Storytelling, since the dawn of time, has served as an invaluable means in which human beings are able to create, sustain, and relay emotion, identity, and ideology. The stories people tell allow them to simultaneously connect to, and differentiate themselves from one another. Arguably more important than the stories themselves are the manners in which they are told. In this century, films have become one of the dominant forms of storytelling. Movies are seen on every continent on Earth, and reach hundreds of millions of people each year. Storytellers who work within the medium of film have a chance to exhibit their work on an unparalleled stage. During the first half of the twentieth-century, a movement known as classical Hollywood cinema thrived. The films created in the time of classical Hollywood cinema operated largely within metanarratives; all-embracing laws which governed human behavior. These films utilized well-known plot structures and familiar characters to tell their stories. There was almost always a hero and a villain, and, in the end, the hero would always get the girl. Specifically, each film genre would operate amidst its own metanarrative structure. Detective movies, thrillers, romance movies, horror films, and comedies all followed their own metanarratives. This was, in the world of film, modernism.
[...] Reality within the films of David Lynch is purely objective. The worlds which Lynch uses as his settings, though seemingly identifiable, are not confined by reality. In his essay Precession of Simulacra”, Jean Baudrillard compares the “realness” of Disneyland to that of reality itself. He says of Disneyland, its values are exalted here, in miniature and comic strip form. Embalmed and pacified” (Baudrillard 352). Disneyland is viewed by many Americans to be a playful vision of utopia; a place in which people can become lost in unquestioned happiness. [...]
[...] Everything that exists in the film is there not merely to further the story, but to act as story itself; this is Lynch at his best. Foster Hirsch points out that crime scenes in Blue Velvet are of value purely as spectacle, as titillation for the investigator himself, as well as the audience” (Hirsch 174). In Blue Velvet, as in most David Lynch texts, the emphasis is on the storytelling rather than the story; and the storytelling is disturbingly beautiful. [...]
[...] By 1996, David Lynch had disregarded the “possibly-real” elements of his earlier films, and infused his movies with pure fantasy. In one scene in Lost Highway, for example, a malevolent being calls the female protagonist character on the telephone. As the protagonist talks to the being on the phone, it appears in human form to terrify the woman. The rules of reality do not apply in this film; neither do conventional methods of storytelling. Degli-Esposti points out that in Lost Highway, “reality seems to disperse in stories within stories within stories, and no single perspective or interpretation is necessarily the right (Degli-Esposti 9). [...]
[...] In other words, it's a comedy” (Hunter 23). As was the case in Blue Velvet, the story is not important; it is the storytelling that matters. In Wild at Heart, the storytelling is even more tantalizingly dreamlike than previous Lynch works. Wild at Heart can best be described as a shock-laden, intangible road movie with an under-the-surface love story, but nothing substantial on the surface. The individual moments are breathtaking, but as a whole, they add up to nothing; commonplace David Lynch (and consequently, postmodern) storytelling. [...]
[...] Precession of Simulacra”. A Postmodern Reader. Joseph Natoli, Linda Hutcheon, eds. New York. State University of New York: 1993. Pgs. 342-373. Habermas, Jurgen. “Modernity versus Postmodernity.” A Postmodern Reader. Joseph Natoli, Linda Hutcheon, eds. New York. State University of New York: 1993. Pgs. 91-105 Hutcheon, Linda. “Beginning to Theorize Postmodernism.” A Postmodern Reader. Joseph Natoli, Linda Hutcheon, eds. New York. State University of New York: 1993. Pgs. 243-273 Jameson, Fredric. “Postmodernism, Or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism.” A Postmodern Reader. [...]
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