|Papers & Essayes
|The Lynch Film, by Rebecca Paiva
Perhaps the most obvious element of technology is cinematography. Bizarre camera angles are a favorite of Lynch. He will position the camera in a far, overhead corner of the room; shoot the scene from under a table; or even through a crystal ball (as in Wild at Heart.) He is very concerned with creating beautiful images. A painter before he was a filmmaker, Lynch prefers nonsensical images that evoke feeling to words that describe. As a result, often his cinematography is literally a "moving picture." (Buzz)
Fadeouts and slow motion are also prevalent; they both contribute to the abstract, under-the-surface mood Lynch strives for. Some of the more interesting sequences include the opening of The Elephant Man, a sex scene in Blue Velvet, and a flashback sequence in Twin Peaks. In the Elephant Man's opening scene, we witness the "making" of the Elephant Man: in slow motion, a mad elephant strikes down and attacks a pregnant woman; her head rears from side to side as she screams. He sound, as well as the visual, has been slowed down, so the woman seems to be roaring in agony, while the elephant sounds like a demon from the pit of hell. In Blue Velvet, Jeffrey gives in to Dorothy's pleading "hit me" during sex, and finds his primitive instincts aroused. They proceed to have sex in a slow motion sequence, their thrusting and sounds of their groans not unlike that of wild animals. In Twin Peaks, the image of Mrs. Palmer running down the stairs under a ceiling fan was repeated many times in slow-motion; this contributed a dream-like quality to the event, especially significant because it was right before she found out her daughter had been killed. There are many more slow motion sequences, too numerous to mention, that create similar moods of dreamlike confusion, horror, or primal drives.
Lighting techniques are also very similar in Lynch's films; he has an affinity for dark vs. light settings. Sometimes, this can resemble film noir techniques (as in Blue Velvet and Lost Highway), or it can suggest an unyielding world of darkness and confusion (Eraserhead, Industrial Symphony #1, Wild at Heart), or it can even hint at a dark underbelly of an idyllic setting (Twin Peaks, Fire Walk With Me, Blue Velvet.) But whatever the metaphor behind the lights, a Lynch buff quickly gets accustomed to oddly-shaped shadows, dark rooms, slats of sunshine, and strobe lights.