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Lynch handed award as movie baffles

By The Press Association, September 6, 2006

Director David Lynch has received a lifetime achievement award at the Venice Film Festival - as his latest movie premiered to baffled audiences. Inland Empire is the eccentric film-maker's most obscure picture yet.

Starring Laura Dern and Jeremy Irons, the mysterious tale of "a woman in love and in danger" features a series of hallucinatory scenes and a talking rabbit voiced by Naomi Watts.

It prompted one confused critic to ask Lynch: "Is it supposed to make sense?"

"It's supposed to make perfect sense," the director replied.

Venice organisers gave Lynch, 60, the lifetime achievement Golden Lion for a career which has included Eraserhead, the Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, Wild At Heart, Mulholland Drive and cult TV series Twin Peaks.

The director did not present his actors with a script for Inland Empire. Instead, he handed them a few pages of dialogue each morning as they turned up to shoot their scenes. The process took two-and-a-half years.

Dern, who worked with Lynch on Wild At Heart, admitted even she was not sure what the film was about.

"My experience on this film was very unique to say the least, even after working with David for a long time.

"The truth is I didn't know who I was playing - and I still don't know. I'm looking forward to seeing the film to learn more."

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© Mike Hartmann