Friday, June 30, 2006
The Earth Moved
I had a spiritual experience last night, and I hardly know how to talk about it. Every time I think of it I get frissons.
Saw the Blue Velvet anniversay screening and heard Mr. Lynch speak. At my favorite theatre no less, the quaint Crest in Westwood. The kind with a curtain that closes before the movie, and has a twinkly light show on the walls during previews.
Now, this is a really big deal. In the entire six years I've lived in LA, I've never seen that David Lynch was speaking anywhere. He's quite the eccentric recluse.
I went with my friend Carrie, and I was excited, but it wasn't until I sat down in the comfy red velvet seats that I realized how special this evening was to be to me.
I would have to say that Twin Peaks/Blue Velvet (for me they are the same, a la Elseworlds) is the single biggest artistic influence on me. Beyond giving me pure pleasure and enrapturing my imagination, they made me feel "gotten" in that rare way we only experience a few times in our lifetime, usually during an intense conversation at 3 am in a dorm room. It should have occurred to me as logical that I would thus get and be gotten by the author.
The Q & A started, and David Lynch was quizzed rather antagonistically about his artistic process. Now I've never been a "fan" of filmmakers. I don't stalk them or read about all their processes or emulate their styles. I guess I've always thought of them as compatriots rather than idols. So while you would think I would know all about Mr. Lynch, it was actually an amazing discovery to hear him speak (in that fabulous, whiny "Gordon" voice). And beyond being incredibly, charmingly cumdeonly and eccentric and funny, he said he always starts a movie/screenplay with exploring an IDEA. And that that idea attracts other ideas like bait, and he follows where they swim.
As much as I've enjoyed the last two years of bonding with and learning from fellow screenwriters, whenever they ask me to pitch them my stories and I start with a philosophical discussion of "Well, I wanted to explore this IDEA..." their eyes glaze over. I completely lose them. The professors were even less sympatico to what I was trying to describe about my creative process. I realized quickly that I was some oddball in the writing community, and just shut up about my how and why. Which is unfortunately, the part I'm passionate about. And that this process doesn't allow me to outline...I'm lucky I haven't been stoned to death or driven to the outskirts of town and rolled out into the tumbleweeds.
So during the Q & A, when I already thought I'd died and gone to heaven, Mr. Lynch started describing all movies only in terms of MOODS. Holy crap. Someone else feels movies and writing the way I do? Imagine me hearing DAVID LYNCH describe exactly my process and passion. Unreal. Finally, I feel like a real filmmaker and not a fraud.
AND THEN he said he's shooting his newest creation, Inland Empire, on MY CAMERA: the Sony PD150. He called the bad quality of it "terrible and beautiful".
Wow. So I have no excuses left. I even own the camera he's using. I could pick it up at any moment of the day and just start shooting bits.
(By the way, all he'll say about IE is that you'll see Laura Dern's talent and that it's about "a woman in trouble." Freaking hysterical. Is there a film of his that can't be described with that line? He got really moody and pissy when the moderator pushed him for more. Love him. Also loved him for his reverant tone and words about the "great Isabella Rossellini" and her father, an idol of his as a student filmmaker. If only everyone spoke so thoughtfully of their ex-lovers.)
Seeing Blue Velvet in a theatre with an appreciative audience was phenomonal. Has to be one of the funniest, coolest, most original films ever made. So quotable. Kyle's character Jeffrey is so insouciant, just like Mr. Lynch. I've always thought of Blue Velvet as Nancy Drew losing her virginity through gang rape, and then finding redemption as a nun. Mr. Lynch described its mood as Russian, with a little American. When pressed on what he would tell a first-time audience, he said to enjoy flying into the screen, into a beautiful dream.
It's funny, DL said some of his favorite directors were Fellini, Hitchcock, Wilder (he wants to live always inside the mood of Sunset Boulevard), but I always see a dollop of Roeg in DL's work. If you ever get a chance, go see BV with a great audience.
What an amazing night. But alas, no picture taken with David Lynch...his Q & A (really just a Q) was before the movie, and quite short. He exited quickly, and then it was dark.
Go to the jump for a little velvet...