistic aspect though repetition; again and again Jeffrey is seen going up the stairway, or the corridor passed through by Fred; signalling a space which is only accessed through certain conditions.

So, paradoxically, space in Lynch's films is, on the one hand, a very specific locale with a great attention given to details and, on the other, places that seem to exist in their own dimension, like a projection space for the characters.

The precise presence of the ordinary plane of reality in time and space is the necessary springboard for the projection into these dream-spaces. This is echoed by the interpretation given by Martha Nochimson in The Passion of David Lynch about Lynch's use of the narrative:

His conscious desire to subordinate the logic of narrative to the subconscious event and to explosive feeling shows how narrative can teach us empathy with the larger forces in the subconscious and the world.91(*)

In any case, it is on his own terms that David Lynch has used the narrative form; questioning such established notions as the permanence of characters traits, the causality of the chain of events, the linearity of time or the uniformity of space.

In Film Language, Christian Metz concluded his essay on the relationship between narrativity and the new cinema of the 1960s, by pointing out that it was not narrativity that filmmakers like Jean-Luc Godard or Alain Resnais abandoned, but rather its institutional mode of representation:

Now, from the moment that the cinema encountered narrativity - an encounter whose consequences are, if not infinite, at least not finished - it appears that it has superimposed over the analogical message a second complex of codified constructions, something «beyond» the image, something that has only gradually been mastered (thanks to Griffith, mainly), and that, though it was originally intended to render the story more living (to avoid a monotonous, continuous iconic flow, in short, to connote), has nevertheless ended by multiplying the modes of denotation, and thus articulating the most literal message of the films we know.92(*)

Classical Hollywood cinema has developed a system of representation to emphasize the action (to connote) which has replaced the event itself (what was to be denoted). The next chapter will develop upon the elaboration of this system.




Classic art reduces the parts of a total form to a sequence of planes, the baroque emphasises depth. Plane is the elements of line, extension in one plane the form of the greatest explicitness: with the discounting of the contour comes the discounting of the plane, and the eye relates objects essentially in the direction of forwards and backwards.93(*)

Heinrich Wölfflin, Principles of Art History.

The preceding chapter examined the notion of narrative causality in classical cinema and how the narrative could expand beyond this system. This chapter will analyse the notion of the shot in filmmaking through its involvement in the construction of a cinematic space.

From its various uses, the notion of «shot» is more complex than may appear at first. Because of its shifting meanings, it requires a theoretical introduction. From the early days of cinema, the word «shot» has been used, for editing purposes, as a technical term designating the `piece of film contained between two cuts'.94(*) But, it gets more complicated when taken within the shooting context:

During the shooting stage, «shot» is used as an approximate equivalent for «frame», «object field», and «take». Thus, it simultaneously designates a certain point of view on an event («framing») and a certain duration.95(*)

Jean Mitry found no problems to the overlapping of the notion of «frame» and «shot» applied to films made before 1915:

Since most shots were static, each one involved a different set-up; consequently shots and set-ups could be regarded one and the same thing.96(*)

However, with the development of camera movements and therefore the multiplication of angles, places and focal lengths within the same shot, Mitry pointed out that the term had, in fact, split in two. He differentiated, on one hand, the term designating a specific set-up, the shot, and, on the other, the film unit, which `however long and convoluted', `forms an indivisible fragment', the take.97(*)

Gilles Deleuze, in his theoretical work on cinema, Cinema 1, The Movement-Image (1983), establishes at the outset, the link between «shot» and «cutting»:

Cutting [découpage] is the determination of the shot, and the shot, the determination of the movement which is established in the closed system, between elements or parts of the set.98(*)

Deleuze seems to bypass the notion of «take» and the ambiguities raised by Jean Mitry. 99(*) However, he insists on the dual aspect of the shot, in effect integrating the ambivalence in its definition:

The shot in general has one face turned towards the set, the modifications of whose parts it translates, and another face turned towards the whole, of which it expresses the - or at least a - change. Hence the situation of the shot, which can be defined abstractly as the intermediary between the framing of the set and the montage of the whole, sometimes tending towards the pole of framing, sometimes tending towards the pole of montage.100(*)

Thus the shot is associated with movement and is the intermediary film unit bringing about the transition from one aspect to another: `the parts of the set which spreads out in space, the change of a whole which is transformed in duration'.101(*)

Early films from the primitive period, retained most of the staging of theatre. They were `organized as a series of fixed scenes, with a strict unity of time and place', `joined together as so many tableaux,'102(*) as Stephen Heath explains in his Questions of Cinema. But this type of organisation raised problems of narrative coherence as the authors of Film Theory, Lapsley and Westlake, describe:

Actions might take place anywhere within the frame, including the edges and corners; events of narrative significance might occur simultaneously in different parts of the frame.103(*)

The need for a clearer sequence of actions will lead to changes in the staging of space in cinema, as purported by Heath:

If life enters cinema as movement, that movement brings with it nevertheless its problems of composition in frame. [...] In fact, composition will organize the frame in function of the human figures in their actions; what enters cinema is a logic of movement and it is this logic that centres the frame. Frame space, in other words, is constructed as narrative space. It is narrative significance that at any moment sets the space of the frame to be followed and «read», and that determines the development of the filmic cues in their contributions to the definition of space in frame.104(*)

The need to emphasize the actions encouraged the use of different type of shots and editing thus liberating the camera. The camera could be moved closer or farther according to the actions taking place: a long-shot for large movements, a cut-in to attract attention to an important detail, a medium-shot for a conversation or a facial close-up for the expression of emotions. However this fragmentation of space, according to narrative significance, had to be organised to allow for the orientation of the spectator. It was necessary to reconstruct a continuity:

Increasingly, the conception of quality in films came to be bound up with the term «continuity». «Continuity» stood for the smoothly flowing narrative, with its technique constantly in the service of the causal chain, yet always effacing itself.105(*)

The authors of The Classical Hollywood Cinema, David Bordwell, Janet Staiger and Kristin Thompson, describe in detail the progressive elaboration between 1909 and 1917 of the rules composing what they term the «continuity system»:

The various continuity rules - establishing and re-establishing shots, cut-ins, screen direction, eyelines, SRS [shot-reverse shot], crosscutting - served two overall purposes. On the one hand, they permitted the narrative to proceed in a clearly defined space. On the other hand, they created an omnipresent narration which shifted the audience's vantage point on the action frequently to follow those parts of the scene most salient to the plot.106(*)

The authors further state that the development of this omnipresent narration led to the conception of the shot as a narrative unit:

«Continuity» quickly developed from a general notion of narrative unity to the more specific conception of a story told in visual terms and continuing unbroken, spatially and temporally from shot to shot. [...] Thus the shot became not a material unit but a narrative one.107(*)

This is further developed by Heath from a quote by Mitry:

`Shots are like «cells», distinct spaces the succession of which, however, reconstitutes a homogeneous space, but a space unlike that from which these elements were subtracted'.108(*)

Heath compares this reconstituted homogeneity through the ordering of shots to the making of a composition:

In fact, we are back in the realm of «composition», were composition is now the laying out of a succession of images in order to give the picture, to produce the implication of a coherent («real») space; in short, to create continuity.109(*)

This composition process aims to situate `the spectator at the optimum viewpoint in each shot', `as an invisible onlooker present on the scene.'110(*) The authors of The Classical Hollywood Cinema further state:

This notion of the invisible spectator provides a neat reversal of the actual reason for the whole continuity system; while the classical cinema claims to follow the attention of he spectator, it actually guides that attention carefully by establishing expectations about what spatial configurations are likely to occur.111(*)

This notion is also expressed by Lapsley and Westlake: `Segmentation and recomposition is a more effective means of binding the subject in place than the intolerable fixity of a series of tableaux.'112(*)

Thus, editing according to the rules of the continuity system, seeks to control, on one hand the movements in space in front of the camera, and on the other, the spectator by `constantly organizing his attention.'113(*)


Yet this classic plane did not last long. Soon it seemed as if things were being entrammelled if they were subjected to the pure plane: the silhouettes are dissolved and the eye is led around and about the edges: the proportion of foreshortened form is increased and by means of overlapping, intersecting motives, strongly speaking relations from front to rear are given: in short, artists intentionally avoid allowing the impression of a plane to arise, even if the plane actually exists.114(*)

Heinrich Wölfflin, Principles of Art History

The beginning of the classical age of cinema corresponds to the homogenisation of the cinematic space according to narrative continuity. The continuity system of representation pretends to invisibility because of its commitment to the actions of the characters and their motivations115(*). The discretion of its techniques allowed the classical style to become dominant, imposing itself as a transparent representation of reality. But, as Bordwell and Thompson pointed out in Film Art: An Introduction: `The classical Hollywood mode is, however, only one system among many that have been and could be used for constructing films.'116(*)

Many filmmakers have disrupted the seamless continuity of narrative space by introducing heterogeneous elements. The use of camera movements not necessarily tied up to the action, for instance, could introduce a diverging view on the event represented. The lengthening of shots could integrate a sense of time and space existing beyond its purely narrative function. A full use of the depth of field could liberate new movement trajectories and multiply tensions in the screen space, just as the extended use of subjective shots could afford a more complex representation of reality.

Camera movements have been used at a very early stage in cinema, such as the panning/tilting movements of the camera or, for chases in particular, the tracking.117(*) However, the use of camera movements is generally limited to reframing:

One of the main impulses toward the mobile frame, or moving camera, came from the effort to maintain centering. By far the greatest number of films that used camera movement before the mid-twenties used it strictly to reframe rather than to track or pan with an extended movement.118(*)

Furthermore there has been a tendency toward a fast editing process, allowing for extensive planning, rather than long and elaborated shots:

Tracking, panning, and reframing movements remained in occasional use into the twenties. They were relatively infrequent, however. [...] The cutting rate was typically so fast that each individual action had its own shot; there was little impulse to combine several actions by adjusting the framing within a shot.119(*)

Until late in the silent period, according to the authors of The Classical Hollywood Cinema, camera movements remained a `relatively minor part of Hollywood's stylistic repertory.'120(*) German films, however, had made more use of the possibilities of a mobile camera:

The influence of German films in the mid-twenties was considerable. Some cinematographers began to move their camera as freely as they could, devising many sorts of elevators, cranes, and elaborate dollies to imitate the German visual acrobatics.121(*)

Deleuze identifies phases in cinema according to the development of camera movements: a primitive state of the cinema where the camera is fixed and the movement is `attached to elements, characters and things which serve as its moving body or vehicle.'122(*) A second state is one where the mobility of the camera and the possibility of montage started to extract movements from its vehicle (persons or things):

Now at the outset these two methods were in some sense obliged to conceal themselves; not only had the connections of montage to be imperceptible (for example, connections along the axis) but also the camera movements, in so far as they concerned ordinary moments or banal scenes (movements which are so slow as to be close to the threshold of perception).123(*)

Thus the development of camera movements corresponds to an emancipation of the cinematic movement; what Deleuze calls «the Image-Movement». The beginning of a third phase could be identified with Orson Welles' Citizen Kane (1941)124(*), which corresponds to the end of what Bordwell, Staiger and Thompson call Hollywood's classical era (1917-1940).

In Welles' film, camera movements were no longer trying to be imperceptible. The camera circles characters remaining immobile, it moves in and out of the action, focuses on a detail on the side or goes through a window pane. However, this independence of the camera from the action does not necessarily means an independence from the narrative context. Rather, it tends to layer the dramatic situation by visualising certain subjective perception, such as the high angle shot of Kane standing over his pile of newspapers to mark his thirst for power.

By taking some distance from the strict narrative order the movements of camera develop their own level of signification. Michel Chion analyses the use of tracking shots by Stanley Kubrick for instance:

Kubrick's very particular way of using a tracking shot with a wide angle lens to follow someone walking down a corridor, through a maze or a narrow passageway, and giving the character's progress an epic, fatal, conquering or irresistible air-which first came to general attention in Paths of Glory-often seems to mean: there is no living space for two men. I appropriate the space I cross: I clear the space before me...125(*)

The use of long movement of camera also reintegrates a continuity in space, allowing the spectator some grasp of a larger three-dimensional world other than the carefully framed one of classical editing. The impressions of the long tracking shots of Danny cycling the maze of corridors of the Overlook hotel in The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980), could not have been conveyed by a montage of static shots.

Another change to be introduced in Citizen Kane is the use of the depth of field, which is defined by the authors of Aesthetics of Film:

Depth of field: The film image is sharp for an entire section of the field of vision and the term used to distinguish the extent of this clearly focused zone is depth of field [...] thus depth of field is defined as the depth measurement of the zone of sharply focused objects.126(*)

Early cinema generally used a great depth of field, with the camera set at a distance from the action and the set evenly lit. But when a greater focus on the action was wanted, a shallow depth of field became desirable to isolate the foreground from a distracting background.127(*) The possibilities of a new type of lens, as well as a desire for a new aesthetic led to the reappraisal of a deep depth of field.

What was striking about Gregg Toland's cinematography for Citizen Kane was the use of extreme contrasts within the same frame between object placed very near the lens and others very far away, as described by Brian O'Doherty in an essay on Welles:

Welles handled this deep space - roofed in, generally shot from below - superbly. As Gregg Toland, his cameraman, wrote, «scenes which conventionally would require a shift from close-up to full shot were planned so that the action would take place simultaneously in extreme foreground and extreme background» Figures enlarge and shrink, loom and vanish in that converging alley. Compositions reform with the turn of a head, the sound of a voice, a faraway movement. Foreground, middle distance and distance become characters that articulate themselves through objects rather than the reverse.128(*)

Jean Renoir, in his film La Règle Du Jeu (1939), had also reactivated the possibilities of depth in the cinematic space. In Cinema 1, Gilles Deleuze explains what this use of the depth of field implies in the conception of the shot:

Depth is no longer conceived, in the manner of the `primitive' cinema, as a superimposition of parallel slices each of which is self-sufficient, all of them merely traversed by a single moving body. On the contrary, in Renoir and in Welles, the set of movements is distributed in depth in such a way as to establish liaisons, actions and reactions, which never develop one beside the other, in a single plane [shot], but are spaced out at different distances, and from one plane [shot] to the next. The unity of the shot is produced here by the direct liaison between elements caught in the multiplicity of superimposed planes [shots] which can no longer be separated: the relationship of near and distant parts produces the unity.129(*)

What André Bazin saw in the cinema of Renoir and Welles was the reintegration of the event's ambivalence in the cinematic space; a space freed from the manipulation of montage:

In analysing reality, montage presupposes of its very nature the unity of meaning of the dramatic event. [...] In short, montage by its very nature rules out ambiguity of expression, on the other hand, depth of focus reintroduced ambiguity into the structure of the image if not of necessity at least as a possibility.130(*)

If Bazin's belief in the possible transparency of the medium was somewhat excessive, it remains that cinematic space, in gaining complexity, engaged the spectator in a more active relationship with the image.


Perspectivism amounts to a relativism, but not the relativism we take for granted. It is not a variation of truth according to the subject, but the condition in which the truth of a variation appears to the subject. This is the very idea of Baroque perspective.131(*)

Gilles Deleuze, The Fold, Leibniz and the Baroque.

The classical system of composition pretends to serve the characters actions, but it, nevertheless, maintains an omniscient narration: an authoritative point of view looking upon the action.132(*) Thus the use of subjective shots or point of view (POV) shots, when considered necessary to understand the characters motivations, is explicitly framed. The first examples of POV shots were marked out by a mask supposed to imitate the vision of the character. They were cut-in for specific moments, such as looking through a magnifying glass, a keyhole, or binoculars. During the 1910s the POV shots became more discreetly framed by windows:

The glance through a window provided virtually the only such cue, since the window frame within the image placed the character spatially.133(*)

The viewer always knows who is looking and can clearly differentiate a subjective point of view from the supposedly objective narration. If there is a narrator, he has authority on the narrative, and the viewer has no doubts on his conclusions.

A film like Citizen Kane disturbed this clear differentiation; there is no overall narration in the film, just a superposition of point of views, and added up, they do not constitute a whole. The film accumulates different perspectives without giving the viewer the key to its organisation. Point of view shots or subjective shots developed with the notion of a multiple reality, which could not be reduce to a single point of view.

Stephen Heath finds it necessary to clarify what exactly constitutes a POV shot and a subjective image since they do not quite coincide. In his Questions of Cinema he quoted Jean Mitry's categories of subjective images:

The purely mental image (more or less impracticable in the cinema); the truly subjective or analytical image (i.e. what is looked at without the person looking), which is practicable in small doses; the semi-subjective or associated image (i.e. the person looking + what is looked at, which is in fact looked at from the view-point of the person looking), the most generalizable formula; the complete sequence given over to the imaginary, which does not raise special problems; and finally the memory image, which is in principle simply a variety of the mental image but, when presented in the form of a flash-back with commentary, allows for a specific filmic treatment which is far more successful than in the case of other mental images.134(*)

Heath points out that only the semi-subjective and the truly subjective shot are point-of-view shots because `what is «subjective» in the point-of-view shot is its spatial positioning (its place), not the image or the camera.'135(*)

However, once the omniscient point of view is removed, all shots are subjective: they all are point of view shots. Their degree of subjectivity varies according to the mental state of the onlooker and the elements of fantasy. The film Spider (2002) by David Cronenberg for instance, is told almost entirely from the point of view of the protagonist Spider. Just coming out of a mental institution, he tries to remember what happened to his mother. However, the ambiguities are resolved for the viewer at the end.

In the films of Federico Fellini, fantastical elements are often added, but nothing tells the viewer whether they happened or were imagined by the protagonist. In Fellini's Roma (1972) the director makes the portrait of the city through his memories of it. Adding up the shifting perceptions that he has accumulated of Rome. All perspectives are valid part of what constitutes for Fellini the eternal city; whether they are childhood fantasies, history lessons, archaeological finds or cinematic memories. The image of the chemist's wife as a flamboyant Messalina, empress of the orgies, can be an allusion to how antic history fills the roman imagination, just as the antique monuments, we see during the final bike ride, fill the city.136(*)

Fellini, and others, revitalized (to take Christian Metz' terms) what used to be called `subjective images'.137(*) The hierarchy between the different points-of-view is abolished; the subjective image of the character is no longer corrected by the omniscience of a narrator.


The point of view is nothing like a frontal perspective, which would give the best conditions to grasp the form, but the point of view is an instance from which a series of forms is apprehended in its passage from one to the other: either as a metamorphosis; passage from one form to another or, as an anamorphosis; a passage from chaos to form.138(*)

Gilles Deleuze, lecture on Leibniz

From one film to the next, Lynch has developed a characteristic cinematographic space. From the format ratio139(*) he selects to the shooting angles adopted, in passing by his use of camera movements; his style has become recognizable. These stylistic elements, however, are not just formal figures; they reflect Lynch's personal approach to cinema.

His films are generally shot in anamorphic wide screen, accentuating the width of the image. Lynch explains this preference to Chris Rodley in Lynch on Lynch:

I like CinemaScope better. It's harder to shoot in it, because the lenses aren't quite as fast, so there are little compromises, but it's a great ratio. Incredible. It's the ratio of the rectangle. Composing for it you can get some beautiful surprises.140(*)

This ratio combined with wide-angle lenses composes images of a tensed complexity across the screen. The series of shots at Ben's place in Blue Velvet, for instance: the scene is crossed by lines of tension going from one side to the other and has Franck as centre, but visually the scene is centered on Dorothy. Thus another axis articulates the scene in its depth, going from Dorothy and the door at the back of the room guarded by three women - behind which is kept her son. The rectangle ratio allows the scene to be filmed in a series of large shots encompassing several characters distributed in various combinations in space, instead of using a systematic shot-reverse shot editing. These large shots emphasize the spatial relationships between the characters (see Fig. 1).

A scene in Lost Highway is another example of the use of the possibilities of the large ratio: it is when Renee finds another videotape on their doorstep. It is a long static shot of the Madison's sitting room; at the top centre of the frame, beside the kitchen door, there is a little table with a lighted lamp on which Renee leaves the envelop with the tape before going into the kitchen. Fred appears at the bottom right and, while exchanging some remark about the dog next door with Renee off-screen, his trajectory is ineluctably drawn toward the little table. Having found the tape, he goes to the left of the frame to insert it in the video recorder and then goes to the right to sit down on the coach where Renee eventually join him to watch the tape (see Fig. 2). Fred is thus covering the cinematic space from one side to another: From the bottom up and to the left and right. This composition highlights the tensions provoked by the tape in the household, but also Fred's difficulties to situate himself.

The sense of depth in Lynch's images is often given by characters moving from the back toward the camera and exiting off-screen space after having passed the camera. This type of shot is mentioned by Abbas Kiarostami talking about the influences on his work of the cinema of Charlie Chaplin141(*). The camera waits for the character to come nearer, leisurely like in the shot of the first appearance of the tramp in The Kid (1915), or rushing, like in many chase scenes, and eventually brushing pass the camera, on either side. The space thus crossed is made vividly present to the spectator, and it also emphasizes a sense of expectation.

Lynch has brought that sense of expectation to a maximum in a couple of scenes. In Eraserhead, when Henri, hearing a knock, opened his door on darkness from which slowly emerges, after what seems like eternity, the face of his beautiful neighbour. There is a similar scene in Blue Velvet, for the first appearance of Sandy, the camera frames the portion of dark space from which her voice came from, and Sandy appears.

This filling of the screen space can also be found in a sort of reverse figure of the tracking shot made by Stanley Kubrick and described by Michel Chion. David Lynch often uses tracking shots in a backward movement. Instead of following the advancing character, the camera precedes him, pointing back, thus the viewer cannot see where the character is going. The resulting impression of the shot, far from the: `I appropriate the space I cross: I clear the space before me' of the Kubrick's, is that the character is going to be absorbed by the space toward which he advances.

The first meeting between special agent Dale Cooper and the sheriff Harry Truman, in the pilot episode of Twin Peaks is an interesting example of this use of camera movement. The scene is filmed in one long shot with a wide-angle lens. Cooper and Truman meet at the end of a hospital corridor, the camera is about half way down. As remarked Michel Chion about Lynch's style for the series, this made the characters quite small:

His long shots were vaster and deeper than the American cinema and, a fortiori, television usually dares to make them, so that the characters are reduced to the size of peas.142(*)

This moment is the usual confrontation of local and federal authority, after introducing themselves; they start walking down the corridor toward the camera. They exchange some trivia about travel and pies. Truman welcomes Cooper as they reach the camera, which start back-tracking them. Suddenly serious, Cooper brings Truman, and the camera, to a stop, and he asserts his authority in the proceedings concerning the murder. Truman, however, reiterates his welcome, the problem of precedence has thus been cleared. With a childlike delight on his face, Cooper then asks:

`What kind of fantastic trees have you got growing around here?' thus submitting to the local knowledge of the sheriff. All tension is then gone; they resume walking, preceded by the camera, sharing equal space. Cooper does not conquer Twin Peaks; he becomes part of it (see Fig. 3).

This tendency in Lynch's film to let the characters come to the camera echoes a particularity of Lynch's heroes pointed out by Martha Nochimson; their receptivity:

In film narrative this has translated for Lynch into a heroic ideal opposed to the prevalent Hollywood understanding of the hero as one who takes control by means of violent domination strategies. For Lynch, a hero tends to be one who can unlearn that absurd lesson, one who can become receptive to life.143(*)

Like Lynch's heroes, his camera does not conquer the world, but waits for the world to come to make itself known. In Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me, the first image the viewer is given of the living Laura Palmer is a back tracking shot. Laura is walking forward, along the street, enjoying the sunshine on her face, a small smile on her lips. She is coming toward the spectator, filling the screen with her presence. This image almost feel like a gift to the viewer of the series Twin Peaks, who only ever saw Laura Palmer as a photograph or a body wrapped in plastic.

Lynch also regularly uses other types of camera movements, such as forward tracking, crane or aerial shots, but they are seldom identified with a character. In fact they often seem to indicate a super-natural presence. The opening of The Straight Story is a series of aerial shots of the farm belt country before the camera moves down to the window of Alvin Straight, the main protagonist. This aerial presence will accompany him during his subsequent journey through the American midlands as Michel Chion described it:

Finally Alvin leaves with his strange apparatus. From then on, ground level scenes of his travel will alternate with shots made from helicopter. These shots as well as describing the countryside crossed, seem to mirror the ground journey with another in the sky, tracing an imaginary trajectory, more sinuous, above and around the slow and linear progression of Alvin on his land mower. Like if another character or a guardian angel was accompanying him.144(*)

Aerial shots are usually used as establishing shots: to set the scene to come. The sense of presence inherent to these shots in The Straight Story gives them another dimension (see Fig. 4). There was a similar opening sequence in Charles Laughton's The Night of the Hunter (1955), where the series of aerial and crane shots ended in with a medium shot of Harry Powell addressing himself to his avenging God.145(*)

Another example of aerial shots is found in Mulholland Drive, they occur at regular intervals, hovering over Los Angeles. The shots move slowly over the skyline, or look down the skyscrapers to the streets below. Whereas the aerial shots of The Straight Story were usually accompanied by Angelo Badalamenti's ballads - contributing to their benign presence - in Mulholland Drive, they are scored by a low droning sound, enforcing a sense of threat over the city (see Fig. 5).

The sense of threat, of obscure forces at work, is constant in Mulholland Drive and is generally conveyed by the movements of camera. Like the tracking shot coming down the street toward the Club Silencio's door while Betty and Rita enter; it starts slowly very close to the ground and accelerates progressively until it crosses the door and penetrates the Club (see Fig. 6).

This sense of an advancing penetrating threat was also present in Lost Highway, particularly in the shots from the videotapes the Madison find on their doorstep. The video camera goes further into their intimacy with each tape. The internal structure of the house evokes an organism with corridors more like arteries. The last tape shows an odd tracking shot moving toward the bedroom from a high angle position and disclosing Fred murdering his wife.

A scene in Mulholland Drive plays the game of identification in a disconcerting manner: when Betty learns from a phone call to her aunt that Rita is in fact an absolute stranger. While she talks on the phone the camera moves away in the house to the bedroom where Rita is waking up. Then Betty enters to confront Rita with her lie. The movement of the camera is made from a person walking point of view but it could not be either of the occupants of the house. The slippage is slight but enough to introduce unease in the so far idyllic world of Betty; it may be taken as a forerunner of the composite nature of her identity.

The already-mentioned use of unusual camera angles emphasizing a variety of perspectives that are unsettling to the viewer is another aspect of Lynch's style. As was commented by Michel Chion about Fire Walk With Me:

From a visual standpoint, however, the film's most original and striking aspect is its use of subtly upsetting shooting angles and frames, generating a sense of imbalance.146(*)

Ron Garcia, the cinematographer of the film, who also worked on the pilot of the series Twin Peaks, tells Stephen Pizzello some of the differences between the two shootings:

`We got a bit more unbalanced in the design of the film, using high and low angles. The high-angled shots reflect an angelic presence that continues throughout the film, with an unseen angel looking down the evil events below.'147(*)

The importance of the camera angles to generate a particular perspective had already been used in Blue Velvet. The shot, at the beginning of the film, which is going through the grass at ground level to find a mass of scrambling insects, is an often-mentioned one. Less spectacularly perhaps, but just as unsettling, is the scene between Dorothy and Frank in her apartment, as seen by Jeffrey hiding in the closet. The cinematographer, Frederic Elmes recounts the shooting to Ron Magid:

`Another consideration was that many of the scenes in which Jeffrey is in the closet take place from his point of view. A suitable arrangement was necessary so the audience would believe that he could see as much as he does from such a constrained vantage point. [...] We never shot anything that he couldn't actually see from the closet. The set was designed in such a way that the closet was in a special spot where Jeffrey can see the living room, he can see down the hall to the bathroom, and he can see part of the kitchen, but he can't see around the corner which is the place where Dorothy sneaks up on him with the knife.'148(*)

The subjectivity of the shots is further accentuated by the sound effects echoing the emotions of the characters. When Jeffrey, while waiting in Dorothy's apartment for her return to be signalled by Sandy, flushes the toilets, it sounds like a waterfall. Or when Henri in Eraserhead waits for the return of his beautiful neighbour, the sense of expectation is projected into the magnified sounds of the building, which could announce her coming: the elevator ascension, the opening of the door, the footsteps in the corridor and so on.

The cinema of David Lynch never offers a comfortable position from which the viewer might look upon the action. Even reassuringly controlled establishing-shots are permeated by a sense of presence, which cannot be identified with any certainty. The screen is a surface sensitive to the movements and energies emanating from the characters relationships. The different attributes of this cinema convey the image of a world infinitely layered by its multiple perspectives and crossed by flux of energies, which cannot be controlled.




What is meant is a style of composition which, with more or less tectonic means, makes of the picture a self-contained entity, pointing everywhere back to itself, while, conversely, the style of open form everywhere points out beyond itself and purposely looks limitless, although, of course, secret limits continue to exist, and make it possible for the picture to be self-contained in the aesthetic sense.149(*)

Heinrich Wölfflin, Principles of Art History.

The preceding chapter developed an approach to the shot and how its conception reflected a certain vision of the world; this chapter is concerned with the organization of those shots: the montage.

The authors of Aesthetics of Film define montage as the larger realm of editing. Editing is the technical term for a process that can be `summarized by its three large operations: selection, assembly, and final cutting.'150(*) The authors further add:

The objects upon which the editing operates are shots of a film; hence, editing consists of manipulating the shots in order to construct another object - the film.151(*)

The notion of montage proceeds from the functions of editing but they are encompassed within a larger definition:

Montage is the principle governing the organization of film elements, both visual and audio, or the combination of these elements, by juxtaposing them, connecting them, and/or controlling their duration.152(*)

Aumont and his co-authors precise that the notion of montage is only interesting `within a theoretical and analytical perspective.'153(*) Montage is the aesthetic dimension of editing. According to Sergei M. Eisenstein (1898-1948) `montage is the whole of the film, the Idea.'154(*)

Thus, if editing was first used by Edwin S. Porter for The Great Train Robbery in 1903, the first to have integrated editing into a whole system of representation is David Wark Griffith (1875-1948) with The Birth of a Nation in 1914. In 1925, Eisenstein will push further the possibilities of montage with The Battleship Potemkin. During his life Eisenstein will develop, through his films, teaching and writings, a theoretical system based on the concept of montage.

Different conceptions of montage were developed in the United States, the Soviet Union, France and Germany during the 1920s. In Hollywood however, it is the conception of Griffith which dominated its development. Deleuze describes the montage according to Griffith, as the composition of a `great organic unity':

The organism is, firstly, unity in diversity, that is a set of differentiated parts. [...] The parts must necessarily act and react on each other in order to show how they simultaneously enter into conflict and threaten the unity of the organic set, and how they overcome the conflict or restore the unity.155(*)

Thus diversity only exists as a part of the overall unity; it is contained within this unity. The form of the classical Hollywood film contains diversity through the «narrativization» of the events as Stephen Heath explains in Questions of Cinema:

The classical economy of film is its organization as organic unity and the form of that economy is narrative, the narrativization of film. [...] The narration is to be held on the narrated, the enunciation on the enounced; filmic procedures are to be held as narrative instances (very much as `cues'), exhaustively, without gap or contradiction.156(*)

Heath affirms that it is this process of narrativization that acts as containment rather than the supposed transparency of the medium, which has often been associated with the classical cinema:

What is sometimes vaguely referred to as «transparency» has its meaning in this narrativization: the proposal of a discourse that disavows its operations and positions in the name of a signified that it proposes as its pre-existent justification. «Transparency», moreover, is entirely misleading in so far as it implies that narrativization has necessarily to do with some simple «invisibility.»157(*)

Thus what the classical film tries to eliminate in its containment of the events, is the possibility of diversity, a heterogeneity which would not be absorbed in the organic unity. Heath sums up this process:

Narrativization is scene and movement, movement and scene, the reconstruction of the subject in the pleasure of that balance (with genres as specific instances of equilibrium) - for homogeneity, containment. What is foreclosed in the process is not its production - often signified as such, from genre instances down to this or that «impossible» shot - but the terms of the unity of that production (narration on narrated, enunciation on enounced), the other scene of its vision of the subject, the outside - heterogeneity, contradiction, history - of its coherent address.158(*)

This analysis of the conditions of production of the classical film is further echoed by the authors of Film Theory, An Introduction: `the fundamental point is that classical cinema does not efface the signs of its production, it contains them'159(*).

This containment is achieved by a strict articulation of symmetries and asymmetries as well as the use of variations and repetitions as is developed by Lapsley and Westlake quoting Raymond Bellour in an analysis of Alfred Hitchcock's film The Birds (1963):

`Symmetry and asymmetry develop in a condensed series, in a dual movement of centring and decentring'. That is, the asymmetry opened up by the progression of the plot is contained and offset by the system of formal symmetries in the narration. Bellour's analyses powerfully demonstrated that fundamental to the working of narrative is the play of repetition and difference.160(*)

The films of Hitchcock are often taken as examples that show perfect control of the cinematic space within the frame as well as within the film. It is a scene from Hitchcock's Suspicion (1941) that Stephen Heath chooses to comment on in Questions of Cinema. Two police inspectors come to visit Lina informing her of events that can only further her suspicions about the behaviour of her husband Johnnie. Heath points to the continuation of the action `within a movement of rhyme and balance, of sustained coherence' between the arrival of the inspectors to the moment of their departure. 161(*) He concludes:

The coherence is clear - the end comes round to the beginning, one shot echoing the other in the resolution of rhyme - at the same time that the distance travelled forward in the scene is registered, space redefined in the light of the dramatization effected.162(*)

This control over the action is given a Freudian perspective by Lapsley and Westlake:

The suggestion is that texts are characteristically economies of repetition and variation, involving symmetry and asymmetry, aimed at establishing mastery over a lack.163(*)

However, the Freudian theory of containment also introduces the possibility of disintegration, as the authors of Film Theory pursue:

If, as has been suggested, narrative involves an act of containment, then, according to Freud, it can never be entirely successful since the repressed is always liable to return to trouble the sought-for unity and homogeneity of the text.164(*)

The foreclosure is thus never completed. The possibility of disintegration is present within the scene of Suspicion described by Heath, at the entrance of the two inspectors:

The composition is faultless, the framing describes the theatricality of the inspectors' entry (the ring at the door, the interruption, the unknown), with the columns, steps and walls providing a stage effect, the characters are centred, perspective is sharp: the image is in every sense clearly directed. But not quite. Out of the action, breaking the clarity of direction, obstinately turned away, one of the inspectors is pulling to the left, gazing abruptly at something hidden from us.165(*)

What the inspector Benson is looking at is revealed to the spectator, in a later shot, as a Picasso cubist painting hung in the entrance hall. Benson will remain absorbed in his contemplation of the painting while the maid comes to escort them in; he has to be called back by the other inspector. This sequence will repeat itself on their way out, as Lina accompanies them to the door, Benson is again pulled away from the scene by his fascination for the painting. As Heath points out this `painting has no reason, is useless, beyond the limits of the film,'166(*) he concludes:

Benson's painting [...] has its effect as missing spectacle: problem of point of view, different framing, disturbance of the law and its inspectoring eye, interruption of the homogeneity of the narrative economy, it is somewhere else again, another scene, another story, another space.167(*)

It is as if Hitchcock had wanted to introduce the irreducibility of diversity even in the most constructed framework. Characters and events can never be perfectly contained. This ambiguity in Hitchcock's films is also present in the structure of The Birds, as analysed by Noël Burch in Theory of Film Practice:

Here the entire structure, even the actual style of the film is implicit in the subject itself, the gradual destruction of the American dream, of the sterile and comfortable fantasies of middle-class life as Hollywood depicts it. Starting with the first peck of a bird's beak on Tippi Hedren's forehead, middle-class reality is progressively contaminated by violence; the film's entire development is based on this spread of violence, which underlies both the individual images and the over-all découpage. The film, like the subject on which it is based, has a beginning, but it does not have an end, or if it does, it is buried under the millions of birds that have invaded the screen (the world). The Birds is a film in which everything at every level derives directly from the premise laid down by the basic plot.168(*)

Thus the original unity is not restored; the heterogeneous elements - the birds - are neither eliminated nor controlled. There is no easy resolution, the ending points out toward possibilities, not certainties, for the characters escaping in the early dawn. Hitchcock probes deliberately at those gaps full of uncertainty and diversity within the classical system, which cannot be eliminated as pointed out by Lapsley and Westlake:

Beneficent or not, (classical) narrative cinema offers the illusion of contradiction resolved when in reality it yields nothing of the sort.169(*)

Other forms of narrativity have tried to accommodate the diversity of the event as a principle of montage and thus open up the possibilities.


The picture ceases to be an architecture. In the figure the architectonic factors are the secondary ones. The significant element of form is not the scaffolding, but the breath of life which brings flux and movement into the rigid form. In the one case, the values of being, in the other, the value of change. In the one case, beauty resides in the determinate, in the other, in the indeterminate.170(*)

Heinrich Wölfflin, Principles of Art History

In Theory of Film Practice, Noël Burch has quoted André Hodeir's definition of form:

The form of a work is that mode of being which ensures its unity while tending to promote, at the same time, the greatest possible diversity.171(*)

Thus positing the notion of form as compatible with diversity, not as its containment but as its expression.

The differences in the conception of the frame can help to understand the differences of conception of the whole of the film. The frame determines the relationship between the on-screen and the off-screen space. The off-screen space is defined in Aesthetics of Film:

The off-screen may be defined as the collection of elements (characters, settings...) that, while not being included in the image itself are nonetheless connected to that visible space in imaginary fashion for the spectator.172(*)

Quoting Noël Burch, Stephen Heath goes further in the implications of the off-screen possibilities:

Burch writes that `off-screen space has only an intermittent or, rather, fluctuating existence during any film, and structuring this fluctuation can become a powerful tool in a film-maker's hands'. The term «fluctuation» is excellent, yet it must be seen that the work of classical continuity is not to hide or ignore off-screen space but, on the contrary, to contain it, to regularize its fluctuation in a constant movement of reappropriation.173(*)

The difference of interaction between what is in the frame and what is not is at the core of the distinction established by André Bazin between mask and frame. Gilles Deleuze in Cinema 1 elaborated on the two terms:

If we return to Bazin's alternative of mask or frame, we see that sometimes the frame works like a mobile mask according to which every set is extended into a larger homogeneous set with which it communicates, and sometimes it works as a pictorial frame which isolates a system and neutralises its environment. This duality is most clearly expressed in Renoir and Hitchcock; in the former space and action always go beyond the limits of the frame which only takes elements from an area; in the latter the frame `confines all the components', and acts as a frame for a tapestry rather than one for a picture or a play.174(*)

Deleuze goes on to say that the difference is between two conceptions of off-screen space:

All framing determines an off-screen space [out-of-field]. There are not two types of frame only one of which would refer to the space off-screen [out-of-field]; there are rather two very different aspects of the off-screen space [out-of-field], each of which refers to a mode of framing.175(*)

In Jean Renoir's La Règle du Jeu (1939), the space present on the screen is constantly crossed by characters moving in and out of frame. They talked to each other from on or off-screen space alike, so that the portion of space the spectator actually sees is in constant interaction with the portion he cannot, thus enforcing the impression of a larger world of which only a small portion happens to be on the screen.

In a Hitchcock composition, the space of the action is always inscribed very precisely within the frame. Each movement of the characters is not only furthering the action but is also signifying it at a symbolic level thus reinforcing the sense of cohesion or, as the case may be, disintegration. In the scene from Suspicion for instance, after Lina has closed the door on the two inspectors, she stands in the hall, emotionally trapped in the realms of her suspicions. This is the narrative situation however it is also signified in the composition of the frame: Lina stands alone, diminished by a high angle shot, in the projected shadows of the skylight over the hall which form web-like patterns. The composition thus echoes the meaning of the action in a symbolic order.176(*) When a gap is opened in the composition, the Picasso painting of Benson for instance, it is somewhat like a slip of the tongue in an otherwise controlled speech.

This difference in the framing also has implications over the sense of place. In the Hitchcock example, the place is a direct emanation of the characters; they complement and echo each other. The existence of the place is borne out of the action. Whereas in Renoir's La Règle du Jeu, places are given a presence extending beyond the action. The characters never quite settle into the frame, always on their way somewhere else, on the contrary the places give a sense of permanence; be it a luxurious house in Paris, a countryside mansion or the surrounding woods, they will be there when the action has moved on.

For instance, the scene where the car is seen crashing on the side of the road is followed by a static shot of a stretch of grass. While the spectator hears, off-screen, the voices of André Jurieu and Octave approaching, the on-screen space remains empty for several seconds before the characters fill the frame and stop to argue. This composition of on-screen space and the off-screen sound emphasizes the sense that the characters are only passing through. Their actions happen to coincide with certain places, but there is no sense of belonging.177(*)

These examples show how the film, through its framing and montage, relates to the world. How the content can be firmly encapsulated into the form, or the form opened so as to accommodate a fluctuating content. The use of the off-screen space as well as a sense of place exceeding its strict narrative function can be ways to disrupt the classical equilibrium. The viewer is permitted to move in a more complex representation, which does not pretend to resolve everything. As Stephen Heath concludes:

Which is to say, finally, that radical disturbance [...] can only be effectively grasped as a work that operates at the expense of the classical suppositions of «form» and «content» in cinema, posing not autonomies but contradictions in the process of film and its narrative-subject binding.178(*)


Also anti-humanist in character was the abolition of the balance between body and soul, mind and matter. The precept sequere naturam amounted to the principle of mens sana in corpore sano that is to say, equilibrium between mind and body; aesthetically it implied the perfect equilibrium of form and content, the total absorption of content in form. In the new art that broke with the principles of the Renaissance and of humanism the content bursts through, shatters and distorts.179(*)

Arnold Hauser, Mannerism.

In Lynch on Lynch, David Lynch talks about the filming process: how it is only when all the elements are together that things start to happen.180(*) He often insists on the process of action and reaction:

It's action and reaction all the way along, so the film's never finished till it's finished. It's always a work-in-progress until the very end.181(*)

The form is not pre-determinated to accommodate a given content; both grow and evolve together. The meaning is never settled before it has taken form. This approach is echoed by the following comment in Film Theory:

As with Freud's insistence that the meaning of a dream resides in the dreamwork, that there is no meaning prior to its formalisation, so here form and content are seen to be inseparable.182(*)

Given the importance of dreams in Lynch's films, the comparison is particularly resonant. This method of working gives his films an organic feel, not in the sense of a unified organism, but rather as if the parts were an organic matter growing out of each other.

The whole formed by the film often seems like an unfinished process, as if it could expand further. This may come from Lynch's conception of a film as a world to get lost in. As Lynch described his filmic process to Chris Rodley, he recounts the Eraserhead experience:

You've got to be in that world. That's why Eraserhead was so beautiful for me because I was able to sink into that world and live there. There was no other world. I hear songs sometimes that people say were popular at the time, and I haven't a clue, and I was there. And that's the most beautiful thing - to get lost in a world.183(*)

This desire to get lost in a world may have been the incentive to do a television series. The possibility to go on forever is evoked by David Lynch when speaking about Twin Peaks:

Tony knew that I've never liked having to bend my movie scripts to an end halfway through. On a series you can keep having beginnings and middles and develop story forever.184(*)

The same idea appears in another quote in Michel Chion's David Lynch: `I liked the idea of a story in episodes that would go on for a long time.'185(*) Upon which Chion establishes:

In Twin Peaks Lynch is able to evolve unusual dimensions to the story more naturally than in many of his other films because the series offers the possibility of gradually drawing the spectator into a different world. [...] Television is a room-sized medium whose limitations in screen size and sound are compensated for by a larger duration: `Television is all telephoto lens where cinema is wide-angle. In movies you can play a symphony whereas on television you just get a grating sound. The only advantage is that the grating can be continuous.'186(*)

Chion also points out that Lynch's films often feel tight within the limitation in length of the commercial film of cinema even though most of his films run beyond two hours.

The appeal to make television series remained with Lynch after Twin Peaks, unfortunately none of his other projects extended beyond a few episodes. On the Air (1992) which reiterated the collaboration, initiated for Twin Peaks, with Mark Frost, was cancelled after the seventh episode for lack of audience, and Hotel Room (1992) did not survive its pilot.187(*) His latest attempt in the field of television series, Mulholland Drive, could have ended up as an unfinished pilot for ABC networks, if it had not been rescued by Studiocanal productions and transformed, with added material, into a feature length film.188(*)

If Lynch's films are generally a world on their own, Mulholland Drive is particularly so. It may be because of its origin as the pilot of a series; the film seems to concentrate in 146 minutes, the potential for a multi season series. Many scenes in Mulholland Drive may have been conceived as beginnings for stories to be developed later, however in the feature film they form an accumulation of details adding up to a substantial and complex world expanding well beyond what the viewer is given to see.

The two-time production of the film - first as pilot and then as feature film - is projected in the two parts construction of the film. A first part corresponding to the pilot and the second, to the material added for the film. This structure has been interpreted quite literally by some reviewers. It is not that simple, however, and the film is a good example of Lynch's method of working with the accident. Talking about the texture of paint and the artificiality of the brush, he said to Chris Rodley:

After you make a whole bunch of brush strokes, it's something else. It's not the paint talking; it's too much of the person. So you've gotta let accidents and strange things happen - let it work, so it's got an organic sort of quality.189(*)

Furthermore, it was not the first time that Lynch worked with a two-part structure for a film, thus as Jared Rapfogel reluctantly concedes, the complexity of the articulation of the two parts far exceeds its production agenda:

He [Lynch] suggests, but only suggests, that the story we've been following is a kind of dream, giving a new weight and significance to what has come before by casting it in retrospect into the realm of idealized fantasy. Without solving the puzzle, he takes the movie to a deeper, darker, and more imaginatively resonant place. I'm reluctant to say that it redeems the whole movie, but by adding a dimension and creating a whole set of relationships and tensions between the two parts, Lynch certainly succeeds in transforming an unresolved and apparently disappointing TV pilot into a film with a shape and a wholeness of its own, a film which is somehow more than the sum of its parts.190(*)

Lynch had twice before experimented with this type of two-part structure: with Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me and with Lost Highway. The former was composed of a prologue on the Teresa Banks case in Deer Meadow, happening a year before the murder of Laura Palmer. Thus the cut seems to be a rather straightforward time jump. But the film is also a prequel to the series Twin Peaks, so that the prologue is an interface between the series and the second part relating the last days in the life of Laura Palmer. As Michel Chion remarked, the prologue in Deer Meadow is like an inverted Twin Peaks:

The series is part of the film, only turned inside out, as one might expect from Lynch's peculiar sense of humour and distinctive logic. Especially in the first part of the prologue, all the aspects of Twin Peaks are inverted.191(*)

Chion goes on to oppose, term by term, elements of the series and elements of the prologue of Fire Walk With Me, such as the attitude of the sheriff - so welcoming in Twin Peaks and so hostile in Deer Meadow -to the quality of the coffee - notoriously good in Twin Peaks and either too old or too weak in Deer Meadow - in passing by the status of the victim - the lonely drifter nobody cares about has opposed to the pride of Twin Peaks community: its homecoming queen.192(*) Thus the interplay between the parts is more complex than it may appear at first. The film was badly received by critics and public alike when it was released, Michel Chion went some way to redeem its qualities, concluding:

He [Lynch] failed, many viewers losing interest in Laura's drama, but it was a glorious failure in which, by way of numerous successfully realised and original scenes, Lynch expanded and extended the cinema from within through its daring narrative structure.193(*)

And it may be that the potential of this narrative structure is more evident after having been developed by Lynch in subsequent films, so that what may have appear clumsy at the time of the release of Fire Walk With Me is now seen to be deliberate.

Lost Highway followed, although there was a five year gap in-between features. It is also a film in two parts but unlike its predecessor there is not even the semblance of an easy articulation between the two. The film is basically the trajectory of one individual, albeit he changes name and appearance half way through. The film is articulated around the scene of metamorphosis of Fred Madison, played by Bill Pullman into Pete Dayton played by Balthazar Getty. The degree of correlation between the two characters is difficult to establish, Pete Dayton being a quite different person from Fred Madison as well as living in a different area of Los Angeles. So that the two parts seem at first completely disconnected if it was not for the strange scene in the death-row cell where in place of the condemned Fred Madison, the guardians discover in the morning, Pete Dayton, a young mechanic (see Fig. 7).

However a certain number of elements from the first part gradually filtered through: Pete cannot bear to hear Fred's saxophone on the radio, a Mr Eddy is a regular customer and the blonde Alice accompanying him has an uncanny likeness to Fred's wife, Renee. What seemed to be a new beginning is gradually brought around with the multiplication of correlations with the first part; Mr Eddy is Dick Laurent declared dead in the opening sentence of the film, Andy is the mysterious friend of Alice, just as he was Renee's, Renee and Alice are together on a photograph with Mr Eddy and Andy, and after making love in the middle of the desert Pete reverts into Fred. Thierry Jousse has commented that:

Everything in Lost Highway is two-fold, the characters, the situations, the objects, and every element can only be perceived through a network of correlations specific to the film. The spectator is taken into an integrated circuit, an involutive loop inside of which he has to invent his own markers.194(*)

After this reverted mutation, and the discovery that Alice and Renee are one and the same (in the photograph where they both figured when Pete looked at it, only Renee is still there when the detectives find it) the film accomplishes full circle and the end comes round to the beginning; with Fred announcing into his own interphone that Dick Laurent is dead. In an article by Stephen Pizzello, Lynch's remarks are quoted as follows:

Lynch understands full well that the visceral and often oblique visions presented in Lost Highway may frustrate and even antagonize audiences, but he has often said that he prefers his pictures to remain open to many interpretations. «Stories have tangents; they open up and become different things,» the director maintains. «You can still have a structure, but you should leave room to dream. If you stay true to your ideas, film-making becomes an inside-out, honest kind of process. And if it's an honest thing for you, there's a chance that people will feel that, even if it's abstract.»195(*)

After making The Straight Story, Lynch comes back to a two-part structure with Mulholland Drive. The film has echoes from the correlations systems of both Fire Walk With Me and Lost Highway.

As Fire Walk With Me, the second part is a sort of inverted image of the first part. Diane is the inverted image of Betty, or her remains as interpreted by Martha Nochimson:

Diane Selwyn, the detritus that remains after Betty's immersion in the Roquean darkness of depleted imaginative vision, inhabits a room desaturated of colour: we have found the trembling figure of the main title and know it to be the defeat of Betty's initial possibilities.196(*)

Diane's grim world comes as a pendant to the sunny one of Betty. But like Lost Highway the film is articulated around the transformation of the main character, even though Diane retains Betty's appearance and both are played by Naomi Watts. The two parts of film are divided by a waking up scene where various times seem to adjust themselves. The nearly similar images of the rotting corpse of Diane Selwyn in the first part (Lyssie Powell) and the sleeping body of Naomi Watts' Diane, quickly succeed each other, punctuated by the «cow-boy» appearance in the bedroom doorway saying: `Hey pretty girl time to wake up'. So even if it is not as literal as in Lost Highway it is a metamorphosis of sorts (see Fig. 8).

Mulholland Drive also presents a complex system of correlations between the two parts, with a variable degree of alteration affecting the various elements. Some characters remain stable through: the «cow-boy» the Castigliane brothers, the hit-man, Diane's neighbour or Adam; others change name and positions but not their persona: Coco or Camilla Rhode; and elements that change name position and persona: Betty and Rita. As for the Blue Key, it passes from a mysterious triangular key to an ordinary latchkey. The instability of the translation from one part to another make it difficult to ascertain the relationship between the two parts. Rather than a dream/reality relationship they are more like the two intermingled layers of an ever shifting world.

Different from its predecessors, however, Mulholland Drive has a strong symmetrical structure with a number of scenes repeated in both part of the film. The previous Lynch's film with a strong symmetrical structure was Blue Velvet. From the opening triptych of white picket fence/tulips/fire-truck which also closed the film, to the plunging into and coming out of the ear as the signpost of Jeffrey's rite of passage, as well as the regular alternation of scenes with Dorothy and with Sandy, Blue Velvet had a well ordained progression of symmetries and asymmetries.

Thus Mulholland Drive has a series of scene to scene symmetries: Betty first appears with an elderly couple, as a radiant image superimposed over dancing couples, she last appears with Rita in the same surreal radiance; Betty arrives in Los Angeles with the elderly couple, whom she met in the plane, they are seen sniggering at her naivety, and they are still sniggering when they come back at the end as malignant gnomes driving Diane to commit suicide and thus accompany her out of L.A; the credits roll over the slow progression of a Limousine on Mulholland Drive with Rita in the back seat, when the car stops unexpectedly the drivers reveal themselves to be assassins here to kill Rita, toward the end the scene is repeated with Diane in it, and the unexpected stop has been done at the instigation of Camilla to surprise Diane; Betty and Rita go to Winkie after having called the police and they are being served by a waitress named Diane, it is also in Winkie that Diane will meet the hit-man she wants to contract to kill Camilla and they are being served by the same waitress but this time she is named Betty; a scene at Adam's villa, from which he is being kicked off by his wife and her lover, is echoed by a reception in the same villa given by Adam to announce his wedding with Camilla; the tender love making scene between Betty and Rita becomes a provocative and aggressive sex scene between Diane and Camilla. There is also a repetition of certain shots such as the telephone with the red lampshade which is answered by Diane in the second part, as well as some narrative elements responding to each other like the «Sylvia North Story» which is the film Adam is making and happens to be the one which made Camilla Rhode famous but with a different director. The list goes on.

Whereas the classical narrative use symmetries and asymmetries to further the plot while circumventing it, in Mulholland Drive they seem to enter into an endless resonating system. Instead of measuring the exact change effected in between repetition, it seems to spiral off into infinite speculations. The doubling-up of the events sends them into a symbolic realm which does not function as a capping-off of the meaning of the action but to its proliferation. Michel Chion commented on the apparently simple use of the shots in Elephant Man:

The simplicity of the shots, which some could mistake for stiffness and classicism, is thus a way of preserving a mythic dimension. In the Elephant Man, Lynch creates an atmosphere of ritual theatre frozen to the spot.197(*)

Lynch uses the means of classicism in composition but for another result. No more than the symmetric structure of Blue Velvet conveyed the expected sense of closure - too many problems remained unresolved and Sandy's robin appearing at the kitchen window, who should have been sealing the happy ending, was too strangely artificial to be quite satisfying - does the tight web of repetitions of Mulholland Drive resolves anything. Quite the contrary, the more there are correlations between the two parts, the more the meanings multiply.

Thus the composition of the film is controlled by the strict agency of symmetries, asymmetries, repetitions and differences, but only as an ever mounting tension between the events and thus signalling their irreducibility to a single interpretation.


We can also see that the perceptions of our senses, even when clear, must necessarily contain some confused feeling. For since all bodies in the universe are in sympathy, ours receives the impressions of all the others, and although our senses bear relations to everything, it is not possible for our soul to attend to everything in all of its particulars. Thus our confused feelings are the result of a variety of perceptions which is indeed infinite - very like the confused murmur a person hears when approaching the sea-shore, which comes from the putting together of the reverberations of innumerable waves. For if several perceptions do not come together to make one, and there is no one which stands out above all the others, and if they all make impressions which are more or less equally strong and equally capable of catching its attention, the soul can only perceive them confusedly.198(*)

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics.

The fabric of Lynch's films often feels like a thin membrane easily permeated by elements foreign to its action; moments of eternity slipped in between two shots, glimpses of a space persisting beyond the action, or a sound with no explanation. These elements generally contribute to the impression that the characters do not control their fate, or that it is controlled by something else.

The few seconds too long that the elevator doors took to close on Henry, in Eraserhead, seemed like an eternity because that lapse of time could not be controlled, at least not by Henry. A similar sensation of extended time was felt in Mulholland Drive. When, just after Rita had penetrated Aunt Ruth's apartment, a shot, from Rita's point of view - hidden under the kitchen table - showed the kitchen door, a few seconds before eventually, Aunt Ruth entered the kitchen. The fear of being discovered accentuated the feeling of powerlessness.

There are also instances of the persistence of space after the characters are gone, but not gone because they left the place, but because they were edited out. In Blue Velvet, when the group of Frank's friends are leaving Ben's place, the last shot is on Frank in medium close-up screaming: `Let's fuck! I'll fuck anything that moves!' he then vanishes from the shot, which lasts a few seconds longer with the room emptied out of characters. The usually overpowering presence of Frank is thus undermined, he suddenly appears as a manipulated presence.

There is a strange scene in Mulholland Drive, just after Betty and Rita come back from Club Silencio, where they found the Blue Box. They go into Aunt Ruth's bedroom to try the Blue Key, the camera is following Rita and when she turns around Betty is gone. Rita then tried the key on the Blue Box, which open on a darkness into which she is seemingly absorbed. The Blue Box is seen falling on the carpet. Succeeds a shot of the switch on the wall, and Aunt Ruth enters, checks the room, in perfect order: no hat box on the bed, no Blue Box on the carpet, no traces whatsoever of the presence of Betty and Rita, she switches off the light. It is the same room but it does not seem to be in the same dimension to which Betty and Rita belong; it is the last scene before the waking-up scene.

A peculiarly permeable dimension of Lynch's films is the sound-track. Classically the sound-track is strictly correlated to the image as its audible dimension. This relationship is described by Stephen Heath:

The sound-track is hierarchically subservient to the image-track and its pivot is the voice as the presence of character in frame, a supplement to the dramatization of space, along with the accompanying `sound effects'.199(*)

But for Lynch the sound-track has its own dimension and he pays careful attention to its elaboration.200(*) Martha Nochimson describes Lynch approach to sounds:

He is not interested in what the illusionist understands as realistic sound. For him, film sound is not an illusion of a perfect mimesis of sound effects; it's another reflection of the multiple dimensionality of the film frame.201(*)

Michel Chion pointed out the very personal understanding of sound-track adopted by Lynch for Eraserhead:

However, the force of the film's sound concept lies especially in the absence of any continuity [separation] between the music and its overall atmosphere.202(*)

Thus the sound-track is often permeated by sounds which either have no visible source or are out of proportion in relation to that source. The latter type of sounds is often associated with a dysfunctional electrical installation, which is pointed out by Chris Rodley in interview with Lynch:

Many scenes in your films feature the failure of electricity: the faulty neons in the autopsy room in Twin Peaks; the buzzing light fittings in Dorothy Vallens' apartment block in Blue Velvet, for example. Electrical currents also seem to announce imminent danger or revelation, as in the strobe-light effect you use constantly in Twin Peaks. [...] Electricity becomes linked with the inexplicable.203(*)

To this list could be added the electrical atmosphere of the trailer park of Deer Meadow in Fire Walk With Me, or the buzzing light punctuating the meeting between Adam and the Cow-boy in Mulholland Drive.

There are also sounds which have no visible sources, often a wind or a breathing sound. Like in the aerial shots of Los Angeles in Mulholland Drive, or in Twin Peaks, where it often seems to be more than an ordinary wind agitating the branches of the Douglas firs. But it is probably in Lost Highway that the use of unexplained sounds is pushed furthest.


The infinite present in the finite self is exactly the position of baroque equilibrium or disequilibrium.204(*)

Gilles Deleuze, The Fold Leibniz and the Baroque.

The first part of Lost Highway is imbued by a sense of unease. Various elements are combined to convey that particular atmosphere, not the least of them is the sound-track. Fred Madison's part of the sound-track is dominated by a constant humming sound, which varies in intensity, sometimes so low the spectator is barely aware of it, but always present. When the sound stops, the feeling of release felt at the beginning of the second part confirms its otherwise omnipotent presence. Lynch explains how it was done in Lynch on Lynch:

Chris Rodley: Fred and Renee's house is full of deep rumbles, like an imminent Los Angeles earthquake - trouble from the very core of the planet.

David Lynch: Right. There's one channel of the six-tracks that's going to the subwoofer. There's so much power there, and it gets all that low stuff. There's an uneasiness there. You've gotta keep pushing the pressure, but you can't abuse it.205(*)

Because this first part is seen from Fred's point of view and that the sound seems to respond to his emotional states, it feels that it is coming from inside his head; the sound becomes louder as Fred's confusion is increased. It is as if a constant pressure was bearing down on him, and, as he is unable to find a release for it, it eventually reshapes him. The low sound suddenly reaches full intensity during the metamorphosis scene.

Thus if Lynch's films are not a sealed container, but are constantly permeated by other possible dimension, these are not of a reflexive nature nor an attempt to introduce a sense of real space and time. What is beyond is still part of Lynch's world; it is part of the multi-dimensional aspect of his film-worlds. What is confusedly perceived in the gaps, is not so much an impression of the reality beyond the narration, but rather another dimension of Lynch's world: a presence enveloping the world of the characters - maybe waiting to take shape, to accomplish the act of becoming.




In both styles unity is the chief aim, but in the one case unity is achieved by a harmony of free parts, in the other, by a union of parts in a single theme, or by the subordination, to one unconditioned dominant, of all other elements.206(*)

Heinrich Wölfflin, Principles of Art History

In a classical narrative film, the parts of the film are articulated in a clear sequence to highlight the logic of the chain of events. In each scene, each event occupies a distinct position within the clearly distributed narrative structure so as to forward the action to its resolution. What the studio system of production wishes for is to be presented with a film with a clearly laid out plan of all its scenes.

But many successful films, in artistic and/or commercial terms, did not go according to plan - As the stories around some famous «making of» have let known; such as Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola 1979) or Gone With the Wind (Victor Fleming 1939). This is because a film, classic or otherwise, does not actually exist until it is acted out, and many accidents can happen during this process. This is true of every artistic form, however conceptual a work of art, it does not really happen until it is inscribed in matter. It is even more manifest concerning film production; it has to bring together many disparate elements and for the cohesion to happen and make a film, it needs its own momentum which cannot be precisely planned. In as much as the film industry does not encourage this happening of the film, by `talking ideas to death' as Lynch says,207(*) independent filmmakers can also be just as limited by their will to control the ideas. This is what Jean-Luc Godard speaks of when he talks of `starting from the camera':

The camera is the true reverse-field of the spotlight, and good films starts from the reverse-field, from the camera. The films I liked in the last years [...] are all films needing the camera, starting from this need, to project what they have to say. Instead, most films starts with the spotlight, by what the filmmakers want to say before it has been shot. They violate the camera, they enslave it to a discourse, they say I am going to shoot that apple because this and that, because such and such said that...208(*)

In his seminars and writings Deleuze developed upon Leibniz's conception of soul and matter. In a seminar he said that: `The event cannot be inscribed in the soul without, at the same time, demanding a body to mark itself into.'209(*) For the event to happen, it has to, simultaneously, be actualised in the soul and realised in the matter, before that the event is still in the realm of the possible. This idea implies a dynamic notion of matter, what constitutes its texture is the movement of the event inscribed. Deleuze will thus develop the concept of the fold:

As a general rule the way [manner] a material is folded is what constitutes its texture. It is defined less by its heterogeneous and really distinct parts than by the style [manner] by which they become inseparable by virtue of particular folds.210(*)

Thus the folds of matter are its texture; through them the creative force is expressed. This idea is summed up by the philosopher John Rajchman in Constructions:

The baroque invents one possibility of fold and texture: there are the textures through which matter becomes «material» and the enfoldings of the soul through which form becomes «force». In the baroque as in Leibniz, the metaphysics of formed matter is replaced by a metaphysics of materials «expressing» forces.211(*)

Thus if the notion of texture is relevant to this study it is not so much in the tactile sense of the term than for the forces expressed within it. This finds some echoes in the observations Noël Burch made in the introduction to the English edition of his Theory of Film Practice:

A [...] point, especially important to this English-language edition, is that the [...] «technical» aspect of film, to which I give special attention, was most often referred to in the original French as écriture or facture, words that have generally had to be rendered as «style» and «texture». These words must be read as having more precise referents than is generally the case in English, always implying as they do to specifically material options of a «technical» nature (facture means texture in the articulative sense, écriture is graphic inscription as much as «style»).212(*)

This chapter is concentrating on the texture of film and how Lynch's ideas have become inscribed within the very fabric of the film.


The broad forms of the baroque style are part of a totally new conception of matter, that is of the ideal aspect of matter, which gives expression to the inner vitality, and behaviour of the members. [...] As matter becomes soft and masses fluid, structural cohesion is dissolved; the massiveness of the style, already expressed in the broad and heavy forms, is now also manifested in inadequate articulation and lack of precise forms.213(*)

Heinrich Wölfflin, Renaissance and Baroque

Ideas for Lynch are never an abstract term. He has often explained how his ideas are always accompanied by sensations, as in this quote in Stephen Pizzello's review of Lost Highway:

`Everything sort of follows my initial ideas', he offers. `As soon as I get an idea, I get a picture and a feeling, and I can even hear sounds. The mood and the visuals are very strong. Every single idea I have comes with these things'.214(*)

Lynch further develops his conception of ideas in Lynch on Lynch:

Ideas are the best things going. Somewhere there's all the ideas, and they're sitting there and once in a while one bob up and the idea is made known suddenly. Something is seen and known and felt all at once, and along with it comes a burst of enthusiasm and you fall in love with it.215(*)

But to be able to inscribe these ideas it is necessary to remain close to the associated sensations, otherwise the idea might be lost altogether, as he further explains:

And you've gotta be true to them because they're bigger than you first think they are. They're almost like gifts, and even if you don't understand them a hundred per cent, if you're true to them, they'll ring true at different levels. But if you alter them too much they won't even ring; they'll just sort of clank.216(*)

And this is where the notion of mood becomes important, it is in the mood of a scene that the feel of an idea can manifest itself; the mood of a scene will dictate the use of lighting as much as it gives the rhythm to the acting. The mood is something Lynch is sensitive to in other filmmakers' films. Richard Combs has quoted Lynch saying; `«I love Rear Window because it has such a mood and even though I know what's going to happen, I love being in that room and feeling that time. It's like I can smell it...» (Hollywood Reporter, October 6, 1986).'217(*)

Lynch's sensory approach to film is echoed by other critical response such as in this review saying that Eraserhead was a movie `to be experienced rather than explained'218(*). On Blue Velvet Charles Drazin remarked:

In Blue Velvet there is an intensity of perception, a looking for its own sake, that reaches beyond the surface of things. This compulsion to see has its unsavoury aspect, relishing, as it does, the bad every bit as much as the good [...] Lynch use texture, like sound and music to convey mood, it is a way of getting under the skin of the characters.219(*)

About Lost Highway Thierry Jousse pointed out how the sensory and rhythmic aspects of film took precedence over the narrative logic:

Signs float and do not join each other. The story looses its pre-eminence to fill a function essentially rhythmic or atmospheric. [...] Lynch is looking for an hyper-sensorial contact with his viewer, he aims to bring him to a particular state of receptivity, where he will simultaneously loose his footing and find a new relationship with excessively subtle perceptions flux, which of course are close from those possible to reach through drugs. It is the musical or ceremonial function of directing.220(*)

In his kit on Lynch's key terms, Michel Chion made an entry on the way David Lynch used texture in the wider sense:

For Lynch, the notion of texture has a very personal meaning, although it appears almost universal judging by the countless different contexts in which he refers to it. Texture, as he tries to present it in his films, involves superimposing different layers and levels of multiple meanings. In a broader sense, texture denotes the aspect of a surface or a skin, its patterns, its grain, micro-reliefs which appear whenever one erases words. In this second sense, texture refers to the idea of a fragment from the natural continuum, a close-up on the dress of nature.221(*)

Thus Lynch's films develop from ideas which manifest themselves through sensations which come together to form a mood. The mood is the sensual manifestation of the idea. It is in the accumulation of details and resonance that this mood is conveyed through light, sounds, colors, surfaces, faces, words and so on. Lynch's films proceed through accumulation rather than progression. This approach is echoed in Brian O'Doherty's essay on Citizen Kane:

The Baroque treats detail as a relative point, a relay in a larger scheme; it crowds details into clusters that themselves become units in another larger scheme as it telescopes upward; it fakes architecture, favors multiple viewpoints, plays with illusion. It is a perceptual storm around a concept.222(*)


Life is not only everywhere, but souls are everywhere in matter. Thus when an organism is called to unfold its own parts, its animal or sensitive soul is opened onto an entire theatre in which it perceives or feels according to its unity, independently of its organism yet inseparable from it.223(*)

Gilles Deleuze, The Fold, Leibniz and the Baroque

Lynch gives a precise attention to the cinematography of his films. The format and the sharpness of the image reinforce the presence of the visual element of the film. In her review of Blue Velvet, Pauline Kael described her first impressions of the film:

At the beginning, the wide images, (the film is shot in Cinemascope ratio: 2.35 to 1) are meticulously bright and sharp-edged; you feel that you're seeing every detail of architecture, the layout of homes and apartments, the furnishing and potted plants, the women's dresses. [...] Later the light is low, but all through this movie the colours are insistent, objects may suddenly be enlarged to fill the frame, and a tiny imagined sound may be amplified to a thunderstorm. The style may be described as hallucinatory clinical realism.224(*)

Further on, referring to the sensory aspect of the cinematography, Kael wrote: `real streets look like paintings you could touch - you feel as if you could moosh your fingers in the colors'.225(*) Thus the quality of the image emphasizes the perceptual presence of textures.

Lynch's films are generally associated with one particular texture which opens the film as remarked by Michel Chion:

Very early on, Lynch acquired the habit of opening his films, in the credits or just afterwards, with moving textures which associate the film with a certain material or substance.226(*)

The texture thus provides a sort of introductory theme to the film which will reappears at interval as an undertone. In Blue Velvet, for instance, the blue velvet theme appears at different levels. First, it is the texture of the undulating surface over which the opening credits rolls. Then, it is the song: Lynch declares in Lynch on Lynch, that it was the Bobby Vinton's version of the song Blue Velvet, `that sparked the movie'.227(*) And thus it plays on the soundtrack over the opening shots of the film. The song resounds again, but this time sung live by Dorothy in the Slow Club. And it is as her bathrobe that the texture of the opening shapes itself into of which a piece has been cut out and is later seen in Franck's hands; as a sexual accessory. Ultimately the cut out piece will be found stuck into the mouth of a dead man.

As a song, Blue Velvet evokes the softness of the night with its mysteries and fascinations and thus immediately overlay the sunny images of Lumberton with a darker undertone. The song is heard again in this version by Bobby Vinton when Jeffrey goes up the stairs to return to Dorothy's apartment the second time, filled with erotic possibilities.

As a material, the blue velvet can have different functions, as remarked by Pauline Kael about the unpretentiousness of the film: `Even that fetishized blue velvet robe is tacky, like something you could pick up in the red brick department on Main Street.'228(*) The texture could serve as a reality check to the alluring lyrics of the song. As Franck's tool, the blue velvet is used first for a brutal sex scene and then for a murder and thus could be the other side of the glamour the song promised.

When Chris Rodley asked David Lynch what enticed him to do Dune, he answered: `I thought about waves - water waves, sand waves, waves motion, symbols, repetition of shapes, connecting threads.'229(*) Thus the opening credits for Dune roll on waves of sand with a full orchestral score. However, as Michel Chion pointed out, Lynch did not manage to integrate the sand into the film:

In the credits of Dune, there are, of course, sand dunes and the wind raising curtains of sand, but curiously, this texture does not play a significant part in the rest of the film.230(*)

Wild at Heart is placed under the sign of fire, with the theme playing visually and narratively. The credits are impressive as Michel Chion describes them:

The spiralling flames in the credits of Wild at Heart, accompanied by the orchestral music of Richard Strauss, are grandiose and theatricalised. They announce the film's leitmotiv, fire, associated with the power of sex.231(*)

The presence of fire will appear as two sets of images, the image-memory of Lula's house burning and the close up of matches and cigarettes Sailor and Lula smoke after having sex. Martha Nochimson analysed these two aspects:

The fire in the film is, of course, a relatively banal narrative element through which Marietta rids herself of her husband Clyde when Santos sets him aflame and burns down their home. Images of this fire that haunt Lula's memory are also flatly narrative as the vehicle for her understanding of her mother's crime. But when we see greatly magnified close-up shots of matches being struck, we are shown that fire is also a visceral image of consuming, wilfully imposed acceleration of the air to intense movement and color that occupies a part of the border where will compresses space and time into holocaust.232(*)

The Straight Story opens on a `striated texture, which reveals itself to be the furrows of a field, shot from an helicopter,'233(*) as formulated by Chion. We will find echoes of these furrows in the wrinkles on Alvin's face magnified in close up. The deeply ridged fields also resemble the film's journey into memories. The fields and Alvin's wrinkles occupy most of the film space, thus tending to associate one with the other, by assimilation.

These textures are played out like the main theme of one particular film. Other textures are more of a recurring motif through Lynch's films. He confesses his attraction to strange textures to Chris Rodley:

I'm obsessed with textures. We're surrounded by so much vinyl that I found myself constantly in pursuit of others textures. One time I used some hair remover to remove all fur from a mouse to see what it looked like - and it looked beautiful.234(*)

Lynch is particularly attracted to organic decay or putrefaction, letting his camera linger on some gruesome sight, quite oddly beautiful. In Fire Walk With Me, during the scene in the morgue of Deer Meadow, there is a long painful shot of Sam Stanley picking a letter from under the nail of Teresa Banks. The flesh of the nail is seen in extreme close-up as Sam removes the nail.

In Mulholland Drive just after Joe, the hit-man, has fire a bullet through the head of Ed, another hit-man, it is a bemused camera which seems to contemplate the odd phenomenon of the hair and blood immobilised horizontally on the bullet trajectory. In the same film, in a less comical vein, Betty and Rita discover the body of Diane Selwyn putrefied on her bed, which is shown just long enough to let the viewer's imagination fills in the details. The list goes on.

Through its decay the human body is thus firmly linked to matter. This presence of the organic is balanced by another of Lynch's favourite textures: smoke. All types of smoke as accounted for by Michel Chion:

The pulsing smoke of Eraserhead, the powerful smoke of The Elephant Man, the decorative an unfortunately too intermittent smoke of the planet Giedi

Prime in Dune; the straight columns of smoke like those of the sawmill in the credits of Twin Peaks, or the small atomic mushroom punctuating John Merrick's birth and then his return to the great whole in The Elephant Man. Smoke, obscure and diffuse, is life.235(*)

Michel Chion further quotes Lynch explaining his fascination for factories:

I was raised on very ecological principles. To me factories are symbols of creation, with the same organic processes as in nature. I like soot, smoke and dust.236(*)

On one hand, smoke is associated with productive machine activity; on the other it reveals a more ethereal sort of presence. In The Elephant Man, if smoke is present as a manifestation of the industrial age, it is also an almost ectoplasmic presence assisting his birth and death. This sense of presence is felt in other instances such as when the cabin is burning in Lost Highway the heavy volutes of smoke seems to emanate from more than just the burning of wood.237(*) In Mulholland Drive, it is from an extremely convoluted cloud of smoke that Rita emerges from the crashed car, and into another that Diane is absorbed as she collapses onto her bed, after shooting herself with a bullet to the head.

Smoke seems to be the sign of, either mechanical activities or, the presence of forces having a hand in human affairs. These motifs are also found in the aural texture of Lynch's films, which is given as careful an attention as the visuals. Ron Magid commented on the sound-track of Blue Velvet:

Blue Velvet draws much of its powerful mood from the eerie noises that subtly fill Alan Splett's sound design, and this film marks Lynch's fourth feature film collaboration with this fine artist. For Lynch, who seems to hear his movies rather than see them, the Blue Velvet soundtrack grew naturally from the dictates of each film's scenes, `The material dictates the mood and it also dictates the sound,» he explains. «We tried to get the sound that make the right mood and it's so simple, it's so logical. The rest is just trial and error in the blending of those things, and it has to be just right, but you know it when it isn't.'238(*)

Certain sounds have become a sort of Lynch trade-mark such as the sound of machinery. It is already present in Eraserhead, like a pulsation for the whole film. The thumping sounds of industrial machinery is the heart of the city in The Elephant Man, and the lower in the depth of the city Frederick Treves goes, the louder the beat. The animality of these sounds is observed by Pauline Kael about the staircase of Blue Velvet:

There are noises in there, of course, and Alan Splet, who started working with Lynch when he was doing shorts and has been his sound man on all his features, combines them so that, say, when Jeffrey walks up the seven flights to Dorothy's apartment the building has a pumping, groaning sound. It could be an ancient furnace of foghorns or a heavy old animal that's winded.239(*)

Michel Chion remarked on the sound of the electric fan in Fire Walk with Me:

It is one of those machine sounds with an implacable regularity which are omnipresent in Lynch's work. Their meaning is neither erotic nor sexual as such, nor can they be reduced to some primary function. They are life itself, vital power, absurd and ever-present.240(*)

However, the electric fan of Fire Walk With Me is at the threshold between the thumping, pulsating sounds and another type: the electrical sound. The electrical sound is rather linked with dysfunction and supernatural presence than organic life. It can be an erratic neon tube, or just from the current going along power lines; they send buzzing, crackling sounds into the air.

In his later films, Lynch seems to have developed lower sounds, more felt than heard. Pulsating in the air they have no beat or buzz just a vibration. It is Lynch's approach to room tone:

I'm real fascinated by presences - what you call `room tone'. It's the sound that you hear when there's silence, in between words or sentences. It's a tricky thing, because in this seemingly kind of quiet sound, some feelings can be brought in, and a certain kind of picture of a bigger world can be made. And all those things are important to make that world.241(*)

This low drone was particularly present in Lost Highway, in the Madison's house. But they are also permeating the air of aunt Ruth's apartment in Mulholland Drive, although on a softer mode. It gives the apartment a muffled atmosphere, as if no scream could ever tear through it.

Thus Lynch uses certain sounds just as he uses visual textures, as elements intimately woven into the fabric of the film and contributing to its atmosphere as much as to its meaning.


A Baroque conception of matter, in philosophy as in science or in art, has to go up to this point, to a texturology that attests to a generalized organicism, or to a ubiquitous presence of organisms.242(*)

Gilles Deleuze, The Fold, Leibniz and the Baroque.

Lynch's films also have objects and characters whose function is less narrative or decorative than it is textural. Some object acquires a presence that is not correlated to their narrative justification and thus contributes more to the atmosphere than the plot.

How it is that the radiator of Eraserhead came to be of such importance is recounted by Lynch in Lynch on Lynch.243(*). The radiator is more akin to an animal with its litter of straw, its leaking oil and gurgling sounds than a household implement. As a piece of machinery, it is the incarnation of the sound and smoke of the industrial production. As Lynch corroborates the machinery theme in his earlier films:

Machinery is predominant in all of them. I like factory people, steel, rivets, bolts, wrenches, oil and smoke. Industrialization is never a central theme, but it always lurks in the background.244(*)

Eventually the radiator will become a narrative element as the portal to the dream stage of Henry. Another object that has become a recurring motif in Lynch's films is the telephone. Telephones are used as telephones, but they are also a sign of ubiquity; they offer the possibility to be present in two places at the same time.

The first appearance of this theme may be in Blue Velvet, but with a walkie-talkie. At the end of the film, Jeffrey is in Dorothy's apartment with the two corpses and uses the walkie-talkie of the corrupt cop to call detective Williams, when he realises that Franck can intercept the call and that he is now coming for him. Jeffrey then tells detective Williams that he is hiding in the bedroom, while in fact he goes back to wait to in his first hiding place, the closet in the living room, with the cop's gun. Through the walkie-talkie he lures Franck to believe him to be where he is not.

In the pilot episode of Twin Peaks, it is an abandoned telephone that, in place of Laura's mother, cries on the floor upon realising than Laura is dead. In Lost Highway, the ubiquitous powers of telephones became more pronounced. When Fred calls home to check on his wife, the ringing telephones become Fred's imaginary way of projecting himself to where his wife is, anxiously searching through the house (see Fig. 9). The ubiquitous possibilities of the telephone is made manifest in the scene between Fred and the Mystery Man at Andy's party. Handing over to Fred his mobile phone, the Mystery Man asks him to ring home, to prove that he is there. When Fred eventually complies, he is indeed answered by the Mystery Man talking through the phone from his house as well as standing in front of him.

In The Straight Story, telephones are used in a less supernatural manner, however they are surrounded with a consideration and fear that almost gives them the status of a cultic object. At the beginning of the film Dorothy, the neighbour, and Bud, a friend have discovered Alvin on the floor, having had a stroke but perfectly lucid. A moment of confusion ensues, during which Dorothy cannot bring herself to call for help. It is as if she was not certain whether the situation is important enough to justify the use of the telephone. In a later scene, Alvin and Rose are watching a storm together through the window, when the phone rings. For a while neither moves and the ringing takes on momentum. When Rose eventually answers it is to learn that Alvin's brother has had, likewise, a stroke.

During his journey to see his brother, Alvin will phone his daughter only once, when in absolute need, weeks after his departure. The whole scene revolves around the telephone. Alvin needs to contact Rose to ask her to send him his check to fix the lawn-mower. He goes to his host to ask if he can use their phone, and upon finding out that it is a cordless phone, he insists on staying outside. He then calls Rose who is delighted to hear from him, as she was worried. When looking for a pen to write Alvin's address down, she does not let go of the handset, stretching the cord to its utmost in her search. It is like if she was afraid of losing her father if she was to let go of the phone. His call completed, Alvin deposits the cordless phone on the doorstep with a couple of dollars bills slipped underneath: as a little offering to the gods of communication.

Mulholland Drive could be seen as a pantheon to the glory of the pre-mobile telephone. They are all there, the public phone, the yellow utility one, the standard black phone, the domestic cordless, all the different type of telephones except the mobile. But they are also the sign of an underground web of communications of which the spectator will apprehend the effects on the life of the characters but not the nature. This telephonic presence is epitomised in the last exchange between Joe and Ed:

Joe: So that's it, that's Ed's famous black book.

Ed: The history of the world in phone numbers.

Upon which Joe shoots Ed in the head and takes the book. The spectator will never hear about it again. The whole scene does not seem to fulfil any other function than reinforce the sense of hidden powers and the absurd way they destroy life. Joe will subsequently kill a woman working in the next office, the cleaning-man and his vacuum cleaner, as pointed out by Michel Chion, because they are where they should not have been.245(*)

Thus characters, like objects, visuals and sounds, may functions as textural elements. Martha Nochimson commented on Wild at Heart:

The images that rivet our imagination tend to complicate rather than further the plot: immensely magnified, close-up images of cigarette ash, shoes, light bulbs, and the visceral tones of Marietta's body smeared with lipstick and gleaming red. Even the villains exist in the plot as distracting, physiological presences.246(*)

Like a close up on a particular texture, some characters are magnified beyond all purpose. Ben, in Blue Velvet, for all his extravagant presence, is only keeping Dorothy's child. Mr Reindeer's role in Wild at Heart is basically to give away the two dollar coins to the appointed killers. The scene in which these characters appear, detached of narrative function, are transformed into an opulent fabric, enriching the atmosphere of the film.

However extravagant these scenes appear in the construction of a film, they add complexity to a representation of the world in the layering of perceptions. Thierry Jousse warn against the temptation to just luxuriate in the sensual aspect of Mulholland Drive:

In Mulholland Drive, there is an ambiance-film side, in the sense that the creation of incredibly sophisticated atmospheres and the permanent fluidity of their sequence are primarily driving the perception of the spectator. Which often leads to believe that everything is mystery, nothing rational, explicable and that one just as to let oneself be carried away, like in an environment, an installation or a musical piece, by pure sensuality. But in truth, however essential this sensory dimension may be, it shouldn't make one forget that the film is also a text to read and interpret. It is in that interstice, this breach made by the disjunction or the ambivalence between these two poles apparently contradictory, that precisely the film engulfs itself or slide in, object at once rational and intangible.247(*)


In the Baroque the soul entertains a complex relation with the body. Forever indissociable from the body, it discovers a vertiginous animality that gets it tangled in the pleats of matter, but also an organic or cerebral humanity (the degree of development) that allows it to rise up, and that will make it ascend over all other folds.248(*)

Gilles Deleuze, the Fold, Leibniz and the Baroque.

`A word is also a texture', said Lynch talking about his use of letters in his paintings.249(*) Language in Lynch's films is treated as yet another thread in the weaving of the film's fabric. He uses words, rhythms in sentences and actors' voices as so many textural elements, as Chris Rodley commented in Lynch on Lynch:

He [Lynch] has frequently referred with great enthusiasm to the qualities of a particular actor's voice. His ear for the rhythms of speech, as with all sounds, is highly tuned: The Grandmother, his second short, reduced (or elevated) all dialogue to the status of pure sound effect. When one considers what Isabella Rosselini has called his «hatred» of words - on the basis that they are so «imprecise» - it's clear that Lynch's relationship to language is not only complex, but unique in contemporary cinema. `He's found a way to make words work for him' concludes Reavey. `He uses them non-verbally. He paints with them. They are textural, and have a sensory presence. He's very poetic.'250(*)

Lynch further talks about the importance of a particular pronunciation in discussing Eraserhead with Chris Rodley:

Chris Rodley: How much did you work on the way characters spoke in the film? The sparse dialogue seems to be delivered in a very particular way.

David Lynch: Well, it had to be a certain way. And it came out of rehearsals. There are many ways they could speak that would be completely wrong. And so you keep working for the way that is right for the character, right for the mood. You get into phrasing, loud and soft, and this and that. You could see dialogue as kind of a sound effect. And yet it has all this stuff to do with character.251(*)

The notion of the right tone, therefore, does not come from within the psychological depth of the character trying to express his emotions, but from without: from the overall feel of the atmosphere. The implication is that if it sounds right, it will also be right for the character.

The speech rhythm is particularly striking in the first part of Lost Highway; the constrained way every word is uttered greatly participates to the suffocating atmosphere of the house. The slowness of the speech integrates the silence between words as so many suspended sentences. It feels like the very air of the house is being suspended.

A completely different use of dialogue is made in the disco scene in Fire Walk With Me. Because the music is so loud, the actors have to yell at each other, and since they are barely intelligible, the scene has been subtitled. Lynch explained his choices to Chris Rodley:

There were certain things that needed to be heard and understood. At the same time, I can't stand to pot out the music so you can hear the dialogue. In a club you can't hear anything, but you can hear something if the person's yelling, and that was the idea. So music was cranked to the max and people were really talking loud enough to be heard, so it worked. So the music is at ten and the dialogue is at two, but you don't worry about it, because you can use subtitles.252(*)

An interesting precedent in the use of language that is not necessarily understood can be found in the soundtrack experiments made by Max Ophuls for Lola Montes in 1955. The curator Stefan Drössler, who is working on the restoration of the film, explains how the soundtrack had been dubbed to «correct» some of Ophuls choices:

With subtitles used sparingly, large parts of the dialogue were indecipherable for those unfamiliar with the foreign language. This is what Ophuls wanted: to let the spectator understand only what is important. Language was for him an acoustic element of the soundscape, conveying atmosphere rather than content. He wrote: `The height of acting is achieved when the word itself has lost its importance...the inner feelings words convey, may sometimes be stronger, sometimes weaker than the words. Sometimes they're in contradiction to them, the dialogue may drag along after the feeling...the experience begins a long time before the word and ends a long time after it'. Thus there are in the German premiere version a number of barely intelligible sequences in which characters mumble and mutter or noise masks the dialogue in a similar way to the foreground objects that at times obscure the actors.253(*)

For Ophuls, as for Lynch, words are not reduced to dialogues whose function is to communicate information; they are also sounds which participate to the perceptual aspect of the film.

Interestingly, linguistically Lynch also uses words as pure signifier. As children learn, the word is linked to the image of what is signified. In Blue Velvet, there is this surprising cut operated over the word scissor: the coroner is explaining to Jeffrey that the ear has probably been cut with scissors. As he pronounces the word «scissors» there is a cut to the next shot which is a close-up of a pair of scissors, but it is only cutting the «no trespassing» banner used to enclose the field where the ear has been found. The effect is at turns violent and comical: violent by its immediate association with the gruesome image of the amputation of the ear, and comical as the scissors are revealed to be more innocent. Or are they?

According to Michel Chion, Lynch had tried this superposition between words and images without quite making the connection in Dune:

In fact, Lynch runs up against the limits of cinema. In Dune, the words never quite manage to find an adequate incarnation because they are too laden with symbolism from the outset. For example, the word «spice» never quite attains and joins with the concrete, recurring image of the black liquid which is its visual equivalent, maliciously compared by some to a coffee advertisement. Lynch took an enormous but admirable risk when he banked on the encounter between words and image-symbols.254(*)

The signifying presence of names is also at the heart of the Dune project, as film and novel. Michel Chion analysed the verb as a creative element in the film:

The verb in Dune is omnipresent, signifying, ritualistic, serious. If there is humour (and there is) it comes from this seriousness. We know that in Franck Herbert's novel, the onomastic is very important; for instance the fact that the planet Dune is called most of the time Arrakis. Franck Herbert knows that the space between the two names of the same planet, or the same person, is for the imagination a greater expanse than the millions of light-years between the galaxies. Becoming film, with the David Lynch adaptation, the Verb will remain generator, representing places and spaces. Planets are first names, space is interior (sublime sequence of the travel to Arrakis, without moving). The word remains apart from what we see, and the film lives, vibrates, from this interval.255(*)

A place or a character changes according to the name it is given. The name is the identity. The name is creator of the identity. The character played by Kyle Mac Lachlan, Paul Atreides, is not the same when he is Muad'Dib, and yet he is not different.

This tension between names and identities is also present in Mulholland Drive. Betty and Diane are one and the same person and yet, they are not. What was in Betty is no longer in Diane. The interplay of names and identity takes on a vertiginous twist with the character of Rita/Camilla. Amnesic, when Betty asks for her name she borrows the name of «Rita» from a poster she sees of the film Gilda. The character of Gilda, played by Rita Hayworth in the film, is provocative and teasing, so Rita has little in common with her namesake's part in that film. But when she returns, in control, as Camilla Rhodes, she has become Gilda-like, provocative and deliberately arousing Diane's jealousy.

Words and names become forces shaping the world around them. The name shapes the personality, somehow echoing the idea that it is the manner a material is folded, that is the way forces have acted upon it, that constitutes its texture.

Thus the elements composing a Lynch's film - visual, aural, narrative or linguistic - come together to form the overall texture of the film. They interplay with each other at different levels and cannot be clearly differentiated from each other. It is the manner of their interaction that will form the specific feel - or mood - of the film, not each element taken separately.




Classic clearness means representation in ultimate, enduring forms; baroque unclearness means making the forms look like something changing, becoming. The whole transformation of classic form by the multiplication of the members, the whole deformation of the old forms by apparently senseless combinations, can be put under one heading. In absolute clearness there lies a motive of that fixation of the figure which the baroque eschewed on principle as something unnatural.256(*)

Heinrich Wölfflin, Principles of Art History.

The first lighting used by films was daylight. Louis Lumière captured little portions of the sunlit world, and later, in the United States, most sets were outdoors with the Californian sun providing the lighting. For indoors scenes, lighting's only concern was to provide sufficient light for the exposure of the film in the camera, and it generally consisted in a diffuse overall illumination.

During the 1910s, technical improvements, such as the adoption for lighting of arc equipment, allowed for lighting effects in the studios. They permitted the use of directional light which could provide realistically motivated sources of light and thus integrating the lighting within the narrative, as the authors of Classical Hollywood explains:

With the classical drive to subsume every technique within the overall motivation of the narrative, there came an interest in varying lighting to suit the situation - to have the lighting issuing realistically from narrative space and varying with circumstances.257(*)

Some experiments were made pushing the contrasts of light and dark to its utmost, such as having a single source of light, for a candle light scene, plunging the surrounding space in darkness. If such technical prowess was praised, the use of extreme contrasts, obscuring the actors and their actions and thus impeding the progression of the narrative, was generally avoided in Hollywood. The general practice settled on a less obtrusive mode of lightning balanced between realism and narrative requirements:

Selective lighting adds a pleasing aesthetic quality to the image, but can be justified as having a source within the scenic space. Hence it enhances the narrative effect while providing a modicum of spectacle in its own right.258(*)

A more dramatic use of light was made by the German cinema of the 1920s. Influenced by the romanticism, German expressionist films are not so much concerned about realistically motivated source of light, than they are about revealing the shadows in human nature through the use of light. In the German expressionism films, light and shadows are a projection of good and evil forces and therefore reveal moral and psychological depth and turmoil. Emmanuel Plasseraud speaks of `expressionist and fantastic shadows, which are an expression of the dark depth of mankind.'259(*) Gilles Deleuze in Cinema 1 considers Expressionism:

(Expressionism) invokes [...] a dark, swampy life into which everything plunges, whether chopped up by shadows or plunged into mists. The non-organic life of things, a frightful life, which is oblivious to the wisdom and limits of the organism, is the first principle of Expressionism, valid for the whole of nature, that is, for the unconscious spirit, lost in darkness, light which has become opaque, lumen opacatum.260(*)

Examples of an antagonistic relationship between light and darkness can be found in the cinema of Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau (1888-1931). In Nosferatu (1924), Dracula is the shadow moving on the world, which only the light of love (and dawn) can defeat. In Faust (1926), the fight is concentrated within one man for whom soul the devil and the Archangel St Michael are fighting. Light and shadow move over the face of Faust as so many conflicts. In the films of Fritz Lang, such as Metropolis (1928), the projected shadows of the characters seem to take the shape of their fears or desires. This expressionist use of light is to be found in the «American Gothic» horror film of the 1930s, in the films of James Whale, such as Frankenstein (1932) and The Bride of Frankenstein (1935).

In his essay on baroque cinema, Vestiges du baroque: l'origine fantasmée (2000), Emmanuel Plasseraud differentiates the expressionist shadow to a baroque one, of which he gives a definition:

The baroque apprehends the shadow for its implicit instability, inconsistency and immateriality. It offers the shadow an autonomous life, which is not threatening, but rather disturbing.261(*)

The shadows which often mask the faces of the characters in Orson Welles' films are not the mark of evil at work, but the disturbing undecidability of their identity. The only thing anyone can be sure of, about Charles Foster Kane in Citizen Kane is what he has accomplished or built. His motivations remain in the shadows. The character of Hank Quinlan in Touch of Evil is even more ambiguous since the viewer cannot even ascertain his achievements as a detective.


The seventeenth century found a beauty in the darkness which swallows up the form. The style of movement, impressionism, of its very nature tends to a certain unclearness. It is adopted, not as the product of a naturalistic conception - the visible world simply not yielding fully clear picture - but because there is a taste for indeterminate clarity. Only in this way did impressionism become possible. Its conditions lie in the field of decoration, not only of imitation.262(*)

Heinrich Wölfflin, Principles of Art History.

Lynch's films generally begin in darkness. From the darkness, faces or stars appear. The darkness is cosmic. It is the floating planet-like-face of Henri in Eraserhead, the luminous face of John Merrick's mother in The Elephant Man or Princess Irulan's face hovering over the darkness of the known universe in Dune. It is an undulating piece of blue velvet which opens Blue Velvet but it becomes the darkness of outer space before the camera slowly moves down to the sunny world of Lumberton. The darkness is engulfed in fire for Wild at Heart, and covered in snow for Fire Walk With Me, but it surrounds the racing portion of lighted road for Lost Highway. The camera moves slowly amongst the stars for The Straight Story, and pans over the bejewelled darkness of night time Los Angeles in Mulholland Drive.

Like the baroque painters, Lynch prefers to prime his screen with darkness from which the light will draw the shapes out. Deleuze described this process:

This is a baroque contribution: in place of the white chalk or plaster that primes the canvas, Tintoretto and Caravaggio use a dark, red-brown background on which they place the thickest shadows, and paint directly by shading toward the shadows. The painting is transformed. Things jump out of the background, colors spring from the common base that attests to their obscure nature, figures are defined by their covering more than their contour.263(*)

Pauline Kael remarked about Blue Velvet, that Lynch's creative powers seem to be more particularly engaged when dealings with the shadows than by the sunlight:

Lynch's imagistic talent, which is for the dark and unaccountable, flattens out in the sunlight scenes [...] His work goes back to the avant-garde filmmakers of the twenties and thirties, who were often painters - and he himself trained to be one. He takes off from the experimental traditions that Hollywood has usually ignored.264(*)

Thus she compares him to, either the German expressionist style, or the influence it had on American cinema. A cinema where the shadows, which are relegated to a shading function in the classical Hollywood film, have their place on the screen.

However, there are important differences between the expressionist approach to darkness and Lynch's. Firstly, he is very attentive about providing a realistically motivated source of light, to the cost of some readability as Ron Garcia, the cinematographer of Fire Walk With Me recounts from the making of a scene in the forest with Laura and Bobby:

`David doesn't like night-time exteriors to look like they're lit', Garcia recounts with a sigh. `He said, «Where does the light come from?» and I replied, «It comes from the same place as the music, David». Well, he didn't go for that; he wanted the whole scene to be lit just by flashlights, which we'd done on the pilot.'265(*)

And Lynch does not use fantastic shadows either, such as can be seen in Nosferatu, where Dracula is preceded by his fantastically drawn out shadow. In Lost Highway for instance, after Fred has gone down the corridor and Renee calls him, two shadows are seen to be making their way back to the bedroom. These are the ordinary fuzzy shadows a dim light would provide, just indicating the movement of two bodies not their exact anatomy. Which somehow makes them more frightening.

The other difference from the expressionist style is the meaning of darkness. Lynch's darkness is not evil; at least not necessarily so. Pauline Kael remarked that the darkness of Blue Velvet was not alienating, but rather homely:

It's the fantasy (rather than the plot) that's organic, and there's no sticky-sweet lost innocence, because the darkness was always there, inside. The film's kinkiness isn't alienating-its naïveté keeps it from that. And its vision isn't alienating: this is American darkness-darkness in colour, darkness with a happy ending. Lynch might turn out to be the first populist surrealist.266(*)

The theme of the coupling of light/dark with good/evil as been developed at length by Martha Nochimson in her study of David Lynch, The Passion of David Lynch. She compares David Lynch's use of these oppositions to those of Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock. She supports an argument that the three directors have dissociated the usual evil/dark and good/light association. She gives as examples the occurrences of evil in open sunlit spaces such as many scenes from The Birds or the crop duster attack in North By Northwest, and from Lynch's films:

They most obviously resemble each other in the unusual intensity of audience response to their alteration of bad/good-dark/light narrative polarities. Lynch's filming of many of his most threatening scenes in full light intensifies the shock to the audience's nervous system, as in Blue Velvet where, although Lynch uses virtual three-point lighting, violence lurks just beneath the surface of every word and gesture at Ben's place. Bob materializes in the sun-drenched living room of the Hayward home in Twin Peaks, and when he appears in darkness he is suffused with a light within which there are no shadows.267(*)

She concludes that in their work `morality is irrelevant to the experience of dark and light'.268(*) Ron Garcia gives a more pragmatic point of view over the circumstances leading to some aesthetic decisions for Fire Walk with Me to Stephen Pizzello:

`We went up to Seattle with the assumption that the shoot would be just like the pilot, when the sun never shone. It was overcast all the time, so we pumped in all this color and gave it this unique look. This time, we went up there and found all of this sunshine! We decided to exploit the contrast: here was this incredible scenery, with these golds and greens and blue skies, against which these horrible things were happening to Laura Palmer. It wasn't designed that way, it just happened that way.'269(*)

Thus the circumstances and the mood of a scene, rather than a moralistic approach, will decide its lighting, and Fire Walk With Me turned out to be, arguably, the most morally disturbing of Lynch's film while being one of his sunniest.

Thus if the films of David Lynch come out of the darkness, this darkness is neither evil nor fantastic. In her review of Mulholland Drive, Martha Nochimson proposes a possible reading:

Lynch does not see darkness as a morally negative place, but as a space of the unknown of the subconscious, from which anything; both the marvelous and the terrible can emerge.270(*)


Leibniz is haunted by depth of the soul, the dark depth, the «fuscum subnigrum». Substances or souls `draw everything from their own depths'. That is the second aspect of mannerism, without which the first would remain empty. The first is the spontaneity of manners that is opposed to the essentiality of the attribute. The second is the omnipresence of the dark depths which is opposed to the clarity of form, and without which manners would have no place to surge forth from. The entire formula of the mannerism of substances is: `All is born to them out of their own depths, through a perfect spontaneity.'271(*)

Gilles Deleuze, The Fold, Leibniz and the Baroque

In the pilot episode of Twin Peaks, at the end of his first meeting with the town people, special agent Dale Cooper warns them against the night: `I will remind you that these crimes occurred at night'. It is an oddly paradoxical statement coming from someone who does not hesitate to trust his dreams to solve a criminal case. And in Lynch's films if the night is full of crimes, it is also full of stars and dreams. Starry skies open two of his films: Dune and The Straight Story, and if, for Mulholland Drive, it is the lights of Los Angeles over which the opening credits roll, they shine as so many stars in the night. In his entry on `Night' in the Lynch's kit, Michel Chion comments on its meaning:

Why should night acquire such meanings? Perhaps because its mantle of darkness erases the distinct contours of objects and reconstitutes a lost whole. Darkness unifies and fuses what light separates. Night rejoins what day disjoins.272(*)

And this separation can be painful for those that are not ready. In the opening shot of Lost Highway, Fred Madison is sitting in darkness in his home. He is drawn out of the dark by a pull on his cigarette which lights part of his face. As the window blind opens and lets the morning light in, he winces with pain (see Fig. 10). It looks as if this process of coming to the light is full of discomfort and sufferings for Fred. His whole presence feels uncertain. His discomfort becomes aggressiveness toward everything that surrounds him.

His identity, as much as his body seems to be made of an unstable matter, not quite finding the space to exist in the daylight; he will walk back into the darkness, down the corridor, but he will not re-emerge alone. The terrible is accompanying him (see Fig. 11).

This difficulty to be in the light, to become oneself, was already at the heart of the Laura Palmer's character in Fire Walk with Me. As Laura says to Donna: `Night-time is my time', it is the time where she can try to become herself.

From the darkness also emerges the marvellous. In Eraserhead, it is the «beautiful girl across the hall» who materialises out of the darkness beyond Henri's door. After he heard a knock on his door he opens it on complete darkness. As he is intensely scrutinizing it, his beautiful neighbour slowly emerges and asks to come in. In Blue Velvet, there is a similar scene for the first encounter of Jeffrey and Sandy. As Jeffrey comes out of the William's house he turns around as he hears a voice asking: `are you the one who found the ear?' As he looks, the screen is filled with darkness and it takes a few seconds for Sandy to emerge from it and to appear to Jeffrey (see Fig. 12).

Commenting on the Blue Box in Mulholland Drive, Martha Nochimson further elaborates on the power of darkness:

Given Lynch's faith in darkness as the loam of both creativity and destruction, these aspects of the unseen that emerge from the box, are most fruitfully read as contingent on the integrity of the sensibility that enters the darkness.273(*)

The darkness in Lynch's film is not a void or a black hole; it is a loam from which the better and the worst can emerge. Characters come out and return to the primordial matter: the darkness.

Given the importance of its generative powers, it is little wonder that Lynch is so specific about what the darkness should look like. Fred Elmes, the cinematographer of Blue Velvet speaks to Ron Magid about the technical difficulties involved to get it right:

For Fred Elmes (cinematographer), the greatest challenge on Blue Velvet was to insure that the liquid blacks that Lynch demanded were preserved in the release prints of the film. `That was one of the things I was most concerned about' Elmes concurs. `It's a dark story-and we knew that there were a lot of night exteriors and there were a lot of times in Dorothy's apartment where there wasn't much light because the mood required it to be dim. We needed to maintain a quality in the negative that in the final release print would give us a rich black that duplicated what we saw when we photographed the scene'.274(*)

This is echoed by Peter Deming, the cinematographer of Lost Highway, as reported by Stephen Pizzello:

Deming says that his biggest challenge on the show was trying to accommodate Lynch's love of dark, inky visuals. `It was a struggle' he concedes. `I know what David likes; if he had his way, everything would be a little underexposed and murky, which is a murder to me'.275(*)

Peter Deming recounts, with some detail, the difficulty encountered by the whole crew to obtain the effects Lynch wanted for the scene where Fred vanishes down the corridor:

For certain key scenes, super-minimal lighting schemes were employed to great effect. A particularly impressive example of this strategy is the filmmakers' sepulchral rendering of the Madison's main hallway, which has a foreboding quality reminiscent of the work of one of Lynch's favourite painters, Francis Bacon. Achieving this look required some deft interplay between the various crewmembers. `Fortunately, the hallway was a setting we could control, even though we were shooting at a real house', says Deming. `Patty Norris and her crew physically altered the structure, making the hallway as long as possible. She also helped me by putting Bill Pullman in dark clothes, and by painting the walls a color that wouldn't reflect too much light. To cap things off, we hung a black curtain over the windows at the end of the hall.' [...] `The 98 (film stock) can really pick up details in the dark, so I knew that we were in trouble if the end of the hallway didn't disappear to the naked eye,' says Deming. 276(*)

Deming concludes on Lynch's choice of darkness:

`David feels that a murky black darkness is scarier than a completely black darkness; he wanted this particular hallway to be a slightly brownish black that would swallow characters up.'277(*)

From these dark depths, how can the characters surging from it take their place in the light? The only time that Fred Madison seems to exist, to occupy his space, is at the Luna Lounge, performing on stage as a saxophone player. His activity as a musician may have been his way out. The only time he tries to engage in communication with someone is after one of the detective, who came to check the Madison's house, asks him a question about his musical activity:

Detective 1: You're a musician?

Fred: Yeah.

Detective 2: What's your act?

Fred: Tenor, tenor sax. (Tentatively) Do you?

Detective 2 (laughing): No, tone deaf.

Fred's tentative effort to engage is abruptly ended; what can a musician have to share with a tone deaf person? The rest of the dialogue is indeed a «dialogue de sourds»: a succession of misunderstandings and non sequiturs.


This notion of metamorphosis is governed by a baroque axiom, borrowed from the Venetian opera: one must produce effects to engender affects, and these affects create beings. I thus retain these three terms, effects, affects and beings, and these three terms constitute the triumph of the baroque, for these effects establish manners as infinite operations and operations of the infinite.278(*)

Christine Buci-Glucksmann, Orlan, Triomphe du Baroque

Lynch's films are full of places where characters perform on stage or are affected by the performance on stage. These places are generally clubs or theatres. The performances are often musical and generally consist of a singing act (except Fred Madison, who plays the sax). The emotional investment in the words of the song from either the performer or the listener seems to unlock an aspect of their persona. As if the words were containing some key to their ill-being.

In Fire Walk With Me, one of the only moments of retrieval for Laura Palmer is when she goes into the Roadhouse and she listens, crying, to the singing of Julee Cruise. The music with its slow and melancholic melodies is strangely at odds with the place, a biker's bar more easily associated with Rock music for instance. The song strongly affects Laura and for a moment there is a glimpse of a possible alteration of her downward trajectory; it offers the possibility that the song will have effects on her capacity to react, in spite of the fact that the spectator of Twin Peaks already knows this is not going to happen. Eventually, Laura brushes away her emotions and goes on with her original intentions, plunging further.

The power of songs also affect Frank Booth, in Blue Velvet; at the Slow Club as he sits crying while listening to Dorothy singing Blue Velvet, and at Ben's place, where he is strangely moved again while Ben lip synchs In Dreams over Roy Orbison's voice. These are the only moments where some tenderness pierces through the bullish persona of Frank. The song seems to touch in him feelings that he is unable to translate in his behaviour and switch them off as he ragingly turns off the tape recorder. The possibility of another Frank Booth is quickly perceived and gone. When in the next scene Frank mouths the words of In Dreams to Jeffrey they have become venomous and threatening. The promise the song seemed to contain has become a curse.

The promised possibilities of songs was already present in Eraserhead when the «lady from the radiator» was singing to Henry:

In heaven everything is fine

You've got your good things

And I got mine

However, the power of song is ambiguous; it can be misleading as well as redemptory. In The Elephant Man, it is partly the magical power of the musical which John Merrick has seen in the theatre that enhances his desire for normality and leads him to suicide, as Martha Nochimson argued in The Passion of David Lynch:

Through its sweet poison, the pantomime eclipses, as no Bytes or night porter ever could, the life-giving tension that Merrick represents, that which has made him so precious to Mrs. Kendal and to Ann and Frederick Treves.279(*)

In Mulholland Drive, the power of performance will take particular pre-eminence. The idea of lip synch already presents in Blue Velvet with Ben's performance will be taken further. First there is the series of auditions for the film Adam is making, The Sylvia North Story, where the actresses perform recorded songs. This set up reinforces the artificiality of the selection process - which the spectator knows to be biased and just wait for the `This is the girl' order to go through.

This scene is also the counterpart to the precedent where Betty was performing another kind of lip synch for her audition. She had been rehearsing the scene earlier with Rita, over-acting her melodramatic part. Michel Chion remarked:

What is frightening in her is the impossibility to know whether she acts or whether she believes in it, as if she could not stop herself, and was risking the whole of her identity in the least of her acts.280(*)

For the audition, even though the text is absolutely identical, Betty transforms it in a strongly erotic scene, as Martha Nochimson comments:

Her reading portrays the magic and wonder of artistic creativity when she creates something - a dangerously erotic mood - out of absolutely nothing.281(*)

Betty's act shows a depth of emotions which did not seem to be in her as the naïve blonde, however this capacity for desire and hatred introduces the Diane she is to become - the final: `I'll kill you, I'll kill us both' of the scene becomes strangely prophetic. Thus the enacting and re-enacting of words takes on strange resonance.

Thierry Jousse commented on the film:

To live to speak to sing in lip synch (play back), that is to repeat words already written in giving them a different interpretation, in changing their direction, such is the story of the characters and the cinema of today.282(*)

The most dramatic scene however, is when Rita takes Betty to Club Silencio in the middle of the night. The Club Silencio looks like a traditional theatre with its stalls and balcony - and a stage with heavy red curtains. A performer announces what seems to be the principle of the show: `No hay banda, there is no band'. He specifies that everything is recorded and he demonstrates a few tricks of recording which for all their naïve magic have a chilling effect; a stick lands soundlessly and a trumpeter is shown to be silent. This demonstration sends Betty in an uncontrollable shake, and both, her and Rita looks scared. The next act is the singer Rebekah Del Rio; Annette Davison describes the performance in her essay on David Lynch:

The integrity of live performance is subsequently re-affirmed by the following act, singer Rebekah Del Rio; the performer audibly knocks the microphone as she takes up her position on stage. During her impassioned performance of Roy Orbison's `Crying' (sung in Spanish), we see close-up shots of Ms Del Rio's face which function to persuade us that the performance we are seeing is real - that is, live - rather than recorded. In the middle of the song Ms Del Rio suddenly falls on the ground unconscious, though her vocal performance continues on the soundtrack. The impact of this moment is startling: in retrospect, the magician's control and manipulation of the soundtrack is foregrounded.283(*)

The singing a-cappella of Rebekah Del Rio, with a rich and resounding voice seemingly blows away the precedent unease by its emotional integrity. The performance affects Betty and Rita so deeply; they break down in tears. When Rebekah Del Rio collapses as an empty shell on the stage while her voice keeps vibrating in the air - as announced: everything is recorded - the effect is devastating. The dissociation of this full body voice from the sensual presence of the performer leaves Betty and Rita stunned. The performance, which had seemed to carry some answers, is revealed as fake, just as Ben singing In Dreams in Blue Velvet. But whereas Frank became enraged, Betty falls apart and vanishes soon after.

The performance of words and songs in Lynch's films has a strange formative power through the affect of the characters. To take place in the light, Lynch's character need to perform or to project themselves in words.

The cinematic world of David Lynch begins before the coming of light, in the full and morally unmarked darkness. These unbounded dark depths may be what he will come to call the Unified Field.284(*) When the light comes to draw the characters out of the dark it is often a difficult moment for them. To become - conscious? - they need to act out a part, but they are always at risk of choosing the «wrong» role which instead of bringing out their potential, annihilates them. Fred Madison could have focussed his being around music instead of the supposed infidelity of his wife. Betty could have stayed with Adam after their intense exchange of looks and maybe altered both their fate instead of rushing off to act her «saviour» role with Rita.

In The Straight Story as Alvin Straight journeys toward the past, he recounts parts of his life, from which his alienation appears gradually more evident. He teaches lessons in life to his companions but, as Martha Nochimson remarked in her review of the film, he did not apply them himself:

Alvin is a disquieting portrait of American frontier machismo, warts and all. Now near the end of his life, Alvin dispenses wisdom about maintaining strong familial and communal ties, but it is hard won and contrasts with his own relational failures.285(*)

The journey to reconcile himself with his brother thus seems like his last attempt to act his life on his own terms, forgoing his pride, the ridiculousness of his equipment and other material problems. The decision to go is taken during a stormy night as if the darkness and the violence of the elements outside - and the fear of death brought about by the strokes that hit both brothers - had allowed for a complete change of attitude. The film ends, as it started, with the expanding darkness of the universe, as Lyle and Alvin look at it together as when they were kids.


It was not the aim of this study to establish whether David Lynch's films are baroque, nor to establish once and for all what a baroque film is, but rather to develop within the specific context of these films the possibilities of a baroque aesthetic. Most of the uses that have been previously made of the notion of baroque as applied to films were imported from the baroque literature. Thus it had developed a certain a number of characteristics which already removed from their visual arts context, lent themselves rather too easily to generalisation.

In keeping close to the formal definition developed by Wölfflin, I tried to investigate films from a visual arts perspective rather than a literary one and thus to reinvest some of the terms attached to the idea of the baroque - such as movement, decorative, accumulative, elliptic, complexity, obscurity, mystery - but within the more specific context of a formal definition and Deleuze's development upon Leibniz' philosophy. This study aimed to find out what those terms would mean to David Lynch' films.

The analysis of the films of David Lynch has approached the possibility of a transposition of the formal principles of the baroque to the cinematic medium. It may have yielded new perspectives in the analysis of films. This study also tried to open up relationships with the more conceptual traits of the baroque, such as has been developed by Gilles Deleuze, to suggest representations of the world according to a baroque aesthetic.

The transposition of the notion of linear and non-linear representation, in the first chapter, rising considerations around the difference between linearity and continuity can be seen as a different take upon the notion of elliptical or circular composition - often associated with the baroque. It seemed more appropriate to Leibniz' ideas and Lynch's films to develop the notion of continuity and micro-infinities. The multiple realms of reality in David Lynch's have often been remarked upon by critics, but the notion of non-linear continuity developed by Deleuze may have call attention to the tight continuous structure of his films in space and time. This approach suggested a possible representation of a world, which while not being linear - or plane - was nevertheless continuous, thus offering an alternative to the opposition of a classical linear continuity and a necessarily fragmented world.

In the second chapter, the study of composition was linked to movement and perspective. Developing upon the notion of the point of view shot in films, it questioned the overall neutral point of view developed by the classical system to investigate the possibilities of a subjective cinema. It suggested the development of the point-of-view shot as a perspectivism which would allows for the multiplicity of the event. The multiplication of possible perspectives allows for the ambiguous integrity of the event to remain.

In approaching the question of montage, the third chapter developed upon the notion balance between form and content which the classical system aims for, and how are symmetries used to contain the progress of the action and ultimately its meaning. This chapter suggested a use of symmetries which instead of closing the gap between actions, makes them resonate - in a kind of action and reaction process - thus opening up the fabric of the film to multiple interpretations. It is echoes by the disequilibrium, which runs through all baroque forms, caused by the tension between the finite and the infinite: `the infinite present in the finite self'.

In the fourth chapter the development of the notion of texture is a more specific approach to the somewhat vague term of decorative. If decoration and accumulation of details is important in the baroque it is because it invests them of a particular importance. It is echoed by Deleuze in the idea of concentration of matter and that life and organism are everywhere. Thus decoration and details are a manifestation of this swarming life. In relation to Lynch's films the notion developed around his love of textures and their importance in the structure of his films

The fifth and last chapter was concerned with the notion of darkness. Darkness and mysteries are often associated with the baroque and this chapter tried to develop upon what makes the baroque darkness. Not the classical darkness where evil lurks, nor a void, the baroque darkness is the potential of all things before its becoming. For Leibniz the depths of the mind are dark because the mind contains the infinity of the world but can only perceive clearly a small portion of it. The darkness in the mind is the dimly perceived infinity of the world. This notion was particularly relevant to Lynch's films and may have suggested new approaches to his treatment of night and dark.

What Lynch's cinema proposes is a highly individual approach to the cinematographic material, reinvesting it with each new film. In his review of Dune, Michel Chion expressed what he found stimulating in Lynch's cinema even when it failed:

David Lynch is not a victim of the pernicious formula, from which come, in my opinion, most of today's academism, which reduces cinema to images and sounds. Passionate for the cinematographic material, he keeps on believing that cinema is also made of faces, bodies, people, visions and words. According to this, he embraces all of this material, which still resist him sometimes, but this resistance to his will to make the work, this resistance that he lets be, give to his work a tension, an intensity a lot more interesting than all the present-day poetics of the artificial.286(*)

Part of Lynch's approach can be understood by his belief in mysteries of which he talked to Bill Krohn:

For me there is more than one mystery. A mystery is what is closest to a dream. The word «mystery» is exciting. Enigmas, mysteries are wonderful until they are resolved. I believe we have to respect mysteries.287(*)

This respect for mysteries may lead him to preserve the intensity and opacity of the material he films rather than try to elucidate all possible ambiguities.

The latest passion of David Lynch is for the Internet. He has set up his own website and has devoted himself to its conception for the past few years. He has created some animation and short films for it.288(*) The possibilities offered by the web may allow Lynch to develop further the form of narrativity which he had been attracted to with the television serial format. It also has the advantage to offer a direct access to the viewer thus bypassing the restrictions Lynch had encountered with television networks.

This interest for cyberspace resonates with the speculations elaborated by Slavoj Zizek from his approach to Lost Highway:

In a closer historical analysis, it is crucial not to conceive this narrative procedure of the multiple perspectives encircling of an impossible Real as a direct result of cyberspace technology. Technology and ideology are inextricably intertwined; ideology is inscribed already in the very technological features of cyberspace. [...] Today we are approaching a homologous threshold: a new «life experience» is in the air, a perception of life that explodes the forms of the linear centered narrative and renders life as a multiform flow.289(*)

In the same work, Zizek further elaborates on the new possibilities of representation of reality offered by cyberspace:

The final conclusion to be drawn is that «reality» and the experience of its density, is sustained not simply by A/ONE fantasy, but by an inconsistent multitude of fantasies; this multitude generates the effect of the impenetrable density that we experience as «reality». The fantasmatic support of reality is in itself necessarily multiple and inconsistent. [...] We can see now how the purely virtual, non actual universe of cyberspace can «touch the real» the real we are talking about is not the «raw» pre-symbolic Real of «nature in itself», but the spectral hard core of «psychic reality» itself. 290(*)

However some reservations could be formulated, something that for all its artifices the baroque never forgot: the body; the need for an event to be inscribed in matter; to have a body to realise itself in. Without a body the event remains purely virtual: potential in waiting. Steven Shaviro suggests a different approach to cyber-technologies, questioning their possible interaction with bodily perceptions:

Psychoanalysis is most often taken as a deconstruction of the supposedly unitary bourgeois subject, and as a liberation of the forces repressed within it. I want to suggest that this is far too limited a view; the decentred psychoanalytic subject is not something that comes after the Cartesian bourgeois subject, but something that is strictly correlative with it. In contrast, a new post-human subject will have to point away from Freudian and lacanian conceptions of decentred subjects as much as from the unitary Cartesian one. [...] I think that current technological changes can be correlated with changes in the way we sense and feel our increasingly media-saturated world. And in the longer run these changes will increasingly affect the actual matter of our bodies, as well as the ways we think about our bodies.291(*)

However attractive the new formal possibilities of cyber-space, some problems remain. Compared to a theatrical release, the distribution of a work through the web will necessarily loose some of its sensual qualities; diminishing the perceptual dimension of the work. Another problem is the formation of a community around the time and space of the reception. A theatrical venue physically brings together a group of people to experience the same film. The television serial gains in repetition what it looses in physical space: it reunites week after week viewers at a specific time therefore forming a community in the continuity of the repetition of the rendezvous. Whether the individualised access to the web can permit this type of synergy is therefore another problem of the cyber-medium.

That new aesthetic forms are emerging is inevitable, but it is unlikely that this will happen without our world of appearances and our body to take place in.

For some time now the idea of an infinite universe has been hypothesized, a universe that has lost all centre as well as any figure that could be attributed to it; but the essence of the Baroque is that it is given unity, through a projection that emanates from a summit as a point of view. For some time the world has been understood on a theatrical basis, as a dream, an illusion - as Harlequin's costume, as Leibniz would say. But the essence of the Baroque entails neither falling into nor emerging from illusion but rather realizing something in illusion itself, or of tying it to a spiritual presence that endows its spaces and fragments with a collective unity.292(*)



When you picture a duck you picture a bill, and a head, and a neck and body and legs...the bill is a certain color and a certain length and a certain texture. And it is completely different [from anything else on the duck], although there is something in the color and the texture that is a little similar to the legs of the duck and it is very important that that is the way that is. Then the head comes up out of that...and the head comes up and comes down into this fantastic S curve. And the feathers on the head are kind of short and swift because it's faster, the bill and the head have to be a faster area. It can't be very big. The head is slower, and the neck has that S curve that lets you come down to the body. The body is kind of uneventful in a way. It can't have too much fast area. It's a big kind of fluffy kind of smooth area. And then it has these more complicated textures in the feet. And the texture is reminiscent of the bill and it returns back to the bill and makes this trip. The eye wants to go down the S curve and it gets to the feet and it makes the whole trip.

David Lynch

In The Passion of David Lynch: Wild at Heart in Hollywood, Martha Nochimson, Texas University Press, 1997, p.25.


Six Men Getting Sick

1967, animation, 1 min.

Writer and photographer: David Lynch

Producer: Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts

The Alphabet

1968, 16 mm colors, 4 mins. (part animation)

Director, writer and photographer: David Lynch

Producer: Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, H. Barton Wasserman

Actress: Peggy Lynch

The Grandmother

1970, 16mm colors, 34 mins. (part animation), American film Institute, David Lynch

Director, writer and photographer: David Lynch

Sound effects: Alan Splet

Actors: Richard White (the boy), Dorothy McGinnis (the grandmother), Virginia Maitland (the mother), Robert Chadwick (the father)


1976, 35 mm black and white, 89 mins., American Film Institute for advanced Studies, David Lynch

Director and writer: David Lynch

Photographer: Frederick Elmes and Herbert Cardwell

Sound effects: Alan Splet and David Lynch

Principal actors: Jack Nance (Henry Spencer), Charlotte Stewart (Mary X), Jeanne Bates (Mary's mother), Allen Joseph (Mary's father), Judith Anna Roberts (Beautiful Girl Across the Hall), Jack Fisk (The Man on the Planet), Laurel Near (The Lady from the Radiator)

The Elephant Man

1980, Panavision Dolby Stereo, black and white, 124 mins., Brooksfilms

Director: David Lynch

Writer: Eric Bergren, Christopher DeVore and David Lynch (based on the book The Elephant Man and Other Reminiscences by Sir Frederick Treves and The Elephant Man: A study in Human Dignity by Ashley Montagu)

Photographer: Freddie Francis

Sound effects: Alan Splet

Principal actors: Anthony Hopkins (Frederick Treves), John Hurt (John Merrick), Anne Bancroft (Madge Kendal), Sir John Gielgud (Carr Gomm), Wendy Hiller (mothers head), Freddie Jones (Bytes), Michael Elphick (the night porter), Hannah Gordon (Merrick's mother)


1984, CinemaScope, Technicolor Dolby Stereo, 137 mins., Dino De Laurentiis/Universal

Director: David Lynch

Writer: David Lynch from Franck Herbert's novel

Photographer: Freddie Francis

Sound effects: Alan Splet

Principal actors: Kyle MacLachlan (Paul Atreides), Francesca Annis (Lady Jessica), Sting (Feyd Rautha), Dean Stockwell (The Doctor Wellington Yueh), Sian Phillips (The Reverent Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam), Max Von Sydow ( The Doctor Kynes), Jurgen Prochnow ( Duke Leto Atreides), José Ferrer (The Emperor Shaddam IV), Brad Dourif (Piter De Vries), Freddie Jones (Thufir Hawat), Linda Hunt (La Shadout Mapes), Sean Young (Chani), Kenneth McMillan (The Baron Wladimir Harkonnen), Everett McGill (Stilgar), Virginia Madsen (Princess Irulan), Silvana Mangano (The Reverent Mother Ramallo)

Blue Velvet

1986, CinemaScope Technicolor Dolby stereo, 120 mins., De Laurentiis entertainment Group

Director and writer: David Lynch

Photographer: Frederick Elmes

Sound effect: Alan Splet

Principal actors: Kyle MacLachlan (Jeffrey Beaumont), Laura Dern (Sandy Williams), Isabella Rosselini (Dorothy Vallens), Dennis Hopper (Frank Booth), Hope Lange (Mrs Williams), Dean Stockwell (Ben), George Dickerson (Detective Williams)

Twin Peaks

1989, Television Serial (pilot and 29 episodes), Lynch-Frost productions, Propaganda Films, Spelling Entertainment, for ABC Worldvision Enterprises

Director: David Lynch (pilot and episodes 2, 8, 9, 14 and 29)

Writer: David Lynch and Mark Frost

Photographer: Ron Garcia

Principal actors: Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer), Kyle MacLachlan (Dale Cooper), Michael Ontkean (Sheriff Harry S. Truman), Mädchen Amick (Shelly Johnson), Dana Ashbrook (Bobby Briggs), Richard Beymer (Benjamin Horne), Lara Flynn Boyle (Donna Hayward), Joan Chen (Jocelyn Packard), Sherilyn Fenn (Audrey Horne), Piper Laurie (Catherine Packard Martell), Peggy Lipton (Norma Jennings), James Marshall (James Hurley), Everett McGill (Ed Hurley), Jack Nance (Pete Martell), Ray Wise (Leland Palmer), Grace Zabriskie (Sarah Palmer)

Wild at Heart

1990, CinemaScope Technicolor Dolby Stereo, 124 mins., Propaganda Films for Polygram

Director: David Lynch

Writer: David Lynch from a novel by Barry Gifford

Photographer: Frederick Elmes

Sound effects: Randy Thom and Don Power

Principal actors: Nicolas Cage (Sailor Ripley), Laura Dern (Lula Pace Fortune), Diane Ladd (Marietta Pace), Harry Dean Stanton (Johnnie Faragut), Willem Defoe (Bobby Peru), Isabella Rossellini (Perdita Durango), J. E. Freeman (Marcello Santos)

On The Air

1991-92, Television serial (7 episodes), Lynch-Frost productions, Twin Peaks Productions (episode 1 only), for ABC Worldvision Entertainments

Director: David Lynch (episode 1)

Writer: David Lynch and Mark Frost (episode 1)

Photographer: Don Garcia (episode 1)

Principal actors: Ian Buchanan (Lester Guy), Nancye Ferguson (Betty Hudson), Miguel Ferrer (Buddy Budwaller)

Hotel Room

1992, Television anthology (3 episodes), Asymmetrical Productions and Propaganda Films for HBO

Director: David Lynch: Tricks and Blackout; James Signorelli: Getting Rid of Robert

Writer: Barry Gifford: Tricks and Blackout; Jay McInerney: Getting Rid of Robert

Photographer: Peter Deming

Principal actors: Tricks: Glenne Headly (Darlene), Freddie Jones (Lou), Harry Dean Stanton (Mo)

Getting Rid of Robert: Griffin Dunne (Robert), Deborah Unger (Sasna), Mariska Hargitay (Tina), Chelsea Field (Dianne)

Blackout: Crispin Glover (Danny), Alicia Witt (Diane)

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

1992, 35 mm colors Dolby Stereo, 134 mins., Ciby (Francis Bouygues)

Director: David Lynch

Writer: David Lynch and Robert Engels

Photographer: Ron Garcia

Sound conception: David Lynch

Principal actors: Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer), Kyle MacLachlan (Dale Cooper), Mädchen Amick (Shelly Johnson), Dana Ashbrook (Bobby Briggs), Catherine Coulson (The Log Lady), Eric DaRe (Leo Johnson), Chris Isaak (Agent special Chet Desmond), Moira Kelly (Donna Hayward), Peggy Lipton (Norma Jennings), David Lynch (Gordon Cole), James Marshall (James Hurley), Frank Silva (Bob), Ray Wise (Leland Palmer), Kiefer Sutherland (Sam Stanley)

Lost Highway

1997, CinemaScope Technicolor Dolby Stereo, 135 mins., Ciby 2000/ Asymmetrical Productions

Director: David Lynch

Writer: David Lynch and Barry Gifford

Photographer: Peter Deming

Sound conception: David Lynch

Principal actors: Bill Pullman (Fred Madison), Patricia Arquette (Renee Madison/Alice Wakefield), Balthazar Getty (Pete Dayton), Robert Blake (The Mystery Man), Natasha Gregson Wagner (Sheila), Richard Pryor (Arnie), Michael Massee (Andy), Jack Nance (Phil), Lucy Butler (Candace Dayton), Gary Busey (Bill Dayton), Robert Loggia (Mr eddy/Dick Laurent)

The Straight Story

1999, CinemaScope, color, Dolby Stereo, 112 mins., Walt Disney Pictures in association with Les Films Alain Sarde and Le Studio Canal+, with the participation of Film Four and Picture Factory Productions

Director: David Lynch

Writer: John Roach and Mary Sweeney

Photographer: Freddie Francis

Sound conception: David Lynch

Principal actors: Richard Farnsworth (Alvin Straight), Sissy Spacek (Rose), Harry Dean Stanton (Lyle Straight)

Mulholland Drive

2001, 1,85 color, Dolby SRD, 146mins., Les Films Alain Sarde, Studiocanal, Asymmetrical Productions.

Director and Writer: David Lynch

Photographer: Peter Deming

Sound conception: David Lynch

Principal actors: Naomi Watts (Betty/Diane Selwyn), Laura Elena Harring (Rita/Camilla Rhodes), Justin Theroux (Adam), Ann Miller (Coco), Dan Hedaya (Vincenzo Castigliane), Angelo Badalamenti (Luigi Castigliane), Mark Pellegrino (Joe), Michael J. Anderson (Mr Roque)


Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)

L'arrivée d'un Train en Gare de La Ciotat (Auguste and Louis Lumière, 1895)

The Barefoot Contessa (Joseph Mankiewicz, 1954)

The Battleship Potemkin (Sergei M. Eisenstein, 1925)

The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock, 1963)

The Birth of a Nation (David Wark Griffith, 1914)

The Bride of Frankenstein, (James Whale, 1935)

Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

Un Chien Andalou (Luis Buñuel, 1928)

Dogville (Lars Von Trier, 2003)

Faust (Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, 1926)

Fellini Roma (Federico Fellini, 1972)

Frankenstein (James Whale, 1932)

Gilda (Charles Vidor, 1946)

Gone with the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939)

The Great Train Robbery (Edwin. S. Porter, 1903)

The Kid (Charlie Chaplin, 1915)

Lola Montes (Max Ophuls, 1955)

Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1928)

The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)

North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock, )

Nosferatu (Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, 1924)

Le Notti di Cabiria (Federico Fellini, 1957)

Paths of Glory (Stanley Kubrick, 1957)

Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954)

La Règle du Jeu (Jean Renoir, 1939)

The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

Singing In the Rain (Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, 1951)

Spider (David Cronenberg, 2002)

Suspicion (Alfred Hitchcock, 1941)

Le Temps Retrouvé (Raoul Ruiz, 1999)

Touch of Evil (Orson Welles, 1958)



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Nochimson, Martha, `The Straight Story: Sunlight Will Out of The Darkness Come', [08.05.2003]

Ostria, Vincent, `Twin-Peaks, la série: le polar psychotrope', Cahiers du Cinéma, No. 446, Juillet-août 1991, [23.03.2003]

Passannanti, Erminia, `Neo-baroques?' Transference, Oxford, 2001, [18.02.2003]

Rapfogel, Jared, `David Lynch', [14.02.2003]

Rodley, Chris, `Mr Contradiction', Sight and Sound, Vol. 6, No. 7, July 1996, pp. 6-10, [16.03.2003]

Strauss, Frédéric, `Lost Highway: Tempête sous un crane', Cahiers du Cinéma, No. 509, Janvier 1997, [23.03.2003]

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* 1 Victor, Lucien Tapié, `Baroque', Encyclopaedia Universalis, Vol. II, Paris, 1978, p. 1090.

* 2 Frédéric Dassas, `Présentation', in D'Ors, Eugenio, Du Baroque, Paris: Gallimard, 2000, p. V, my translation: `Le baroque parle le même langage que la Renaissance, mais à la façon d'un dialecte sauvage'.

* 3 Ibid. p. VII.

* 4 Ibid. p. X.

* 5 Wölfflin, Principles of Art History, The Problem of the development of style in Later Art, trans. Hottinger, M.D. New York: Dover Publications, 1950, p. 9-10.

* 6 Wölfflin, Renaissance and Baroque, London: Cox and Wyman, 1964, p. 67

* 7 Ibid., p. 68.

* 8 Gilles Deleuze, seminar on Leibniz 15th April 1980, http://www.webdeleuze [01.02.2003], my translation: `Imaginez Leibniz : il y a quelque chose d'effarant. C'est le philosophe de l'ordre ; bien plus, de l'ordre et de la police, dans tous les sens du mot police. Au premier sens du mot police surtout, à savoir l'organisation ordonnée de la cité. Il ne pense qu'en termes d'ordre. En ce sens il est extrêmement réactionnaire, c'est l'ami de l'ordre. Mais très étrangement dans ce goût de l'ordre et pour fonder cet ordre, il se livre à la plus démente création de concept à laquelle on ait pu assister en philosophie. Des concepts échevelés, les concepts les plus exubérants, les plus désordonnés, les plus complexes pour justifier ce qui est. Il faut que chaque chose ait une raison.'

* 9 Gilles Deleuze, The Fold, Leibniz and the Baroque, trans. Tom Conley, London: The Athlone Press, 1993, p. 34. `Si nous voulons maintenir l'identité opératoire du Baroque et du pli, il faut donc montrer que le pli reste limite dans les autres cas, et qu'il connaît dans le Baroque un affranchissement sans limites dont les conditions sont déterminables.' Le Pli, Leibniz et le Baroque, Paris: Les Editions de Minuit, 1988, p. 48.

* 10 Ibid., p. 34. `Ce sont les mêmes traits pris dans leur rigueur qui doivent rendre compte de l'extrême spécificité du Baroque, et de la possibilité de l'étendre hors de ses limites historiques, sans extension arbitraire : l'apport du Baroque à l'art en général, l'apport du Leibnizianisme à la philosophie.' p. 48.

* 11 Ibid., p. 35. `Le pli infini sépare, ou passe entre la matière et l'âme, la façade et la pièce close, l'extérieur et l'intérieur.' p. 49.

* 12 Ibid., p. 38. `Celui-ci ne peut apparaître qu'avec l'infini, dans l'incommensurable et la démesure, quand la courbure variable a détrôné le cercle.' p. 53.

* 13 Christine Buci-Glucksmann, Orlan, Triomphe du Baroque, Marseille: Images En Manoeuvres Editions, 2000, p. 42. `Le rapport à l'histoire est un rapport compliqué. N'y a-t-il d'ailleurs qu'un seul baroque? Je crois qu'en réalité, il y a un baroque du plein qui est celui de Leibniz et de Deleuze, par exemple. Il n'y a que du plein. C'est un baroque du pli et du dépli, du déroulement, de l'intérieur à l'extérieur, etc. Mais dans le baroque historique il y a également quelque chose qui m'a fascinée, c'est le baroque du vide. Borromini, ce n'est pas Le Bernin. Le baroque du vide, c'est la spirale qui monte sur rien.'

* 14 Ibid., p. 42, `C'est à partir du rien qu'il y a rhétorique, qu'il y a pose, qu'il y a métaphore'.

* 15 Erminia Passannanti, Neo-baroques? , Transference, Oxford, 2001, [18.02.2003] The term of neo-baroque is mostly linked to literary criticism and has been associated with notion of postmodernism. These are not really relevant to this study, taking the notion of baroque into realms quite removed from its art historical origins. This quote just helped to give an idea of the different avenues the term could be developed into.

* 16 Michel Foucault, `Nietzsche, Genealogy, History', in Rabinow, Paul (ed.), Michel Foucault Reader, New York: Pantheon Books, 1984, p. 82.

* 17 Robert Lapsley and Michael Westlake, Film Theory an Introduction, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1988, p. 156.

* 18 Jean Collet, `Cinéma: Histoire', Encyclopaedia Universalis, Vol. IV, Paris, 1978, p. 497a, my translation:` La caméra de Lumière nous éveille au monde. Melies tend derrière ses personnages les toiles peintes de l'inconscient collectif.'

* 19 Lapsley and Westlake, op. cit., p. 158.

* 20 Ibid., p. 156.

* 21 Ibid., p. 171.

* 22 Ibid., p. 172.

* 23 André Bazin, What is Cinema? 2 vols., trans. Hugh Gray, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967, p. 14-15. `Le film ne se contente plus de nous conserver l'objet enrobé dans son instant comme, dans l'ambre, le corps intact des insectes d'une ère révolue, il délivre l'art baroque de sa catalepsie convulsive. Pour la première fois, l'image des choses est aussi celle de leur durée et comme la momie du changement.' André Bazin, Qu'est ce que le cinéma? Paris: Les Editions du Cerf, 2002, p. 14.

* 24 Rudolf Wittkower, Bernini, The Sculptor of the Roman Baroque, London: Phaidon, 1997, p. 159.

* 25 Antoine De Baecque, `Du concept au fétiche: Penser un nouvel âge du cinéma, la critique et le baroque', Vertigo, Projections Baroque, Hors Série, 2000,pp. 23-30.

* 26 Rousset, Jean, La Littérature de l'Age Baroque en France, Circé et la Paon, Paris: José Corti, 1954.

* 27 De Baecque, op. cit., p. 25-26, my translation: `Le baroque, dès lors, devient un outil pour questionner la création, outil qui trouve ses marques, recouvrant un certain style (hyperbolique, complexe, accumulatif, décoratif), un esprit (mélange des genres, goût des contrastes, des antithèses, des paradoxes, des surprises et du singulier, de l'obscur et du mystérieux), et une dynamique (rôle prépondérant du mouvement, de l'ellipse, de l'hélice).'

* 28 By the film critic France Roche writing for France Soir in 1956, Ibid., p. 27.

* 29 Ibid., p. 29, my translation: `C'est un autre age du cinéma que, dans le même mouvement, façonne et révèle ainsi l'expression du baroque, celui des metteurs en scène de la forme accomplie et complexe, foisonnante et virtuose, symbolique et singulière, un age qui commencerait avec les manifestes wellesiens, s'accomplirait avec Ophuls, et entraînerait tout un pan du moderne: Bergman, Hitchcock, Aldrich, Fellini, Kurosawa, Astruc...Un âge qui par les métamorphoses incessantes des formes, succéderait dans l'histoire du cinéma au classicisme hollywoodien de style sec, simple, pur, ordonne, efficace.' The theoretical background of the cinematic baroque was laid out in 1960 in the first issue of, Etudes Cinématographiques on `Baroque and Cinema'.

* 30 Ibid., p. 30. The April 1985 issue of the Cahiers du Cinema, dedicated to mannerism, will settle on this term to qualify this new trend in cinema

* 31 Hervé Aubron, `A Rebours', Vertigo, Projections Baroques, Hors série, 2000, p. 7, my translation: `Le terme de baroque est peut-être l'un des plus im-pensés de la critique cinématographique. Bourgeonnant très fréquemment dans les articles de presse, il est quasiment toujours utilisé dans son acceptation archaïque: bizarre, insolite, exubérant...'

* 32 The latest example I have come across is a review of Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill 2 in Le Monde; 18.05.2004, p. 29: `Jeu de chat et de souris entre une mariée et sa victime'. The reviewer, Florence Colombani, speaks of the baroque profusion of the film there to adorn the bitterness of the story: `Toute la profusion baroque du film est là pour rehausser l'amertume de cette histoire.' No more is said about the relevance of the term, it is assumed to be self-explanatory.

* 33 Hervé Aubron, op.cit., p. 9, my translation: `D'où, évidemment, l'obsession du baroque pour l'illusion, mais surtout pas en tant que piège ludique ou cynique.'

* 34 David Bordwell, Janet Staiger and Kristin Thompson, The Classical Hollywood Cinema, Film Style and mode of Production to 1960, London: Routledge, 1996.

* 35 David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, Film Art An Introduction, (3rd ed.), New York: Mac Graw-Hill publishing, 1990 p. 70.

* 36 Citizen Kane is usually recognized as one of the marker of the end of the classic cinema as will be developed further in this work.

* 37 Erwin Panofsky quoted in Hervé Aubron, `A Rebours', p. 8, my translation: `Le style se fige, se cristallise, se pare d'un lisse et d'une dureté d'émail, tandis que les mouvements, qui tendent à l'excès de grâce, sont en même temps, contraints et retenus. L'ensemble de la composition devient un champ de bataille où s'affrontent des forces contradictoires, emmêlés dans une tension infinie'.

* 38 Michel Chion, David Lynch, trans. Robert Julian, London: British Film Institute Publishing, 1995, p. 10. `Et un jour le déclic se fait, dont il ne sait sans doute pas encore que c'est le définitif, et qui le décide à faire des «films paintings», des peintures animées. «Ce qui me manquait quand je regardais ces tableaux, c'était le son, j'attendais qu'un son, un vent peut-être, en sorte. Je voulais aussi que les bords disparaissent, je voulais entrer à l'intérieur. C'était spatial...»' Michel Chion, David Lynch, Paris: Editions Cahiers du Cinéma, 2001, p. 19.

* 39 Jacques Aumont, Alain Bergala, Michel Marie and Marc Vernet, Aesthetics of Film, trans. Richard Neupert, Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992, p. 175. `En marquant un retour au primat du signifiant, l'analyse textuelle manifeste son souci de ne pas aller d'emblée à la lecture interprétative. Elle s'arrête souvent au moment du «sens» et par-là, court le risque de la paraphrase et de la description purement formelle.' Poitiers: Editions Fernand Nathan, 1983, p.151.

* 40 Wölfflin, Principles of Art History, p. 19.

* 41 Christian Metz, Film Language, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1974, p. 93.

* 42 Ibid., p. 94.

* 43 Bordwell and Thompson, Film Art: An Introduction, p. 55.

* 44 Ibid., p. 55.

* 45 Ibid., p. 58.

* 46 Ibid., p. 71.

* 47 Lapsley and Westlake, Film Theory an Introduction, p. 130.

* 48 Metz, op. cit., p. 101.

* 49 Wölfflin, Baroque and Renaissance, p. 53.

* 50 Metz, op. cit., p. 208.

* 51 Ibid., p. 102.

* 52 Ibid., p. 102.

* 53 Jorge Luis Borges quoted in, O'Doherty, Brian, `Kane's Welles, The Phantom of the Opus', Artforum, Vol. 26, December 1987, p. 88.

* 54 Deleuze, The Fold, p. 56, `L'essentialisme fait de Descartes un classique, tandis que la pensée de Leibniz apparaît comme un profond maniérisme. Le classicisme a besoin d'un attribut solide et constant pour la substance, mais le maniérisme est fluide, et la spontanéité des manières y remplace l'essentialité de l'attribut.' Deleuze, Le Pli, p. 76.

* 55 Martha Nochimson, The Passion of David Lynch, Wild at Heart in Hollywood, Austin: University of Texas Press, 2003, p. 22-23, 24.

* 56 Chion, David Lynch, p. 103. `Licence narrative ne veut pas dire indifférence à l'histoire, traitée comme un prétexte à dire autre chose, mais croyance telle à cette histoire que, comme un enfant, on veut la mener aussi loin et aussi littéralement que possible.' Michel Chion, David Lynch, Editions Cahiers du Cinéma, 2001, p. 122.

* 57 Bordwell & Thompson, op. cit., p. 68.

* 58 Herzogenrath, B., `On the Lost Highway: Lynch and Lacan, Cinema and Cultural Pathology', 1999, [16.03.2003]

* 59 André Bazin, What is cinema? p. 88. `Ses personnages ne se définissent jamais par leur «caractère», mais exclusivement par leur apparence.' Qu'est-ce que le Cinéma ? p. 341. Bazin's comments on Fellini's films are often appropriate for Lynch's - furthermore Fellini is a self-acknowledged influence on Lynch: in Chris Rodley (ed.), Lynch on Lynch, London: Faber and Faber, 1997, p.62, Lynch tells Chris Rodley: `I love Fellini. And we've got the same birthday, so if you believe in astrology... His is a totally different time, and an Italian take on life. But there's something about his films. There's a mood. They make you dream. They're so magical and lyrical and surprising and inventive. The guy was unique. If you took his films away, there would be a giant chunk of cinema missing.'

* 60 Martha Nochimson, `Mulholland Drive', Film Quarterly, Vol. 56, No. 1, Fall 2002, p. 42.

* 61 Ibid., p. 41.

* 62 Bazin, op. cit., p. 90-91. `Si pourtant les films de Fellini comportent des tensions et des paroxysmes qui n'ont rien à envier au drame et à la tragédie, c'est que les événements y développent, à défaut de la causalité dramatique traditionnelle, des phénomènes d'analogie et d'écho. Le héros fellinien n'arrive pas à la crise finale, qui le détruit et le sauve, par l'enchaînement progressif du drame, mais parce que les circonstances dont il est en quelque sorte frappé s'accumulent en lui, comme l'énergie des vibrations dans un corps en résonance. Il n'évolue pas, il se convertit, basculant, pour finir, à la manière des icebergs dont le centre de flottaison s'est invisiblement déplacé.' Qu'est-ce que le Cinéma ? p. 344-345.

* 63 Ibid., p. 84-85. `Les événements n'y «arrivent» pas, ils y tombent, ou ils en surgissent, c'est-à-dire toujours selon une gravité verticale et non point pour obéir aux lois d'une causalité horizontale. Quant aux personnages, ils n'existent et ne changent qu'en référence à une pure durée intérieure. [...] Aussi le personnage fellinien n'évolue-t-il pas : il mûrit ou, à la limite, se métamorphose.' Qu'est-ce que le cinéma ? p. 338-339.

* 64 Nochimson, The Passion, p. 25.

* 65 Ibid., p. 26.

* 66 Other eye-of-the-duck scenes include: in Blue Velvet, the scene at Ben's place, in Wild at Heart, the accident scene with the girl looking for her purse, with The Elephant Man's one (p. 146), these are the three scenes that Nochimson presents as identified by Lynch. She goes on to identify them herself: the wig scene from Mulholland Drive, In Twin Peaks, Fire Walk With Me, it is the scene where Laura while loading the «meals on wheels» into her car sees an old woman with a little boy wearing a mask (p. 184), In Eraserhead, the scene where Henri walks on the stage and touches the singer (p. 159). In Martha Nochimson, The Passion of David Lynch.

* 67 Charles Drazin, On Blue Velvet, Bloomsbury, 1998.p. 122.

* 68 Thierry Jousse, `Lost Highway, l'isolation sensorielle selon Lynch', Cahiers du Cinéma, No. 511, Mars 1997, [23.03.2003] my translation: `Cet émondage narratif lui a surtout permis d'atteindre à une troublante opacité qui procède d'une série de coups de force rythmiques tout à fait saisissant[...]D'un coté le film distribue une multitude de signes, d'indices, énigmes de lapsus qui par un jeu de piste, font miroiter une doublure secrète de la réalité, laquelle, tel un inconscient très actif, se manifesterait en permanence de manière discontinue et enveloppant la vie d'un léger voile paranoïaque.'

* 69 The Italian Neo-Realism was a cinematographic tendency which developed from 1945 to 1960 in Italy. The Neo-Realists paid particular attention to quotidian events and humble characters and tried to find the tragic in the day to day existence of the people.

* 70 Bazin, op.cit., p. 89-90. `La primauté de l'événement sur l'intrigue a conduit par exemple de Sica et Zavattini à substituer à cette dernière une micro-action, faite d'une attention indéfiniment divisée à la complexité de l'événement le plus banal. Du même coup se trouvait condamnée toute hiérarchie, d'obédience psychologique, dramatique ou idéologique, entre les événements représentés.' Qu'est-ce que le Cinéma ? p. 344.

* 71 Drazin, op. cit., p. 123.

* 72 Michel Chion, David Lynch, Editions Cahiers du Cinéma, 2001, my translation: `La découverte d'Alvin couché, et qui a gardé toute sa lucidité, entouré de ses proches qui s'affolent mais ne font rien, est l'occasion d'une scène oscillant entre le burlesque et le tragique et qui semble risquer de se prolonger indéfiniment, comme Lynch les aime.' p. 254.

* 73 Joe Kember, `David Lynch and the Mug Shot: Facework in The Elephant Man and The Straight Story.' In Erica Sheen and Annette Davison (ed.), The Cinema of David Lynch: American Dreams, Nightmare Visions, London: Wallflower Press, 2004, p. 19-20.

* 74 Deleuze, The Fold, p. 17. `Le nombre irrationnel implique la chute d'un arc de cercle sur la ligne droite des points rationnels, et dénonce celle-ci comme un faux infini, simple indéfini comportant une infinité de lacunes; c'est pourquoi le continu est un labyrinthe, et ne peut être représenté par une ligne droite, toujours la droite devant être entremêlée de courbures.', Le Pli, p. 24.

* 75 Eric Bryant Rhodes, `Lost Highway', Film Quarterly, Vol. LI, No. 3, Spring 1998, p. 61.

* 76 Thierry Jousse, op. cit., my translation: `Le circuit temporel de Lost Highway est très étrange. Bien que le récit du film soit finalement assez linéaire et suppose une succession temporelle chronologique, tout se passe comme si les relations entre le passé, le présent et l'avenir n'obéissaient plus à des règles de subordination. Sans bouleverser de manière explicite la chronologie, Lynch rend impossible l'identification du moment.'

* 77 Michel Chion, David Lynch, 2001, p. 258.

* 78 Bordwell & Thompson, op. cit., p. 61.

* 79 Lynch on Lynch, p. 162.

* 80 Ibid., p. 102.

* 81 Joe Kember, op. cit., p. 31.

* 82 Ibid. p.31.

* 83 Michel Chion, David Lynch, BFI, p. 78. `Les hectares de sable filmé n'accèdent pas à la présence d'une vraie planète mythique.' Editions Cahiers du Cinéma, p.93.

* 84 Lynch on Lynch, p. 19.

* 85 Deleuze, The Fold, p. 29. `Ce qui rendra possible la nouvelle harmonie, c'est d'abord la distinction de deux étages, en tant qu'elle résout la tension ou repartit la scission. C'est l'étage d'en bas qui se charge de la façade, et qui s'allonge en se trouant, qui s'incurve suivant les replis déterminés d'une matière lourde, constituant une pièce infinie de réception ou de réceptivité. C'est l'étage d'en haut qui se ferme, pur intérieur, sans extérieur, intériorité close en apesanteur, tapissée de plis spontanés qui ne sont plus que ceux d'une âme ou d'un esprit. Si bien que le monde baroque, comme l'a montre Wölfflin, s'organise selon deux vecteurs, l'enfoncement en bas, la poussée vers le haut.' Le Pli, Leibniz et le Baroque, p. 40-41.

* 86 Nochimson, The Passion, p. 185.

* 87 Rodley, Lynch on Lynch, p. 165-167.

* 88 In David Lynch, p.93, Michel Chion develops the idea that the strangeness of the scene between Dorothy and Frank is due to its theatricality, as if they were performing for the voyeur. Later when Jeffrey has sex with Dorothy, she gives him licence for anything he might wish for in asking him: `Do you want to be a bad boy?'

* 89 Nochimson, `Mulholland Drive', p. 43.

* 90 Ibid., p. 38.

* 91 Nochimson, the Passion, p. 11.

* 92 Metz, op. cit., p. 226-227.

* 93 Wölfflin, Principles, p. 15.

* 94 Aumont, Bergala, Marie and Vernet, Aesthetics of Film, p. 27. `Le plus souvent, le plan se définit implicitement (et de façon quasi tautologique) comme «tout morceau de film compris entre deux changements de plan.»', Editions Fernand Nathan, p. 26.

* 95 Ibid. ` Au stade du tournage, il est utilisé comme équivalent approximatif de «cadre», «champ», «prise»: il désigne donc à la fois un certain point de vue sur l'événement (cadrage) et une certaine durée.' Editions Fernand Nathan, p. 26.

* 96 Jean Mitry, Semiotics and the Analysis of Film, trans. Christopher King, London: The Athlone Press, 2000, p. 61.

* 97 Ibid., p. 66.

* 98 Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 1, The Movement-Image, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam, London: The Athlone Press, 1986, p. 18. `Le découpage est la détermination du plan, et le plan, la détermination du mouvement qui s'établit dans le système clos, entre éléments ou parties de l'ensemble.', Cinéma 1, L'Image Mouvement, Paris: Edition de Minuit, 1983, p. 32.

* 99 It seems that the theoretical questions surrounding the «shot» have essentially concerned French theorists. This may be because of a French propensity to be very specific about the terms used, but it may also be because of the homonymy between the French for «shot» and «plane», both named plan, thus reinforcing the possible ambiguities.

* 100 Gilles Deleuze, op. cit., p. 19-20. `Le plan en général a une face tendue vers l'ensemble dont il traduit les modifications entre parties, une autre face tendue vers le tout dont il exprime le changement, ou du moins un changement. D'où la situation du plan, qu'on peut définir abstraitement comme intermédiaire entre le cadrage de l'ensemble et le montage du tout. Tantôt tendu vers le pole du cadrage, tantôt tendu vers le pole du montage.' Cinéma 1, L'Image Mouvement, p. 33.

* 101 Ibid., p. 20. `Le plan, c'est le mouvement, considéré sous son double aspect: translation des parties d'un ensemble qui s'étend dans l'espace, changement d'un tout qui se transforme dans la durée.' Cinéma 1, L'Image-Mouvement, p. 33.

* 102 Ibid., p. 39.

* 103 Lapsley and Westlake, Film Theory, p. 130.

* 104 Stephen Heath, Questions of Cinema, London: The Macmillan Press LTD, 1981, p. 36.

* 105 Bordwell, Staiger and Thompson, The Classical Hollywood Cinema, p. 194-195.

* 106 Ibid., p. 213.

* 107 Ibid., p. 196.

* 108 Heath, op. cit., p. 40.

* 109 Ibid., p. 41.

* 110 Bordwell, Staiger and Thompson, op. cit., p. 214.

* 111 Ibid., p. 214.

* 112 Lapsley and Westlake, op. cit., p. 139.

* 113 Bordwell, Staiger and Thompson, op. cit., p. 213.

* 114 Wölfflin, Principles, p. 107.

* 115 Bordwell, Staiger and Thompson, op. cit., p. 210.

* 116 Bordwell and Thompson, Film Art An Introduction, p. 71.

* 117 `Traditionally, we distinguish two large types of camera movements: tracking and panning/tilting. A tracking movement (or dolly) involves shifting the base of the camera, often along a line parallel to any movement by the film object (strictly defined as a track), or trucking in toward or out away from the object, as in a dolly movement. A special kind of camera movement is the crane shot, in which the camera actually leaves the ground, moving up and down. (A more recent development, the steadicam, allows for even more elaborate and free-wheeling camera movement, which also makes camera movement more difficult to categorize). A panning movement, on the other hand, involves pivoting the camera horizontally while the camera pedestal remains fixed. A variation on the pan shot is the tilt, which pivots the camera vertically.' Aumont, Bergala, Marie & Vernet, Aesthetics of Film, p. 26.

* 118 Bordwell, Staiger and Thompson, Classical Hollywood cinema, p. 227.

* 119 Ibid., p. 229.

* 120 Ibid.

* 121 Ibid.

* 122 Deleuze, op. cit., p. 24. `Le mouvement n'est donc pas dégagé pour lui-même et reste attaché aux éléments, personnages et choses, qui lui servent de mobile ou de véhicule.' Cinéma 1: L'image Mouvement, p. 39-40.

* 123 Ibid., p. 25. `Or les deux moyens se trouveront à leurs débuts dans une certaine obligation de se cacher: Non seulement les raccords de montage devaient être imperceptibles (par exemple, raccords dans l'axe), mais aussi les mouvements de camera pour autant qu'ils concernaient des moments ordinaires ou des scènes banales (mouvements d'une lenteur voisine du seuil de perception)'. Cinéma 1: L'image Mouvement, p. 40.

* 124 Ibid., p. 26.

* 125 Michel Chion, Eyes Wide Shut, London: British Film Institute Publishing, 2002, p. 67.

* 126 Aumont, Bergala, Marie and Vernet, op. cit., p. 22. `L'image filmique est nette dans toute une partie du champ, et c'est pour caractériser l'étendue de cette zone de netteté que l'on définit ce qu'on appelle la profondeur de champ. Il s'agit là d'une donnée technique de l'image et qui se définit comme la profondeur de la zone de netteté.' Editions Fernand Nathan, p. 22.

* 127 Bordwell, Staiger and Thompson, op. cit., p. 221.

* 128 Brian O'Doherty, `Kane's Welles, The Phantom of the Opus', Artforum, Vol 26, December 1987, p. 90.

* 129 Gilles Deleuze, op. cit. , p. 26. `C'est que la profondeur n'est plus conçue à la manière du cinéma `primitif', comme une superposition de tranches parallèles dont chacune n'a affaire qu'avec elle-même, toutes étant seulement traversées par un même mobile. Au contraire, chez Renoir ou chez Welles, l'ensemble des mouvements se distribue en profondeur de manière à établir des liaisons, des actions et des réactions, qui ne se développent jamais l'une à coté de l'autre, sur un même plan, mais s'échelonnent à différentes distances, et d'un plan à l'autre. L'unité du plan est faite ici de la liaison directe entre éléments pris dans la multiplicité des plans superposés qui cessent d'être isolables: c'est le rapport des parties proches et lointaines qui fait l'unité.' Cinéma 1, p. 42. In brackets is the original translation, which I think is erroneous. It comes from the homonymy already mentioned of the French for plane and for shot, in this paragraph Deleuze writes about the composition in planes of the shot, but all `plan' were translated by `shot', which made no sense. I replaced the word shot when it was intended as plane.

* 130 André Bazin, What is cinema? Vol. I, p. 36. `En analysant la réalité, le montage supposait, par sa nature même, l'unité de sens de l'événement dramatique. [...] En somme, le montage s'oppose essentiellement et par nature à l'expression de l'ambiguïté. [...] Au contraire, la profondeur de champ réintroduit l'ambiguïté dans la structure de l'image, sinon comme une nécessité, du moins comme une possibilité.', Editions du Cerf, 2002, p. 75-76.

* 131 Deleuze, The Fold, p. 20, `Le perspectivisme chez Leibniz, et aussi chez Nietzsche, chez William et chez Henri James, chez Whitehead, est bien un relativisme, mais ce n'est pas le relativisme qu'on croit. Ce n'est pas une variation de la vérité d'après le sujet, mais la condition sous laquelle apparaît au sujet la vérité d'une variation. C'est l'idée même de la perspective baroque.' Le Pli, p. 27.

* 132 Bordwell, Staiger and Thompson, op. cit., p. 238.

* 133 Ibid., p. 207.

* 134 Jean Mitry quoted in Stephen Heath, op. cit., p. 46-47.

* 135 Stephen Heath, op. cit., p. 47.

* 136 Messalina was the infamous wife of the Roman emperor Claudius, she was known for her appetite for lovers and her decadent orgies. In Fellini Roma following a scene at the local cinema where the children are seen to spy on the behavior of the chemist wife, we see her in toga inviting an endless queue of men to come into her car.

* 137 Christian Metz, Film Language, p. 220.

* 138 Gilles Deleuze, lecture on Leibniz, 16.12.1986, my translation: `Troisième caractère du point de vue : le point de vue n'est pas du tout une perspective frontale qui permettrait de saisir une forme dans les meilleures conditions, le point de vue est fondamentalement perspective baroque, pourquoi? C'est que jamais le point de vue n'est une instance à partir de laquelle on saisit une forme, mais le point de vue est une instance à partir de laquelle on saisit une série de formes, dans leurs passages les unes dans les autres, soit comme métamorphoses de formes : passages d'une forme à une autre, soit comme anamorphose : passage du chaos à la forme. C'est le propre de la perspective baroque.'

* 139 The format of the cinematic image is express by the ratio between its width and its height. The original ratio was 1.33, which gives a nearly squared format. In 1952, Twentieth Century-Fox bought the patent of the anamorphic lens process from Henri Chrétien (1879- 1956) and used it as the basis for their CinemaScope system. The ration of an anamorphic widescreen is 2.35:1. Eric Rohmer celebrated the coming of the new ratio in the Cahiers du Cinema in January 1954: «The new process brings more than it takes away. Fluidity of movement or the entry of a detail into the general scene operates with no less facility.» Eric Rohmer, «The Cardinal Virtues of CinemaScope», Cahiers du Cinema Vol 1, the 1950s: Neo-realism, Hollywood, New- Wave, edited by Jim Hillier, London: Routledge and Kegan, 1985, p. 281.

* 140 Rodley, Lynch on Lynch, p. 176.

* 141 Abbas Kiarostami is a contemporary Iranian filmmaker and artist, he was invited to comment Charlie Chaplin's work in a documentary by Alain Bergala: Chaplin Today: The Kid (2003).

* 142 Michel Chion, David Lynch, BFI, p. 102. `Cependant, Lynch a osé, dans certains moments qu'il a réalisés, quelques entorses au style télévisé habituel: principalement des plans généraux plus vastes et plus en profondeur qu'on ne se le permet d'habitude au cinéma, a fortiori a la télévision, et qui relèguent les personnages à la grosseur d'un petit pois dans le champs: par exemple, dans le pilote, la première rencontre Cooper/Truman et la conférence de Ben Horne aux Norvégiens; ou bien la scène de la banque dans l'ultime épisode.' Editions Cahiers du Cinéma, p. 121.

* 143 Martha Nochimson, The Passion, p. 11.

* 144 Michel Chion, David Lynch, Editions Cahiers du Cinéma, p. 255, my translation: `Finalement, Alvin part sur son équipage insolite. A partir de là, les scènes sur terre de son périple alterneront avec des plans filmés d'hélicoptère. Ces plans, en même temps qu'ils décrivent les paysages traversés, semblent doubler son voyage sur terre d'un autre dans le ciel, dessinant une trajectoire imaginaire plus sinueuse au-dessus et autour de la lente et linéaire avance d'Alvin sur sa tondeuse. C'est comme si un autre personnage ou un ange gardien accompagnait Alvin.'

* 145 About the relationship of Laughton's film and David Lynch: Michel Chion is convinced that it is a referential film for Lynch; without being able to source it, because of the many relation between The Night of the Hunter and Lynch's films. (Michel Chion, David Lynch, BFI, p. 27). Supporting Chion's impression, I think the parallel between the openings of Laughton's film and The Straight Story is too striking to be coincidental.

* 146 Michel Chion, David Lynch, BFI, p. 151. `L'aspect le plus original et le plus frappant, cependant, de ce film sur le plan visuel, ce sont ses angles de prise de vue et ses cadres subtilement inquiétants, générateurs d'un sentiment de perte d'équilibre.' Editions Cahiers du Cinéma, p. 176-177.

* 147 Stephen Pizzello, `Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, Laura Palmer's Phantasmagoric Fall from Grace', American Cinematographer, Vol. LXXIII, No. 9, September 1992, p. 60.

* 148 In Ron Magid, `Blue Velvet - Small Town Horror tale', American Cinematographer, Vol. LXVII, No. 11, November 1986, p. 70-72.

* 149 Wölfflin, Principles, p. 124.

* 150 Aumont, Bergala, Marie and Vernet, Aesthetics of Film, p. 38. `Ainsi, sous son aspect original, celui d'une technique spécialisée parmi d'autres, le montage se ramène à trois grandes opérations: sélection, assemblage, raccordement - ces trois opérations ayant pour finalité d'obtenir, à partir des éléments au départ séparés, une totalité qui est le film.' Esthétique du Film, Poitiers: Editions Fernand Nathan, 1983, p. 38.

* 151 Ibid., p. 38. `l'objet sur lequel s'exerce le montage, ce sont les plans d'un film (soit, pour expliciter encore: le montage consiste à manipuler des plans en vue de constituer un autre objet, le film).', Editions Fernand Nathan, p. 38.

* 152 Ibid., p. 45. `Le montage est le principe qui régit l'organisation d'éléments filmiques visuels et sonores, ou d'assemblages de tels éléments, en les juxtaposant, en les enchaînant, et/ou en réglant leur durée.', Editions Fernand Nathan, p. 44.

* 153 Ibid., p. 45. `Bien entendu répétons que cet élargissement n'a d'intérêt que dans une perspective théorique et analytique.', Editions Fernand Nathan, p. 44.

* 154 Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 1, p. 29. `Eisenstein ne cesse de rappeler que le montage, c'est le tout du film, l'Idée.', Cinéma 1, p. 46.

* 155 Ibid., p. 30. `La composition des images-mouvement, Griffith l'a conçue comme une organisation, un organisme, une grande unité organique. Ce fut sa découverte. L'organisme est d'abord une unité dans le divers, c'est-à-dire un ensemble de parties différenciées. [...] Il faut encore que les parties agissent et réagissent les unes sur les autres, à la fois pour montrer comment elles entrent en conflit et menacent l'unité de l'ensemble organique, et comment elles surmontent le conflit ou restaurent l'unité.' Cinéma 1, p. 47-48.

* 156 Stephen Heath, Questions of Cinema, p. 43.

* 157 Ibid., p. 43-44.

* 158 Ibid., p. 54.

* 159 Lapsley and Westlake, Film theory, p. 141.

* 160 Ibid., p. 137.

* 161 Heath, op. cit., p. 19-20.

* 162 Ibid., p. 20.

* 163 Lapsley and Westlake, op. cit., p. 148.

* 164 Ibid., p. 148

* 165 Heath, op. cit., p. 21.

* 166 Ibid., p. 23.

* 167 Ibid., p. 24.

* 168 Noël Burch, Theory of Film Practice, trans. Lane, Helen, London Secker & Warburg, London, 1983.

p. 142.

* 169 Lapsley and Westlake, op. cit., p. 155.

* 170 Wölfflin, Principles, p. 135.

* 171 Noël Burch, op. cit., p. xviii.

* 172 Aumont, Bergala, Marie and Vernet, op. cit., p. 13. `Le hors-champs est donc essentiellement lié au champ, puisqu'il n'existe qu'en fonction de celui-ci; il pourrait se définir comme l'ensemble des éléments (personnages, décors, etc.) qui, n'étant pas inclus dans le champ, lui sont néanmoins rattachés imaginairement, pour le spectateur, par un moyen quelconque.' Editions Fernand Nathan, p. 15.

* 173 Heath, Questions of Cinema, p. 45.

* 174 Deleuze, Cinema 1, p. 16. `Si l'on reprend l'alternative de Bazin, cache ou cadre, tantôt le cache opère comme un cache mobile suivant lequel tout ensemble se prolonge dans un ensemble homogène plus vaste avec lequel il communique, tantôt comme un cadre pictural qui isole un système et en neutralise l'environnement. Cette dualité s'exprime de manière exemplaire entre Renoir et Hitchcock, l'un pour qui l'espace et l'action excèdent toujours les limites du cadre qui n'opère qu'un prélèvement sur une aire, l'autre chez qui le cadre opère un «enfermement de toutes les composantes», et agit comme un cadre de tapisserie plus encore que pictural ou théâtral.', Cinéma 1, Editions de Minuit, p. 28. Deleuze's use of the term tapestry is explained later in Cinema 1, when he describes Hitchcock's films as a weaving of relations, with the action as the mere mobile shuttle, p. 200.

* 175 Ibid., p. 16, I replaced the term of out-of-field used in the translation by the term off-screen, since it is more consistent with the term generally used in film theory. `Tout cadrage détermine un hors-champ. Il n'y a pas deux types de cadrage dont l'un seulement renverrait au hors-champs, il y a plutôt deux aspects très différents du hors-champs dont chacun renvoie à un mode de cadrage.' Cinéma 1, p. 29.

* 176 Heath, op. cit., p. 20-21.

* 177 Heath analysed at length the composition of a scene in Oshima Nagisa's Death by Hanging, to demonstrate how the framing and montage of scene highlights the sense of displacement of the characters. Op. cit., p. 64-69.

* 178 Ibid., p. 52.

* 179 Arnold Hauser, Mannerism, The Crisis of the Renaissance and the Origin of Modern Art, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1965, p. 9.

* 180 `If you're sitting in front of a painting and it's part-way going and it starts talking to you, then you act and react. You're going with a kind of a subconscious intuition kind of thing. And things unfold. It's the same way with a scene in a film: you can have it in the script but when it's in front of you, it's fluid. If a line doesn't work, you adjust it - you see it has to be this way. You see that the light has to be a certain way, the pace has to be a certain way. It's talking to you. Unfortunately, only when all the elements are together does it really talk to you. So you've got to be on your toes. You've got to be on guard. You've got to be in that world. [...] and because of the money and the pressure now, it's almost like a catastrophe. Making pictures has gotten too fast. Many pictures skim along the surface. They can't delve deep because, if you're water-skiing at fifty miles an hour, you're not going to go beneath the surface. But if the boat stops - or even slows up - down you go in the deep water. And that's where the good ideas are.' Lynch on Lynch, p. 27.

* 181 Lynch on Lynch, p. 234.

* 182 Lapsley and Westlake, Film Theory, p. 152.

* 183 Lynch on Lynch, p. 27.

* 184 Tad Friend, `Creative Differences',, [16.03.2003].

* 185 Michel Chion, David Lynch, (BFI), p. 100.

* 186 Michel Chion, op. cit., p. 103. `Twin Peaks déploie en effet des dimensions insolites avec plus de naturel que certains de ses films de cinéma, à cause de la possibilité qu'une série offre de faire entrer graduellement le spectateur dans un monde différent. [...] La télévision serait donc pour lui un médium de chambre, dont la limitation en ampleur et en polyphonie est compensée par un espace en durée plus large.' Editions Cahiers du Cinéma, p. 122.

* 187 Michel Chion, David Lynch, Editions Cahiers du Cinéma, 2001, p. 244.

* 188 Studiocanal is the production unit of the French paying channel Canal +. David Lynch's films have often been partly supported by French productions, such as Ciby 2000, the Bouygues production unit (owner of TF1), for Twin Peaks, Fire Walk with Me and Lost Highway, and Studiocanal for The Straight Story.

* 189 Lynch on Lynch, p. 17.

* 190 Jared Rapfogel, `David Lynch',, [16.03.2003]

* 191 Michel Chion, David Lynch, (BFI), p. 147-148. `De fait la série est bien dans le film, mais - c'est là l'humour spécial et la logique particulière des auteurs - sous une forme retournée. Notamment dans la première partie du prologue, inversion de tout ce qui faisait Twin Peaks.' Cahiers du Cinéma, p. 173.

* 192 Ibid., pp. 147-149.

* 193 Ibid., p. 155.

* 194 Thierry Jousse, `Lost Highway', my translation: `Le jeu de dualités, de résonances, d'échos qui constituent le fond même du film ne dit pas autre chose. Tout est double dans Lost Highway les personnages, les situations, les objets, et chaque élément ne peut être perçu qu'en fonction d'un réseau de correspondances propre au film. Le spectateur est pris dans un circuit intégré, une boucle involutive a l'intérieur de laquelle il doit créer ses propres repères.'

* 195 Stephen Pizzello, `Highway to Hell', American Cinematographer, Vol. LXXVIII, No. 3, March 1997, p. 42.

* 196 Martha Nochimson, `«All I need is the girl»: The Life and Death of Creativity in Mulholland Drive' in The Cinema of David Lynch, American Dreams, Nightmare Visions, p. 178.

* 197 Michel Chion, David Lynch, (BFI), p. 58. `Ce que certains peuvent prendre pour de la raideur et du classicisme - cette simplicité des plans - est donc une manière de préserver une dimension mythique. Lynch crée ainsi, dans Elephant Man, une atmosphère de théâtre rituelle, en sur-place.' Cahiers du Cinéma, p. 74.

* 198 Leibniz, Gottfried, Wilhelm, Philosophical Texts, trans. Woolhouse, R.S. and Richard Francks, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998. p. 85-86.

* 199 Heath, op. cit., p. 54-55.

* 200 Having found the time usually allowed by the studios for post production much too short, Lynch now has his own sound studio to be able to make his soundtrack at his own pace.

* 201 Nochimson, The Passion, p. 36.

* 202 Michel Chion, David Lynch, (BFI), p. 43-44. I replaced «separation» by «continuity» as it was contradicting the sense of the sentence. `Mais la force du concept sonore du film est surtout qu'il n'y a plus de solution de continuité entre ambiance et musique.' Cahiers du Cinéma, p. 54.

* 203 Chris Rodley, Lynch on Lynch, p. 73. To which Lynch answered: `yeah, but scientists don't understand it. They say, `It's moving electrons.' But there's a certain point where they say, `We don't know why that happens.' I'm not a scientist and I haven't talked to these guys that are into electricity, but it is a force. When electrons run down a wire - do they have that power. It's amazing. How did a plug or an outlet get to be shaped that way? And light bulbs: I can feel these random electrons, you know, hitting me. It's like when you go under power lines. If you were blindfolded, and drove down a highway under those power lines, and really concentrated, you could tell when they occurred. There is something very disturbing about that amount of electricity - they know these things now. A tumour grows in the head.

* 204 Deleuze, The Fold, p. 89. L'infini actuel dans le moi fini, c'est exactement la position d'équilibre, ou de déséquilibre, baroque. Le Pli, p. 119.

* 205 Lynch on Lynch, p. 227.

* 206 Wölfflin, Principles, p. 15.

* 207 Lynch on Lynch, p. 27.

* 208 Jean-Luc Godard, `Juste une conversation' avec Jean-Michel Frodon, Cahiers du Cinéma, No. 590, May 2004, p.21, my translation: `La caméra est le véritable contrechamp du projecteur, et les bons films partent du contrechamp, de la caméra. Les films que j'ai aimés, au cours de ces dernières années, [...] sont tous des films qui ont besoin de la caméra, qui partent de ce besoin, pour projeter ce qu'ils ont à dire. Alors que la quasi-totalité des films commence par le projecteur, par ce que les cinéastes veulent déjà dire avant d'avoir été filmés. Ils violent la caméra, ils l'asservissent à un discours, ils disent: je vais filmer cette pomme parce que ceci et cela, parce qu'un tel a dit que...'

* 209 Gilles Deleuze, seminar on Leibniz, 19.05.1987, my translation: `L'événement ne peut pas s'inscrire dans l'âme sans en même temps réclamer un corps dans lequel il se trace.'

* 210 Gilles Deleuze, The Fold, p. 36. I inserted in bracket the word manner since it seemed closer to the French word manière and as it introduces the notion further developed by Deleuze of Mannerism. `En règle générale, c'est la manière dont une matière se plie qui constitue sa texture: elle se définit moins par ses parties hétérogènes et réellement distinctes que par la manière dont celles-ci deviennent inséparables en vertu de plis particuliers.' Le Pli, p. 51.

* 211 John Rajchman, Constructions, Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1998, p. 14.

* 212 Noël Burch, Theory of Film Practice, p. xviii.

* 213 Wölfflin, Renaissance and Baroque, p. 46.

* 214 Stephen Pizzello, `Highway to Hell' p. 35

* 215 Lynch on Lynch, p. 48.

* 216 Ibid., p. 49.

* 217 Richard Combs, `Crude Thought & Fierce Forces', Monthly Film Bulletin, Vol. LVI, No. 639, April 1987, p. 104.

* 218 Quoted by Chris Rodley, in Lynch on Lynch, p.54.

* 219 Charles Drazin, Blue Velvet, p. 153.

* 220 Thierry Jousse, `Lost Highway', my translation: `Les signes flottent et ne se raccordent plus les uns aux autres. Le récit n'est plus au premier plan mais a essentiellement une fonction rythmique ou climatique. [...] Lynch cherche un contact hyper-sensoriel avec son spectateur, il travaille à le mettre dans un certain état de réceptivité, lui faisant simultanément perdre pied et trouver une nouvelle relation avec des flux de perception excessivement subtils, qui s'apparentent bien sur à ceux qu'il est possible d'atteindre par l'intermédiaire d'une drogue. C'est la fonction musicale ou cérémoniale de la mise en scène.'

* 221 M. Chion, David Lynch, BFI, p. 195-196. `La notion de texture revêt un sens très personnel chez Lynch, Presque universel aussi, à entendre celui-ci l'invoquer dans des contextes si divers. Il appelle texture la superposition de différentes couches, de niveaux de significations multiples, comme il essaie de la réaliser dans ses films. Mais aussi dans un sens plus répandu, c'est l'aspect d'une surface ou d'une peau, ses motifs, sa granulation, ses micro-reliefs, apparaissent comme tels lorsqu'on efface les mots. Dans ce deuxième sens, la texture renvoie à l'idée d'un fragment du continuum naturel- d'un gros plan sur la robe de la nature.' Editions Cahiers du Cinéma, p. 233.

* 222 Brian O'Doherty, `Kane's Welles', p. 89.

* 223 Deleuze, The Fold, p. 11. `Il n'y a pas seulement du vivant partout, mais des âmes partout dans la matière. Alors, quand un organisme est appelé à déplier ses propres parties, son âme animale ou sensitive s'ouvre à tout un théâtre, dans lequel elle perçoit et ressent d'après son unité, indépendamment de son organisme, et pourtant inséparable.', Le Pli, p. 16-17.

* 224 Pauline Kael, Hooked, Film Writings 1985-1988, London-New York: Marion Boyars, 1992, p. 203.

* 225 Ibid., p. 207.

* 226 Michel Chion, David Lynch, BFI, p. 196. ` Très vite Lynch a pris le pli d'ouvrir ses films - avec le générique ou juste après - sur des textures mouvantes, qui mettent le film sous le signe d'une certaine matière ou d'une substance.' Editions Cahiers du Cinéma, p.233.

* 227 Lynch on Lynch, p. 134. `It was the song that sparked the movie! Bernie Wayne wrote that song in the early fifties. I forget who sung it first, but it wasn't Bobby Vinton. But Bobby Vinton's version was the first one I ever heard. I don't know what it was about that song, because it wasn't the kind of music that I really liked. But there was something mysterious about it. It made me think about things. And the first things I thought about were lawns [laughs] - lawns and the neighbourhood. It's twilight - with maybe a streetlight on, let's say, so a lot is in the shadow. And in the foreground is part of a car door, or just a suggestion of a car, because it's too dark to see clearly. But in the car is a girl with red lips. And it was these red lips, blue velvet and these black-green lawns of a neighbourhood that started it.'

* 228 Pauline Kael, op. cit., p. 207.

* 229 Lynch in Lynch on Lynch, p. 113-114.

* 230 Michel Chion, David Lynch, BFI, p. 196. `Dans Dune, sur le générique, ce sont évidement les dunes du désert ou le vent soulève des rideaux de sable - mais curieusement, cette texture ne joue pas de rôle significatif dans la suite du film, où Lynch s'intéresse surtout au bois, au métal et au cuir des décors intérieur.' Editions Cahiers du Cinéma, p.233.

* 231 Ibid., `Les volutes de flamme du générique de Sailor et Lula, grandioses et théâtralisées, sur l'orchestre de Richard Strauss, annoncent le leitmotiv du film, le feu, associé à la puissance du sexe.', Editions Cahiers du Cinéma, p. 233.

* 232 Martha Nochimson, The Passion, p.64.

* 233 Michel Chion, David Lynch, Editions Cahiers du Cinéma 2001, p. 254, my translation: `Ici, c'est une texture striée, qui se révèle être les sillons d'un champ, filmé d'hélicoptère.'

* 234 Lynch on Lynch, p. 23.

* 235 Michel Chion, David Lynch, BFI, p. 192. `Fumées pulsantes d'Eraserhead, fumées enveloppantes et puissantes d'Elephant Man, fumées (trop intermittentes malheureusement et décoratives) de la planète Giedi Prime dans Dune. Panaches de fumées en colonnes bien droites, comme au sortir de la scierie quand elle est en activité (générique de la série Twin Peaks), ou petit champignon atomique ponctuant la venue à l'existence de John Merrick, puis son retour au Grand Tout (Elephant Man): les fumées sont la vie, elles sont la vie obscure et confuse.' Cahiers du Cinéma, p. 213.

* 236 Ibid., p. 192.

* 237 Lynch is very specific about the smoke he wants, in Lynch on Lynch he talks about some of his photographs: `But then it went one step further: why not just pure smoke? Smoke obscures things. And it's another texture. It seemed like a good combo, so I got a smoke machine from my friend, special effects expert Gary D'Amico. He's got, like, a hundred different smoke machines. I like black smoke, but there's no such thing any more. The only way to really get black smoke is to burn tyres, but it's so toxic it isn't funny.' p. 219.

* 238 Ron Magid, `Blue Velvet - Small Town Horror Tale', p. 72-74.

* 239 Pauline Kael, op. cit., p. 207.

* 240 Michel Chion, David Lynch, BFI, p. 150-151.

* 241 Lynch on Lynch, p. 72-73.

* 242 Deleuze, The Fold, p. 115. `Une conception Baroque de la matière, en philosophie comme en art, doit aller jusque-la, une texturologie qui témoigne d'un organicisme généralisé ou d'une présence des organismes partout.' Le Pli, p. 155.

* 243 `And then I saw the radiator in my head. And it was an instrument for producing warmth in a room; it made me sort of happy - like me as Henry, say. I saw this opening to another place. So I ran into the set and looked at the radiator more closely. You know, there are many different types of radiators, but I'd never seen another radiator like this. It had a little kind of chamber, like a stage in it. I'm not kidding you. It was right there, and it just changed everything.' Lynch on Lynch, p. 64-65.

* 244 Lynch on Lynch, p. 114.

* 245 Michel Chion, David Lynch, Editions Cahiers du Cinéma, 2001, p. 260. `Il faut donc accepter la règle du jeu de ce film, qui est que certaines intrigues secondaires (notamment tout ce qui concerne le tueur à gage qu'on voit, au début, assassiner trois personnes plus un aspirateur) disparaissent sans laisser presque aucune trace.'

* 246 Martha Nochimson, The Passion, p. 51.

* 247 Thierry Jousse, `Mulholland Drive: l'amour à mort',, my translation: `Il y a dans Mulholland Drive un coté film ambiant au sens où la création d'ambiances incroyablement sophistiquées et la permanente fluidité de leurs enchaînements conduisent en priorité la perception du spectateur. Ce qui revient souvent à croire que tout est mystère, rien n'est rationnel explicable et qu'il s'agit seulement de se laisser porter, comme dans un environnement, une installation ou une pièce musicale, par la pure sensualité. Mais en réalité, cette dimension sensorielle pour fondamentale qu'elle soit, ne doit jamais faire oublier que le film est aussi un texte qu'il faut lire et interpréter. C'est dans l'interstice, la faille créée par la disjonction ou l'ambivalence entre ces deux pôles apparemment contradictoires que s'engouffre ou se glisse précisément le film, objet tout à la fois rationnel et insaisissable.'

* 248 Deleuze, The Fold, p. 11. `L'âme dans le Baroque a avec le corps un rapport complexe: toujours inséparable du corps, elle trouve en celui-ci une animalité qui l'étourdit, qui l'empêtre dans les replis de la matière, mais aussi avec une humanité organique et cérébrale (le degré de développement) qui lui permet de s'élever, et la fera monter sur de tout autres plis.' Le Pli, p. 17.

* 249 Lynch on Lynch, p. 22.

* 250 Chris Rodley, Lynch on Lynch, p. 32.

* 251 Ibid., p.72.

* 252 Rodley, Lynch on Lynch, p. 188-189.

* 253 Stefan Drössler, `Lola Montes: The Restoration', Sight & Sound, Vol. 12, No. 6, June 2002, p. 28.

* 254 Michel Chion, David Lynch, BFI, p. 68-69. `C'est d'ailleurs à un point-limite du cinéma que Lynch s'affronte: dans Dune, les mots n'arrivent pas à s'incarner totalement, parce que dès le début ils sont trop porteurs de symbolique. Le mot spice par exemple, ne parvient pas à rejoindre et à fusionner avec l'image concrète et récurrente d'une goutte de liquide noir qui lui correspond visuellement, et qu'on a méchamment comparée à une publicité pour café. Lynch a pris là un risque énorme - mais un beau risque - en comptant sur la rencontre des mots et des images-symboles.' Editions Cahiers du Cinéma, p. 84.

* 255 Michel Chion, `Dune, les visages et les noms', my translation: `Le verbe dans Dune est omniprésent, signifiant, rituel, sérieux. Si il y a de l'humour (et il y en a) il est à partir de ce sérieux. On sait que dans le roman de Franck Herbert, l'onomastique est très importante: le fait par exemple, que la planète Dune soit appelée le plus souvent Arrakis. Franck Herbert n'ignore pas que l'espace entre les deux noms d'une même planète ou d'une même personne, est pour la rêverie humaine un champs plus grand que les millions d'années lumières entre les galaxies. Se faisant film, dans l'adaptation de David Lynch, le Verbe continue d'être fondateur, de représenter le lieu, l'espace. Les planètes sont d'abord des noms, l'espace est intérieur (sublime séquence du voyage vers Arrakis, en sur-place). Le mot reste en écart avec ce que l'on voit, et le film vit, vibre, à partir de cet écart.'

* 256 Wölfflin, Principles, p. 222.

* 257 Bordwell, Thomson and Staiger, Classical Hollywood, p. 223.

* 258 Ibid., p. 225.

* 259 Emmanuel Plasseraud, `Vestiges du baroque: L'Origine fantasmée', Vertigo, Projections Baroques, Hors Série, 2000, p. 34, `Mais nous connaissons aussi, au cinéma, les ombres expressionnistes et fantastiques, qui sont les expressions de la profondeur obscure de l'homme, non de son inconsistance.'

* 260 Deleuze, Cinema 1, The Athlone Press, p. 50-51. `Ce qu'il invoque, ce n'est pas la claire mécanique de la quantité de mouvement dans le solide ou le fluide, mais une obscure vie marécageuse où plongent toutes choses, soit déchiquetées par les ombres, soit enfouies dans les brumes. La vie non-organique des choses, une vie terrible qui ignore la sagesse et les bornes de l'organisme, tel est le premier principe de l'expressionnisme, valable pour la Nature entière, c'est-à-dire pour l'esprit inconscient perdu dans les ténèbres, lumière devenue opaque, lumen opacatum.' Cinéma 1, Editions de Minuit, p. 75.

* 261 Ibid., `Le baroque appréhende l'ombre pour ce qu'elle implique d'instabilité, d'inconsistance, d'immatérialité. Il lui offre une vie autonome, qui n'est pas menaçante, mais plutôt troublante.'

* 262 Wölfflin, Principles, p. 197.

* 263 Gilles Deleuze, The Fold, p. 31-32. `C'est un apport baroque: au fond blanc de craie ou de plâtre qui préparait le tableau, le Tintoret, le Caravage substituent un sombre fond brun-rouge sur lequel ils placent les ombres les plus épaisses et peignent directement en dégradant vers les ombres. Le tableau change de statut, les choses surgissent de l'arrière plan, les couleurs jaillissent du fond commun qui témoigne de leurs nature obscure, les figures se définissent par leur recouvrement plus que par leur contour.' Le Pli, p. 44-45.

* 264 Pauline Kael, Hooked, p. 207.

* 265 Stephen Pizzello, `Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, Laura Palmer's Phantasmagoric Fall from Grace', p.64. `He said, «Ron, you did it on the pilot and I know you can do it again». I was getting a little angry at that point. I said, «yeah, but Dave, this is the big screen, it's not going to be on television! The actors are going to have to light themselves!» So he said, «well, let's try that.» I begged and pleaded and got down on my knees, and finally he let me put a little bit of bounce in. I literally took two 1200 Pars and bounced them into the trees; he wouldn't even let me put a white card in! We started off in pure darkness, and then Dana and Sheryl came in with these xenon flashlights. I was able to have the actors point them at each other and bounce the light off their clothes, which were also dark, to provide a little ambient fill. They would point them at themselves once in a while, because they were supposed to be drunk and playing around. So I told them, «play with the light a lot in your faces!» While they were doing that, we would pan the 1200s straight up at the trees to provide some bounce lighting; I'd have the lighting crew pan them into the branches, following the general action of the flashlights, and then pan back out.'

* 266 Pauline Kael, op. cit., p. 208.

* 267 Nochimson, The Passion, p. 33-34.

* 268 Ibid., p. 34.

* 269 Stephen Pizzello, op. cit., p. 62.

* 270 Martha Nochimson, `Mulholland Drive', p. 43.

* 271 Deleuze, The Fold, p. 56-57. `Le fond de l'âme, le sombre fond, le «fuscum subnigrum», hante Leibniz: Les substances ou les âmes «tirent tout de leur propre fond.» C'est le deuxième aspect du maniérisme, sans lequel le premier resterait vide. Le premier, c'est la spontanéité des manières qui s'oppose à l'essentialité de l'attribut. Le second, c'est l'omniprésence du sombre fond qui s'oppose à la clarté de la forme, et sans quoi les manières n'auraient rien d'où surgir. La formule entière du maniérisme des substances est: «Tout leur naît de leur propre fond, par une parfaite spontanéité.»' Leibniz, in Deleuze, Le Pli, p. 76-77.

* 272 Michel Chion, David Lynch, BFI, p. 186. `Pourquoi la nuit? Peut-être parce que dans son manteau d'obscurité elle efface les contours des objets distincts et reconstitue le tout perdu. L'obscurité unit et fusionne ce que la lumière sépare. La nuit ressoude ce que le jour a dessoude.' Editions Cahiers du Cinéma, p. 222.

* 273 Nochimson, `Mulholland Drive', p. 44.

* 274 Ron Magid, `Blue Velvet, Small Town Horror Tale', p. 74.

* 275 Stephen Pizzello, `Highway to Hell', p. 37.

* 276 Ibid., p. 38.

* 277 Ibid., p. 38.

* 278 Buci- Glucksmann, Orlan, Triomphe du baroque, p. 11. `Et cette notion de métamorphose est gouvernée par un axiome baroque, qui est emprunte à l'opéra vénitien: il faut introduire des effets pour engendrer des affects, et ces affects créent des êtres. [...] Je retiens donc ces trois termes, des effets, des affects et des êtres, et ces trois termes constituent le triomphe du baroque, car ces effets instituent les manières comme des opérations infinies et de l'infini.'

* 279 Martha Nochimson, The Passion, p. 146.

* 280 Michel Chion, David Lynch, Editions Cahiers du Cinéma, p. 262, my translation: `Ce qui effraie en elle, c'est qu'il est impossible de savoir si elle joue, ou si elle «s'y croit», comme si elle ne savait pas se freiner, et qu'elle mettait en jeu toute son identité dans le moindre de ses actes.'

* 281 Martha Nochimson, `«All I Need is the Girl»: The Life and Death of Creativity in Mulholland Drive.' p. 172.

* 282 Thierry Jousse, op. cit., my translation: `Vivre parler chanter en play-back c'est a dire répéter des paroles déjà écrites en les interprétant différemment, en changeant leur direction, voila toute l'histoire des personnages et du cinéma d'aujourd'hui.'

* 283 Annette Davison, `«Up in Flames»: Love, Control and Collaboration in the Soundtrack to Wild at Heart.', in Erica Sheen and Annette Davison (ed.), The Cinema of David Lynch: American Dreams, Nightmare Visions, London: Wallflower Press, 2004, p. 120.

* 284 In a recent article in the publication «Celeb Spiritual Report», David Lynch describes the wonders of the Unified Field: `A significant event occurred in my life the day I learned that our human physiology, our body, is made of consciousness. [...] I learned that underlying all matter is a vast, unbounded, infinite and eternal field of consciousness called the Unified Field. I found out that modern science started taking this field seriously about 25 years ago and that all matter is unified at this level in a state of perfect symmetry, or balance. The entire universe emerges from this field in a process called "spontaneous sequential symmetry breaking. [...] "I realized this Unified Field is quite an interesting place. It is not manifest and is full, meaning it is no thing, yet all things in potential. It manifests and permeates all things: the whole universe, everything, while still remaining full and not manifest.' David Lynch, `One Significant Day in My Life', Celeb Spiritual Report, Jan-May 2004, Fairchild Publication Inc, available at, [14.06.2004]

* 285 Martha Nochimson, `The Straight Story: Sunlight Will Out of The Darkness Come', [08.05.2003].

* 286 Michel Chion, `Dune les visages et les noms', my translation. , Cahiers du cinéma, No. 368, Février 1985, [03.11.2002].`David Lynch n'est pas victime de cette formule nuisible, source selon moi, de la plupart des académismes actuels, qui veut que le cinéma, ce soit des images et des sons. Passionné par la matière cinématographique, il continue de croire que le cinéma est fait aussi de visages, de corps, de personnes, de visions et de mots. Moyennant quoi, tout ceci, qu'il prend à bras le corps, lui résiste encore parfois, mais cette résistance de ce qu'il filme dans sa volonté de faire oeuvre, cette résistance qu'il laisse être, donne à ses oeuvres une tension, une intensité autrement plus intéressante que toutes les poétiques actuelles de l'artificiel.'

* 287 Bill Krohn, `Lost Highway de David Lynch', trans. Serge Grünberg, Cahiers du Cinema, No. 509, Janvier 1997, highway/index.html [16.03.2003]. I could not find the original English transcript so that I had to translate back into English myself: `Pour moi il y a plus d'un mystère. Un mystère est ce qui se rapproche le plus du rêve. Le simple mot «mystère» est excitant. Les énigmes les mystères sont merveilleux jusqu'à ce qu'on les résolve. Je crois donc qu'il faut respecter les mystères.'

* 288 I was not able to view the material contained on his website: since I do not have a broadband access to Internet.

* 289 Slavoj Zizek, The Art of the Ridiculous Sublime, On David Lynch's Lost Highway, Seattle: The Walter Chapin Simpson center for the humanities, University of Washington, 2002 p. 39.

* 290 Slavoj Zizek, The Art of the Ridiculous Sublime, p. 41-42.

* 291 Steven Shaviro, `The Erotic Life of Machines', p. 29-30

* 292 Gilles Deleuze, The Fold, p. 125. `Il y a un certain temps déjà que s'élabore l'hypothèse d'un univers infini, qui a perdu tout centre aussi bien que toute figure assignable; mais le propre du Baroque est de lui redonner une unité, par projection, émanant d'un sommet comme point de vue. Il y a longtemps que le monde est traité comme un théâtre de base, songe ou illusion, vêtement d'Arlequin comme dit Leibniz; mais le propre du Baroque est non pas de tomber dans l'illusion ni d'en sortir, c'est de réaliser quelque chose dans l'illusion même, ou de lui communiquer une présence spirituelle qui redonne à ses pièces et morceaux une unité collective.' Le Pli, p. 170.