During the first half of the twentieth-century, a movement known as classical Hollywood cinema thrived; this was the dawn of truly mainstream films. The movies created during this time 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 inevitably get the girl. This was a decidedly modernist period in the realm of film. In the latter half of the century, the metanarratives of mainstream, modernist cinema began to face subversion at the hands of a new generation of filmmakers. One filmmaker who has lead the way in this fundamental shift in cinema is David Lynch. Lynch has, for nearly thirty years, stood out as a remarkably postmodern, independent filmmaker. He is largely responsible for ushering in a new breed of independent film, in which the simultaneous subversion and celebration of mainstream metanarratives creates endless cinematic possibilities. His films, most notably Blue Velvet (1986), Wild at Heart (1990), and Mulholland Drive (2001) have generated extreme controversy, dozens of awards, and a reputation as one of America's most brilliant, offbeat directors. The stories these films tell are elaborately interesting, but what sets Lynch apart as a writer/director is the way he tells his stories. Lynch's work is categorically postmodern, extremely controversial, and undeniably independent.
[...] While the mystery in Blue Velvet maybe be reminiscent of the Hardy Boys, and the fictional town in the film (Lumberton) may look like a throwback to the films of Frank Capra, the sadistic violence and sexual depravity Lynch infuses subvert any and all remnants of mainstream ideology the film may have otherwise contained. Many film critics took issue with the brutal violence and perversion in Blue Velvet; largely seen in the sadistic, psychotic character of Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper). [...]
[...] 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. Lynch creates worlds in which nothing is real, but everything is seemingly based on something real. Kenneth C. Kaleta states that “Lynch never comments—he presents. He uses incidents of a story and elements of film to fashion his movie world. He tells us that the world is an amalgamation of contradictions. Life is both good and bad, as is everyone who lives in (Kaleta 91). [...]
[...] The world of David Lynch is full of contradictions. Engrossing yet disturbing, hauntingly familiar yet fantastically unrealistic, his films beckon the audience to engage in a postmodern reading that they need not even be aware they are undertaking. Foster Hirsch offers forth the opinion that, “David Lynch's fantasia is intoxicating, delicious, and meaningless” (Hirsch 174). This is, perhaps, the most accurate perception of Lynch's work one can arrive at. His films are breathtaking to watch, delightfully sinister to indulge in, and in the end, empty; they are the postmodern narrative. [...]
[...] What most critics of Wild at Heart failed to recognize was measure of parody that Lynch utilizes in the film. The excessive violence and sex of the film seems in place with the world that Wild at Heart occupies. The film is largely about the worst aspects of humanity; and all the while, the movie makes light of these malevolent characteristics. The world inside the film is not based in reality; audiences are not supposed to feel personally attached to anything that happens in the realm of the In his book Violent Screen, Stephen Hunter describes Wild at Heart as “full of murder, violence, perversion, bizarreness, cruelty, madness, violence, bad teeth, violence, trashy Southern accents, gratuitous gore, violence, and pure romantic love. [...]
[...] Lynch invites the audience into his incomparable world two hours at a time, and provides them with just enough “reality” to let them think they might have glimpsed something close to it before. It is at that point he subverts cinematic “reality” in such a fantastic way that they audience is forced to question anything and everything they could to see when entering a darkened theater. Works Cited Hutcheon, Linda. “Beginning to Theorize Postmodernism.” A Postmodern Reader. Joseph Natoli, Linda Hutcheon, eds. [...]
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