Eraserhead

Not rated yet!
Director
David Lynch
Runtime
1 h 29 min
Release Date
19 March 1977
Genres
Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction
Overview
Henry Spencer tries to survive his industrial environment, his angry girlfriend, and the unbearable screams of his newly born mutant child.
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  • Eraserhead: A Gnostic Anti-Sex Film

    [1]3,373 words

    David Lynch’s first movie Eraserhead (1977) combines surrealism, low-budget horror, and black comedy. It rapidly became a staple of the midnight movie circuit and provided endless fodder for coffee-house intellectuals and academic film theorists.

    Eraserhead is quite simply a gnostic anti-sex film. The film is premised on a gnostic dualism, which holds that the material world—including sex and childbearing—is fundamentally evil, a prison in which the spirit suffers. The solution to suffering is to free ourselves from the trammels of matter, including sexual desire.

    Eraserhead was filmed intermittently, on a shoestring budget, over a period of five years (1972–1977). Although the meaning of the film is self-contained, it is illuminated by some details in Lynch’s biography.

    For instance, beginning in 1973, Lynch began his lifetime engagement with Hinduism and Transcendental Meditation. He has reportedly described Eraserhead as his most “spiritual” work.

    From 1966 to 1970, while studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in Philadelphia, Lynch lived in a hellish urban environment like the one seen in Eraserhead.

    In 1968, Lynch’s first child, Jennifer, was born while he was still in art school. The pregnancy was unplanned, and Jennifer was born with severely clubbed feet, which required extensive corrective surgeries.

    In 1974, Lynch’s marriage broke up, due in part to his infidelity.

    Eraserhead opens with a planet in space. Then the sideways face of the main character, Henry Spencer (Jack Nance), floats up from the bottom of the screen in front of the planet (which can be seen through him) and drifts out of the frame. A throbbing sound grows louder and louder as we zoom in on the rough surface of the planet. Then we follow a trench until the screen is utterly dark. Next we see a metal-roofed shack on the surface with a huge hole in its roof. We enter the hole. Inside, we see a man with horribly disfigured skin seated in front of levers. In the background is a cracked and broken window.

    [2]

    We then cut to Henry’s face. His mouth opens, and what looks like a hypertrophied sperm cell comes out. Then the Man in the Planet pulls a lever, and the sperm whooshes out of the frame. Another lever seems to start a huge machine. The camera moves to a pool of water. Then a third lever sends the sperm splashing into the pool. Then we see bubbles and darkness. After that, we move toward a white circle of light, which seems to be glimpsed through a hole in gauze, fringed with hairs or threads. At which point the prologue ends.

    The meaning of the prologue becomes clear when we learn a bit later that Henry has fathered a baby with his estranged girlfriend Mary—or at least a hideously deformed something that they think is a baby. Henry’s head and mouth of course are stand-ins for his penis, from which sperm cells actually emerge. The pool of water into which the sperm falls is Mary’s womb. And the movement from darkness to light is the birth of the baby.

    The fact that this process is under the control of the so-called Man in the Planet gives it all a sinister cast. Sex and reproduction are material (the planet is a great hunk of matter, pulled into a spherical shape by the force of gravity), mechanical (produced by a huge machine), and directed by the malevolent will of the Man in the Planet, whose deformities emphasize his materiality and who is a kind of Gnostic Demiurge figure, imprisoning the spirit in matter.

    After the prologue, we see Henry’s face, looking back over his shoulder anxiously, as if he is being stalked. He is dressed in a suit with a pocket protector. His hair is teased up in a huge bouffant. He carries a brown paper bag through an industrial hellhole back to his tiny apartment. Before he enters, a beautiful brunette emerges from the apartment across the hall. The brunette is a temptress figure, who in this scene calls to mind Franz von Stuck’s Sin. The brunette tells Henry that someone named Mary called to invite him to dinner at her parents’ house. After an awkward silence, he thanks the woman and goes inside.

    [3]

    Henry’s apartment is a strange place. It is furnished with a table, a record player, a dresser, a tabernacle-like cupboard, a bed, a night stand, and a couple of lamps. What seem to be grass clippings are piled on top of the dresser and on the floor under the radiator. The night stand is decorated with a mound of dirt from which protrudes a denuded branch. A tiny picture of a nuclear mushroom cloud hangs above it. In the top drawer of his dresser, Henry finds a picture of Mary torn in two. Obviously their relationship has been strained.

    [4]

    The next scene, dinner at Mary’s house, is the dark comic high point of the film. The scene begins with Mary’s worried face peering out of the window of her house, which is set in an industrial hellscape with a front yard filled with dead flowers. Like Henry’s apartment, the interior is drab and depressing. There are grass clippings here, too.

    Henry’s meeting with Mary’s parents is filled with excruciatingly awkward silences, during which we hear constant mechanical rumbling and hissing, as well as the loud sucking sounds of a litter of nursing puppies. Both Mary and her mother have spastic episodes. Mary’s father Bill has a loud voice, a benumbed arm, and a demented grin frozen on his face. The less said about the chicken, the better.

    Then an electrical socket begins sparking and a lamp glows brightly, then burns out, which in Lynch’s cinematic language signifies the presence of the supernatural. The mother then confronts Henry with a very awkward question: “Did you and Mary have sexual intercourse?” The question is followed by some intensely awkward nuzzling from the mother.

    The reason she asks is that Mary has had some sort of . . . baby. Mary questions whether it is a baby at all, but the mother insists that it is a baby, a bit premature perhaps, but a baby. She also insists that Henry and Mary get married and raise the child. Henry takes the news by getting a nosebleed. All told, dinner could have gone better.

    The next scene takes place a short time later. Henry and Mary are apparently married and living together with the “baby” in Henry’s little room. The “baby” is a grotesque creature. It looks more like a fetal puppy than a human being. Basically, it is a hypertrophied sperm cell with eyes and a mouth. Its body is hidden in bandages. Apparently it has no arms or legs. Mary is becoming increasingly frustrated feeding the “baby,” which writhes, fusses, and spits out its food.

    [5]

    Henry goes to the lobby to check the mail. He finds a tiny package in his mailbox. Furtively, he ducks out to the street to open it, finding a tiny worm inside. He returns, a hopeful smile forming on his face, and lies down on his bed to soak up this scene of domestic bliss, staring into the hissing radiator. When Henry looks into the radiator, a light shines from inside it and an empty stage appears. Henry is pulled back from his reverie by the baby crying. When Mary asks if there is any mail, Henry lies and says no.

    Cut to a dark and stormy night with the baby crying. Henry gets out of bed and places the worm in the tabernacle-like cupboard, which emits a hum that grows louder when Henry opens the doors. Mary lies awake, tense, frustrated, and sleepless, listening to the baby cry. Finally, she loses her cool, leaps out of bed, and screams “Shut up.” Then she dresses and declares she is going back to her parents’ for a good night’s sleep.

    Before she departs, Mary kneels at the foot of the bed, peering between the bars of the metal bedframe like a woman in prison, yanking on the bed, causing it to rock and squeak. Is she pantomiming her imprisonment to the baby and the material realm? Is she having another spastic episode? No, she’s just trying to dislodge her suitcase from under the bed. After Mary departs we see the temptress coming down the hall looking wet, tired, and sultry.

    On his own, Henry wonders if the baby is sick and decides to take its temperature. The temperature is normal, but suddenly the baby is covered with vomit and hives. Its breathing is labored. So Henry rigs up a vaporizer. At one point he glances at the tabernacle, then moves toward the door, perhaps to check to see if any new worms have arrived in the mail, but the baby starts crying whenever he tries to leave.

    Cut to Henry in bed, at the beginning of another sleepless night. The radiator hisses. We hear metallic grinding. Two metal panels part, and we see the stage in the radiator, footlights coming on one after another. Then the Woman in the Radiator appears. She is blonde and wears a white dress. Her face is disfigured with huge round cheeks whose wrinkled texture makes them look like a scrotum. She begins dancing to the organ music that Henry played earlier on his phonograph. Her manner is girlish and demure.

    [6]

    Then sperm cells begin to fall onto the stage. The Woman in the Radiator regards them with childish excitement, but when the organ music stops, she gleefully squishes one beneath her shoe. The music resumes, then stops, whereupon another sperm is crushed. The wind then howls, and the Woman retreats back into the shadows.

    Is the Woman in the Radiator’s girlish and demure behavior just an act put on by a dominatrix who excites fetishists by crushing things underfoot? Perhaps. But if so, this is only a minor element of her role. Instead, I see her as an embodiment of asexuality and innocence, a Vestal Virgin whose purity is guarded by deformity, whose role is to crush and reject the deformed products of Henry’s sexuality. If the Man in the Planet represents bondage to matter and sexuality—which is embodied by the hideous and demanding “baby”—the Woman in the Radiator represents freedom from matter and sexuality, as well as the responsibility of parenthood. If the Man in the Planet is the Demiurge, the Woman in the Radiator is Sophia, the divine spiritual/intellectual principle that allows us to be saved from the bondage of the material realm.

    Metaphysically, the realm in the radiator is the opposite of the planet in the prologue. The light is the opposite of the darkness of the planet. The stage suggests a realm of imagination, spirit, and freedom, rather than the planet’s realm of matter, gravity, and mechanical compulsion. The music in the radiator contrasts sharply with the mechanical rattle and hum of the planet. If the radiator is heaven, the planet is hell. These contrasts point to a neat gnostic dualism of matter and spirit, bondage and freedom.

    When the Woman in the Radiator fades into the shadows, we see Henry tossing and turning in his bed. He wakes up to find that Mary is back, locked in a deep slumber, her face glistening with sweat. Her teeth are clicking together. She rubs one eye, making a gross squishing sound. She is hogging the bed, and Henry tries to force her onto the other side. Then, in horror, he reaches down and finds a sperm cell in the bed. He throws it against the wall, causing it to explode. Then he finds another and another and another. At this point, it is clear that the sperm are coming out of Mary, that she is writhing in the pangs of labor. This is how the “baby” was brought into the world. Mary’s bed hogging, writhing, sweating, teeth chattering, and eye rubbing—as well as the fact that she is unconscious the whole time—emphasize her corporeality and make it thoroughly revolting.

    The sperm cells have been splattered against the wall next to the tabernacle cupboard, whose doors now open to reveal the worm, which springs to life and begins squealing. It retreats into the darkness of the cupboard and then appears to be on the surface of the planet, squealing, writhing, doing somersaults, plunging into one hole and then emerging from another. On its last emergence, its end opens up in a vast, all-devouring maw, not unlike one of the sandworms of Arrakis. Mechanical noises grow louder as we plunge inside and then see Henry—apparently from the point of view of an observer in the planet, perhaps the Man in the Planet himself.

    The worm is sensate flesh, deprived of all higher faculties, capable only of cavorting and suffering on the material plane (the planet) where it is imprisoned, without hope of release. But Henry is more than just a worm. He has higher faculties (Sophia) that might just save him. But he’s due for another test, which the Man in the Planet has dispatched. Cue a knock on the door.

    The temptress across the hall has locked herself out of her apartment. It’s late. She wants to spend the night at Henry’s. When the baby begins to cry, Henry stifles it, lest the woman be repelled. Then we see Henry and the woman kissing in his bed—not on it, literally in it. They are sinking into a pool of white liquid in the middle of the bed. She sees the horrifying baby out of the corner of her eye, but continues to kiss and sink. In the end, only her wig is visible, floating on the surface of the white pool. Then we have a shot of white paint separating into two distinct white waves that flee one another. This effect was accomplished by sloshing two waves of white paint together, then reversing the film. The unity between the two has been broken. Coitus interruptus? Then the temptress’ face appears, looking into a sharp, narrow beam of light. Then we see the planet, which seems to force her back into darkness. She is, of course, both an instrument of the planet (a temptress) and a victim of it, since she, too, feels desire.

    Then the Woman in the Radiator steps forward from the darkness and begins to sing in a lilting, slightly Southern accent:

    In Heaven
    Everything is fine
    In Heaven
    Everything is fine
    In Heaven
    Everything is fine
    You got your good things
    And I’ve got mine

    In Heaven
    Everything is fine
    In Heaven
    Everything is fine
    In Heaven
    Everything is fine
    You got your good thing
    And you’ve got mine

    In Heaven
    Everything is fine

    This is a pretty clear statement of the dualism between the material/sexual/hellish realm represented by the planet and the Man within and the spiritual/asexual/heavenly realm represented by the Woman in the Radiator. Henry then steps onto the stage in the radiator, entering the Woman’s liminal space between hell and heaven—the realm of suffering and the realm of release. They look into one another’s eyes. Smiling, she opens her hands toward him. We heard a loud humming and twice see blinding white light. A glimpse of the stainless void? Then she is gone.

    Now we hear the baby crying and, in a flash, see the Man in the Planet. The dead sperm cells blow away. We hear a squeaking sound, and a mound with a dead tree in it is wheeled out onto the stage, an enlarged version of the mound with the dead branch on Henry’s dresser. Henry then steps into what appears to be a witness box, grasping the rail and nervously turning the pipe in its housing. Henry is clearly on trial, torn between the Man in the Planet and the Woman in the Radiator. It’s enough to blow a guy’s head clean off.

    So next, Henry’s head blows clean off, while his hands continue to grip and turn the railing. The head of the crying baby emerges from Henry’s neck. Blood begins to pour from the tree and pool up on the floor where Henry’s head has landed. Then his head disappears from the puddle of blood. It falls through the air and lands in an industrial alleyway, where the top of Henry’s skull breaks off. An urchin picks up the head and takes it to a pencil factory. A core sample of Henry’s brain is used to manufacture erasers. A factory worker sharpens a pencil and tests it by drawing, and then erasing, a line. The eraser bits are then just . . . brushed away. It is a bizarre but brilliant image of rampant dehumanization and materialism. Modern man doesn’t just use the whole buffalo. We are the buffalo. Today a man, tomorrow dust in the wind. Eraser dust in the wind.

    Fortunately, it was just a terrible dream. Henry awakes and finds the temptress gone. He spends the whole day waiting for her to return. He hears a sound, goes to knock on the temptress’ door, but there is no answer. The baby seems to be laughing at him. Hours pass. He hears the elevator and opens the door. The temptress is there, entering her apartment with a hideous old trick. She looks at Henry disdainfully, seeing his head replaced with the baby’s. Humiliated, Henry shrinks back and closes the door.

    Henry feels he has been rejected because of the baby, which fills him with hatred. He goes to the dresser and finds a pair of scissors. He cuts open the baby’s bandages and finds nothing but a pile of entrails. The kid has no body. Obviously, this is not a viable organism. And it is utterly repulsive. And it is ruining Henry’s life. Henry then resolves to kill it, stabbing its pulsating entrails with the scissors. Fluids squirt and then ooze out, followed by enormous amounts of foam. Henry retreats to the other end of his room. The electricity begins surging. Sparks fly out of the sockets. Something uncanny is about to happen. Then we see the head of the baby grown monstrously large, moving around the room, illuminated in the flickering lights. Then everything goes dark, and we hear a thud. Is it the baby? Is it Henry?

    Next we see Henry standing in a cloud of eraser dust. (It is the image on the film poster.) Then we see the planet, which explodes. After that, we see the man in the planet, his face in agony, sparks flying from his machinery, which he can no longer control. Finally, the screen is filled with white light as the Woman in the Radiator embraces Henry. Henry has been liberated from the sufferings of the material realm. The end.

    But what kind of liberation did Henry achieve? I would argue that it is not liberation through spiritual attainment. Henry has not overcome the desires that cause suffering. He has just killed his baby because it got in the way of satisfying his desire for the temptress across the hall. You can’t get much more sordid than that. Thus I believe Henry’s liberation was achieved simply by death. Hence the cloud of eraser dust, a symbol of the evanescence and ultimate meaninglessness of human life. Henry tried killing the baby, and the baby ended up killing him.

    Life is hell. Death is heaven. But there hardly seems to be any sort of moral order governing this arrangement. Heaven certainly does not seem like an appropriate reward for killing one’s child. But maybe heaven isn’t something after death. Maybe it simply is death. And death is simple annihilation, not a passage from one realm to another.

    It is hard to escape the conclusion that the message of Eraserhead is pure nihilism, albeit of a spiritual/mystical variety.

    It is, however, doubtful that this is David Lynch’s full and final philosophy of life, considering that he ended up fathering four children. When Lynch was in Art School in Philadelphia, his father was so disturbed by some of his artistic experiments that he urged his son not to have children. Just as I’d love to know what Freud’s mother thought about the Oedipus complex, I’d love to know what David Lynch’s kids think about Eraserhead.

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Counter-Currents Radio Podcast No. 170 Greg Johnson & John MorganThe Films of David Lynch, Part 1

    [1]63:54 / 88 words

    Part 1 of 2

    To listen in a player, click here [2].

    To download the mp3, right-click here [2] and choose “save target or link as.”

    To subscribe to our podcasts, click here [3] for iTunes and here [4] for RSS.

    Greg Johnson and John Morgan discuss the films of David Lynch. Topics include:

    • Lynch as conservative
    • Lynch and Flannery O’Connor
    • Lynch and the grotesque
    • Lynch and the supernatural
    • Lynch and the police
    • Eraserhead
    • The Elephant Man
    • Dune
    • Frank Herbert’s Dune books and their philosophy
    • Blue Velvet
    • Lynch and sex
    • Lynch and gnosticism
    ...
    (Review Source)
  • The Counter-Currents/North American New Right Newsletter, December 2018
    (”Eraserhead” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    846 words

    [1]Dear Friends of Counter-Currents,

    December was another strong month for Counter-Currents. We added 67 pieces to our webzine and more than 30 videos to our YouTube channel [2]. I also appeared on Millenniyule 2018 and the Red Ice Christmas/Yule special. Our top 20 articles and full stats are below. 

    1.  Top 20 Pieces (with Number of Reads):

    1. Huntley Haverstock, “‘Cyntoia’ Brown: Another Fake Victim [3],” 16,469
    2. Travis LeBlanc, “We Are Doomed Revisited: An Interview with John Derbyshire [4],” 5,383
    3. Alain de Benoist, “Populism in its Pure Form [5],” 5,298
    4. Greg Johnson, “Beyond the Alt Right: Toward a New Nationalism [6],” 4,430
    5. Robert Hampton, “Christianity and Nationalism: A Cautionary Tale [7],” 4,078
    6. Alain de Benoist, “Whatever Happens, the Yellow Vests Have Already Won [8],” 3,999
    7. Travis LeBlanc, “South Park Conservatism [9],” 3,907
    8. Richard Houck, “The War Against Whites in Advertising [10],” 3,675
    9. Collin Cleary, “The Problem of Eckhart Tolle [11],” 3,530
    10. Donald Thoresen, “Jason Stanley’s How Fascism Works [12],” 3,529
    11. Jared George, “Rock ‘n’ Roll and the European Soul [13],” 3,205
    12. Greg Johnson, “My Favorite Books of 2018 [14],” 2,888
    13. Travis LeBlanc, “South Park in the Age of Trump [15],” 2,844
    14. Greg Johnson, “Moral Seriousness [16],” 2,773
    15. Jean-Marie LePen, “Communism and Globalism [17],” 2,702
    16. Eordred, “Against Escapism [18],” 2,622
    17. John Morgan, “A Patriot without a Country [19],” 2,600
    18. Spencer Quinn, “A Nice Book by a Nice Lady [20],” 2,588
    19. Nicholas R. Jeelvy, “Sicilian Nightmares [21],”  2,584
    20. Trevor Lynch, “Eraserhead: A Gnostic Anti-Sex Film [22],” 2,545

    Both Huntley Haverstock and Richard Houck had Top 20 pieces that were published long ago but went viral in December. We had three writers who hit the Top 20 with their debut articles: Robert Hampton, Jared George, and Nicholas R. Jeelvy, four if we include John Derbyshire’s interview. Thank you gentlemen, and congratulations! Greg Johnson had four pieces in the top 20, including a Trevor Lynch review. Travis LeBlanc had three pieces including his interview with John Derbyshire. Alain de Benoist had two interviews on the Yellow Vests. Collin Cleary, Donald Thoresen, Jean-Marie LePen, Eordred, John Morgan, and Spencer Quinn all had one piece in the Top 20. Thank you!

    2. Our Readership and Web Traffic

    Month Unique Visitors Number of Visits Pages Viewed “Hits” Bandwidth
    December 2018 142,828 296,136 1,647,162 1,804,673 46.74 GB
    November 2018 139,255 289,998 1,568,158 1,708,499 44.97 GB
    October 2018 142,051 302,916 1,683,473 1,828,443 48.32 GB
    September 2018 149,035 298,321 1,541,361 1,692,787 44.29 GB
    August 2018 156,580 318,127 1,605,425 1,760,728 49.59 GB
    July 2018 151,710 287,323 1,495,087 1,541,056 43.60 GB
    June 2018 150,307 280,625 1,420,234 1,371,897 38.62 GB
    May 2018 151,739 287,032 3,990,878 4,140,772 38.36 GB
    April 2018 150,833 286,365 1,535,115 1,676,785 37.94 GB
    March 2018 169,686 327,589 2,589,786 2,733,787 54.08 GB
    February 2018 145,761 268,300 1,370,626 1,511,087 32.71 GB
    January 2018 150,378 297,511 1,575,368 1,715,849 37.82 GB
    December 2017 152,616 279,822 1,611,341 1,721,470 36.28  GB
    November 2017 206,887 369,476 1,447,593 1,558,599 34.12 GB
    October 2017 185,568 357,742 1,305,421 2,674,026 84.44 GB
    September 2017 167,887 316,974 1,174,706 5,018,519 59.75 GB
    August 2017 197,961 402,333 1,571,545 5,147,275 72.50 GB
    July 2017 143,298 291,003 962,966 4,321,260 54.73 GB
    June 2017 146,466 314,232 991,487 4,496,358 56.48 GB
    May 2017 144,005 316,576 975,281 4,304,712 56.36 GB
    April 2017 146,149 314,996 1,141,489 4,307,589 63.78 GB
    March 2017 187,296 372,483 1,247,545 4,226,147 67.70 GB
    February 2017 176,470 349,663 1,203,798 4,112,379 63.50 GB
    January 2017 168,633 354,483 1,274,174 4,538,574 70.39 GB
    December 2016 166,356 343,155 1,237,884 4,459,628 70.60 GB
    November 2016 149,973 327,184 1,211,464 4,578,555 54.19 GB
    October 2016 143,274 334,172 1,384,218 4,686,132 49.46 GB
    September 2016 135,699 329,894 1,523,606 4,773,361 60.16 GB
    August 2016 140,362 316,443 1,505,438 4,334,119 71.48 GB
    July 2016 122,622 343,826 1,756,815 4,071,905 58.92 GB
    June 2016 123,901 351,467 1,664,032 4,237,552 57.88 GB
    May 2016 134,345 360,069 1,663,686 4,578,071 59.79 GB
    April 2016 121,779 327,150 1,514,605 4,525,313 59.50 GB
    March 2016 119,288 343,090 1,586,158 4,385,429 55.58 GB
    February 2016 121,361 342,891 1,269,478 3,865,233 52.09 GB
    January 2016 112,680 312,399 1,279,265 3,808,315 56.32 GB
    December 2015 118,438 327,974 1,270,504 3,756,303 59.09 GB
    November 2015 130,264 341,885 1,212,556 3,825,700 62.43 GB
    October 2015 118,247 320,680 1,226,301 3,599,419 62.65 GB
    September 2015 124,342 325,517 1,266,197 3,653,818 65.50 GB
    August 2015 103,769 264,613 1,082,267 2,992,773 52.13 GB
    July 2015 103,188 281,469 1,263,504 3,307,479 55.38 GB
    June 2015 119,264 288,620 1,289,808 3,439,675 57.42 GB
    May 2015  no data  no data  no data  no data  no data
    April 2015 79,251 144,783 666,989 1,576,493 14.12 GB
    March 2015 86,251 173,236 749,068 1,545,146 14.21 GB
    February 2015 76,322 148,894 526,666 1,208,728 10.92 GB
    January 2015 86,263 171,544 612,211 1,348,105 13.35 GB
    December 2014 78,658 152,838 538,903 896,560 9.73 GB
    November 2014 86,254 172,786 678,026 741,633 7.93 GB
    October 2014 85,852 174,240 678,119 748,061 8.15 GB
    September 2014 61,485 121,651 448,701 505,472 8.92 GB
    August 2014 62,415 127,630 438,270 501,703 8.62 GB
    July 2014 63,223 149,786 456,117 536,178 8.79 GB
    June 2014 58,147 116,084 327,309 366,568 7.16 GB
    May 2014 59,321 116,293 321,397 363,432 7.08 GB
    April 2014 56,511 110,621 318,831 367,018 6.91 GB
    March 2014 65,619 117,881 335,592 380,785 7.89 GB
    February 2014 55,805 100,271 300,207 346,026 6.18 GB
    January 2014 82,567 209,131 1,130,149 1,224,623 98.64 GB
    July 2013 82,106 200,961 1,619,899 1,813,531 124.29 GB
    June 2013 80,409 197,258 1,730,633 1,884,016 103.77 GB
    May 2013 95,667 221,260 1,758,299 1,897,099 103.67 GB
    April 2013 81,328 192,910 1,528,169 1,634,540 91.16 GB
    March 2013 83,303 189,545 1,477,001 1,778,006 94.98 GB
    February 2013 81,999 185,688 1,396,374 1,498,502 75.33 GB
    January 2013 100,054 208,004 900,577 1,012,979 40.81 GB
    December 2012 109,265 224,793 926,117 1,143,248 37.53 GB
    November 2012 107,956 199,912 584,115 755,419 29.95 GB
    October 2012 81,739 157,152 410,096 416,362 16.36 GB
    September 2012 66,719 132,503 455,938 493,856 17.73 GB
    August 2012 41,616 96,314 305,729 329,353 12.23 GB
    July 2012 52,304 108,340 367,589 373,470 12.52 GB
    June 2012 55,112 110,246 400,141 404,162 13.66 GB
    May 2012 56,323 111,533 400,243 404,483 15.70 GB
    April 2012 56,772 110,029 421,446 428,678 16.08 GB
    March 2012 55,572 106,029 441,170 475,719 16.36 GB
    February 2012 53,345 99,607 376,288 411,915 14.43 GB
    January 2012 56,633 107,644 408,373 433,736 21.38 GB
    December 2011 49,845 97,223 337,881 344,210 13.65 GB
    November 2011 44,445 88,824 330,664 339,521 14.22 GB
    October 2011 45,590 90,444 337,137 468,197 17.78 GB
    September 2011 45,427 88,782 422,902 481,909 11.67 GB
    August 2011 40,002 81,012 502,282 2,083,593 53.18 GB
    July 2011 30,186 66,093 416,309 1,952,047 71.23 GB
    June 2011 28,629 57,920 264,928 1,004,128 22.78 GB
    May 2011 36,596 78,103 274,841 1,334,472 47.59 GB
    April 2011 20,091 58,037 223,291 2,729,449 54.65 GB
    March 2011 29,768 62,077 220,053 2,485,001 52.21 GB
    February 2011 29,737 61,519 213,121 2,081,558 40.13 GB
    January 2011 28,583 60,005 198,249 1,736,067 34.06 GB
    December 2010 26,161 50,975 192,905 1,101,829 27.79 GB
    November 2010 26,054 48,336 171,833 915,553 26.39 GB
    October 2010 17,848 35,921 140,365 611,367 17.93 GB
    September 2010 17,063 34,510 147,051 580,550 16.39 GB
    August 2010 12,174 22,348 93,379 333,614 10.17 GB
    July 2010 9,387 17,329 119,254 348,172 10.01 GB
    June 2010 6,145 10,328 70,732 200,824 6.08 GB

     

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    (Review Source)
  • John Everett Millais’ Isabella
    (”Eraserhead” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    [1]

    John Everett Millais, Self-Portrait

    3,789 words

    If you think of the Pre-Raphaelites you will probably be put in mind of flame-haired women in medieval dress or perhaps the depiction of a scene from a biblical or mythological story. The aesthetic appeal of such paintings seems to derive from a pre-modernist craving for something formally beautiful in its own right, without any sense of remove or cynicism. And if you consider that the tail end of the Pre-Raphaelite movement preceded the emergence of Dada by only a few years then it really does seem as though the Brotherhood marked a final statement in the history of Western art. 

    What was to follow with the fin de siècle art movements of Impressionism and Symbolism, and the twentieth-century schools of Abstract Expressionism and Surrealism, was a rapid breaking down of form and a thorough impeachment of Western cultural values. In fact, the Pre-Raphaelite paintings of the mid to late nineteenth century can seem so distant from the apparent trajectory of art history that they appear as anomalies, as a sort of kitsch re-enactment of a medieval past filtered through Victorian sentimentality.

    But when the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was formed in 1848 it considered itself to be a revolutionary art movement. Looking back to Italian art of the fifteenth century, its founding members rejected the prevailing academic style of painting and instead preached fidelity to nature, a vivid colour palette and a strong compositional style. These were all ideas associated with the critic John Ruskin who became an influential champion of the Brotherhood.

    One of the first Pre-Raphaelite paintings to be completed after the formation of the Brotherhood was John Everett Millais’ Isabella, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1849. This is a remarkable painting not least because it was painted when the artist was only 19 years old. The painting is based on Keats’ poem Isabella; or, The Pot of Basil which was itself based on a story from Boccaccio’s Decameron.

    In Keats’ poem, Isabella is the sister of two Florentine brothers who have become wealthy and arrogant through a mercantile practice that is described in semi-demonic terms: “And for them many a weary hand did swelt / In torched mines and noisy factories. . . for them alone did seethe / A thousand men in troubles wide and dark.”

    Isabella’s brothers are intending to arrange a marriage for her to some suitably wealthy merchant but unfortunately, if rather inevitably, Isabella has fallen in love with her brothers’ employee, Lorenzo. When the brothers find out, they summon Lorenzo on a spurious journey and, once they have found a secluded spot, they murder him and bury his body in a shallow grave.

    Isabella becomes distraught when Lorenzo fails to return, but then, one night, his spectre appears to her in a dream. He tells her the truth of his murder and reveals the location of his corpse. He asks Isabella to, “Go, shed one tear upon my heather-bloom,    And it shall comfort me within the tomb.” Isabella goes with a maid to the location of Lorenzo’s burial and digs away the earth with her knife. She finds his buried corpse and cuts off the head. Taking it home she buries it in a pot and plants basil in the soil. Her tears water the herb until it grows profusely. Isabella succumbs to a morbid form of insanity, becoming obsessed with her pot of basil and the severed head within. Eventually, her brothers become curious about Isabella’s strange obsession with this pot and upon investigating they discover Lorenzo’s head. Filled with shame they flee Florence in self-exile. Isabella is left to pine and mourn unto death, an exemplary Pre-Raphaelite doomed heroine.

    Isabella; or, The Pot of Basil belongs to the ballad school of poetry that was so popular through the eighteenth century. This type of poem was often associated with the gothic and melodramatic and for this reason was seen as a lower form of art that would appeal to females. “Real” poetry by contrast was concerned with the classical and lyrical.

    When Wordsworth and Coleridge published the Lyrical Ballads in 1798 they reacted against this assumption and tried to establish a form of serious poetry that would use a more common vernacular, particularly that of rustic life:

    Accordingly, such a language, arising out of repeated experience and regular feelings, is a more permanent, and a far more philosophical language, than that which is frequently substituted for it by the Poets, who think that they are conferring honour upon themselves and their art, in proportion as they separate themselves from the sympathies of men, and indulge in arbitrary and capricious habits of expression, in order to furnish food for fickle tastes, and fickle appetites, of their own creation.[1]

    The intention of the poems in Lyrical Ballads was to rejuvenate the English language by the use of this less formal vocabulary, much as T. S. Eliot later attempted in the twentieth century. Wordsworth’s desire for a more grounded form of expression indicates that his use of the ballad form was an attempt at recovering a more perennial narrative style.

    Keats, though, appears to have struggled with exactly where to pitch his poetic diction. He was outrageously, and famously, maligned by Blackwoods magazine in 1818 in a review of Endymion that relegated his work to the “cockney school of poetry.” The anonymous reviewer writes with insane hyperbole of Keats’ “imperturbable drivelling idiocy.”[2] It seems impossible now to imagine that the poet who wrote “a thing of beauty is a joy forever” was once received in this manner. But it does at least highlight the fact that the ballad form was seen as belonging to low cultural waters. Keats was reported to have said that “he does not want ladies to read his poetry: that he writes for men.”[3] But many of his poems, Isabella included, do betray his liking for the sort of romances that would have appealed to “ladies.”

    And it was this aspect of his poetry that resonated with the Pre-Raphaelites. Perhaps inevitably, considering the ages of the founding members (Millais was 19, Rossetti 20, Holman Hunt 21), they had a liking for the extremities depicted in more melodramatic narratives, and many of their paintings reflect this in rather staged scenarios.

    [2]

    John Everett Millais, Isabella, 1848-49.

    Returning to Millais’ painting of Isabella, on the left side of the table we see Isabella’s brothers, each of whom is unable to suppress a contemptuous sneer for Lorenzo who, seated opposite, solicitously proffers a sliced blood orange (symbol of decapitation) to Isabella. Isabella’s head is slightly downcast signifying her purity and modesty. Millais has somehow managed to capture in Lorenzo’s expression a suggestion of sensual, yet respectful longing. Isabella’s brother seated directly opposite her dominates the scene. His leg is extended horizontally, intimidating the hound into a submissive huddle in Isabella’s lap. The other figures in the painting are all very well realized (Rossetti was the model for the man seated at the back of the table drinking wine) but it is the malevolent stares of Isabella’s brothers which really animate the scene.

    In a 2012 paper concerning sexual imagery in Millais’ paintings,[4] Carol Jacobi argues that the shadow cast by the arm of the brother in the foreground is meant to be seen as an erect penis. In support of this she points to the salt that spills onto the shadow and describes it as “an unambiguous equivalent for ejaculation.” Furthermore, the fact that he is cracking nuts is unarguably symbolic of his violent intentions towards Lorenzo. Jacobi claims that both of his hands are positioned to recall “the gesture of masturbation.” The paper continues in this fashion finding sexual intent behind most of the objects depicted in Millais’ oeuvre. Be this as it may, and Jacobi undoubtedly overstates her case, once you have seen the phallic shaped shadow emerging from the brother’s groin it is very difficult to unsee it.

    Thinking about Millais’ painting in these terms puts me in mind of the TV programme Game of Thrones, particularly some of the scenes set in the southern parts of Westeros. These southern kingdoms have a sunny, fertile clime that matches perfectly the Florentine exoticism of Millais’ painting. More generally, in Game of Thrones there is a similar sense of Machiavellian intrigue, subtextual plotting, and sexual bargaining. I think it’s a useful comparison because it makes it easier to comprehend how vivacious some of the Pre-Raphaelite works would have been to their contemporary audiences.

    [3]

    In any case, those viewers of Pre-Raphaelite paintings didn’t need to notice subliminal penises or anything half so shocking to become outraged by what they saw. Indeed, what is particularly intriguing to me about the Pre-Raphaelite aesthetic is how truly alarming it could appear to their contemporaries. In 1850 Charles Dickens wrote an astonishingly vitriolic review of another of Millais’ paintings, Christ in the House of His Parents.

    You behold the interior of a carpenter’s shop. In the foreground of that carpenter’s shop is a hideous, wry-necked, blubbering, red-headed boy, in a bed-gown, who appears to have received a poke in the hand, from the stick of another boy with whom he has been playing in an adjacent gutter, and to be holding it up for the contemplation of a kneeling woman, so horrible in her ugliness, that (supposing it were possible for any human creature to exist for a moment with that dislocated throat) she would stand out from the rest of the company as a Monster, in the vilest cabaret in France, or the lowest ginshop in England. Two almost naked carpenters, master and journeyman, worthy companions of this agreeable female, are working at their trade; a boy, with some small flavor of humanity in him, is entering with a vessel of water; and nobody is paying any attention to a snuffy old woman who seems to have mistaken that shop for the tobacconist’s next door, and to be hopelessly waiting at the counter to be served with half an ounce of her favourite mixture. Wherever it is possible to express ugliness of feature, limb, or attitude, you have it expressed. Such men as the carpenters might be undressed in any hospital where dirty drunkards, in a high state of varicose veins, are received. Their very toes have walked out of Saint Giles’s.[5]

    Looking at the painting now it is impossible to imagine how it could have inspired such horror. Perhaps it is his perception of ugliness everywhere in the painting that seems so wrongheaded. But in any case Dickens’ ire is essentially twofold. He is appalled at the use of natural looking models because he assumes that art should be ennobling and moralistic (as his books were). But also, he is particularly scornful of the Pre-Raphaelites’ desire to make a movement back to an earlier aesthetic position. He labours the point by sarcastically cataloguing several spurious groups whom he suggests are following in the Pre-Raphaelites’ regressive steps. To take just one example:

    A Society, to be called the Pre-Newtonian Brotherhood, was lately projected by a young gentleman, under articles to a Civil Engineer, who objected to being considered bound to conduct himself according to the laws of gravitation. But this young gentleman, being reproached by some aspiring companions with the timidity of his conception, has abrogated that idea in favour of a Pre-Galileo Brotherhood now flourishing, who distinctly refuse to perform any annual revolution round the Sun, and have arranged that the world shall not do so any more.[6]

    It is worth noting that Dickens’ assumptions in this respect are entirely in keeping with those of the Victorians generally. Namely, that civilized society is moving forwards in a progressive fashion to greater advancement. Anyone who wishes to advocate for earlier modes of expression is seen as somehow outrageously retrograde. The notion of linear progression is absolute.

    For anyone who is used to the culture of post modernity this sense of a singular historical narrative is very difficult to comprehend. For us, it has become axiomatic that we should make choices about which historical epochs we wish to emulate and, in some way, return to. By way of example, we will briefly consider two contemporary artists who make use of prior aesthetic styles in contrasting ways.

    [4]

    Roberto Ferri is an Italian painter whose work is clearly inspired by the baroque, and particularly by Caravaggio. He employs this particular visual style to depict isolated tableaux of bodily transformation and torture. His work is darkly symbolic and carries disturbing suggestions of human meat. His appropriation of this particular visual style is at once aesthetically beautiful and viscerally unsettling. He exploits his mastery of painterly technique to depict bodies floating in a strange limbo, poised between a flesh and blood realism and the enactment of a staged mythologization.

    [5]

    By contrast, Grayson Perry’s series of tapestries The Vanity of Small Differences utilizes a variety of old paintings as inspiration but in an altogether different way. To take one tapestry as an example, The Upper Class at Bay is based on Gainsborough’s Mr and Mrs Andrews but is clearly aiming at social commentary and satire. Insofar as it mimics the Gainsborough, it does so sardonically and rather contemptuously. Using Gainsborough as a model for his composition, Perry is invoking the unseen class and economic contexts that lie behind a merely formal reading of that painting. Perry’s intentions are partly political and partly concerned with the semiotics of class difference.

    [6]

    The point is that the adoption of old forms is something that is now very much taken for granted and that can signify a range of different intentions. Two artists who both adopt the styles of old masters need share nothing in common regarding their philosophy of art, their technique, or their cultural values. Postmodernism allows for the total fluidity of visual styles and absolute historical anachronism.

    When David Lynch shot Eraserhead in black and white, no one reacted with Dickens’ sense of horror, sarcastically assuming that he wanted to reject every single advance of the modern world. It was correctly seen as a stylistic choice, not an absolute statement about wanting to live in the past. And this is because there is no longer a contemporary style. The only thing that approaches a contemporary style is a tendency towards the ahistorical; a gesture of anachronistic appropriation. The material of cultural production has become determined more by the conscious choices of the artists who produce it than by the unconscious assumptions and background trends of the historical epoch in which it is wrought.

    This notion of ahistorical, individual choice is not only the norm in artistic culture, it also determines our attitude towards religion. It was not so very long ago that Europeans and Americans would have been observant Christians without any sort of reflection at all. It was simply unthinkable to consider alternative religions or the possibility of God not existing. For most people there was barely any awareness that other religious views existed, or at least there was very little knowledge of them. Without a wider perspective the question of religion doesn’t seem to fall within the remit of personal choice. It is a matter of unconscious compulsion. Of course, for many parts of the world this is very much the case even today.

    The present attitude to religion though, in the West at least, is decidedly postmodern. It has become pretty much settled that the question of religious belief is something that the individual has to decide for himself. It is seen as an accoutrement of the ego. An important social marker was set down in 1979 when John Cleese and Michael Palin appeared on a British TV show [7] to promote their new film Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Also appearing were Malcolm Muggeridge and the Bishop of Southwark who were to argue vociferously against the film. Life of Brian had been banned by local councils in many parts of the UK as it was widely perceived to be a blasphemous film at a time when blasphemy was still an issue for Christians. In particular, many people thought that it was deliberately mocking the story of Jesus, so even in 1979 it was considered controversial.

    The discussion can be found online and it is a fascinating historical artefact. Whilst it’s pretty clear that the Pythons win the debate, it’s the reasons for their winning that are interesting. In opposing the content of the film, Muggeridge and the Bishop are careless and complacent. They reel out pre-rehearsed arguments, employ irrelevant argumentum ad hominem, and generally behave in an arrogant and high-handed fashion. They seem to think that the self-evident truths of their position will be sufficient. The Pythons, on the other hand, are logical, nuanced and witty in their self-defence. In short, they persuade the audience to agree with their position by rational argument. It’s a debate that marks the point where accepted truths have not just been challenged, but have been seen to lose.

    All of which might seem a long way from the story of Isabella and Lorenzo. In order to see the connection more clearly let us step backwards to the most important foundational text of English literature. The Old English epic poem Beowulf was written in Anglo Saxon England but it is set in an earlier time in the Continental homeland. In his masterful defence of Beowulf, Professor Tolkien refutes some of the more prevalent academic views of the poem and shows how the presence of dragons and monsters in the foreground of the story is not the semi-juvenile embarrassment it was thought to be. Tolkien perceptively argues that the northern gods are unlike their southern counterparts in that they fight the dragons and monsters alongside their human allies rather than appointing men to fight them as part of some indifferent scheme:

    In Norse, at any rate, the gods are within Time, doomed with their allies to death. Their battle is with the monsters and the outer darkness. They gather heroes for the last defence. . . This may make the southern gods more godlike – more lofty, dread and inscrutable. They are timeless and do not fear death. . . For in a sense [southern mythology] had shirked the problem precisely by not having the monsters in the centre – as they are in Beowulf to the astonishment of the critics. But such horrors cannot be left permanently unexplained, lurking on the outer edges. . . It is the strength of the northern mythological imagination that it faced this problem, put the monsters in the centre, gave them victory but no honour, and found a potent but terrible solution in naked will and courage.[7]

    I think that this observation can be applied more widely so that it encompasses a current of Northern European imagination running from Beowulf through to Game of Thrones. This current, which includes the Pre-Raphaelites and The Lord of the Rings, is notable for its emphasis on the primacy of narrative, its acceptance of the supernatural, and its tendency to locate itself in a past time.

    This latter tendency is noted by Tolkien regarding Beowulf: “When new Beowulf was already ancient.”[8] The earliest story in the English language was, at one level, a lament for a lost world, the world of the old land. There is a strain of English imagination that has continued to operate within this elegiac context, always looking back to a source of originary inspiration. But rather than representing a conservative, reactionary response that retreats to a falsely rendered historical period, this current of imagination actually faces the problem that Tolkien alludes to which, at bottom, is the problem of death. Rather than projecting a utopian, progressive future, these artists look back in time to the mythological underpinnings of imagination itself and they depict gods and monsters in the world alongside human beings. This is not escapism but a refusal to engage with a false historical progressivism, a progressivism which itself, in its utopian idealism, denies the reality of death. It is a radical gesture of refusal that is open to entirely different orders of being that go unrecognised in materialist philosophy. And if, in this acceptance of the supernatural, it becomes necessary to look back to an originary past this only serves to underscore the fact that the present is a foreign country. This all has less to do with the falsification of history than with the vindication of myth.

    So, this particular artistic current is ahistorical in the sense that it rejects the inevitability of historical unfolding but it is completely distinct from the ahistorical sensibility of postmodern cultural production. A keynote of post modernism is the idea of pastiche. According to this notion, often discussed by Fredric Jameson, all artistic forms that adopt earlier (or simply other) modes are essentially copies, reproductions, and simulacra of past styles. The postmodern style, which includes the appropriation of any number of prior historical forms, is a sort of virtual culture that floats in digital time, rather than being rooted in seasonal time. The sort of artistic positions under discussion here, by contrast, are expressions of perennial lore that can only be accessed by a movement out of the un-numinous, materialist flow of history.

    Returning to Isabella, there are a number of prefigurations of death in the painting: the slice of blood orange symbolizing decapitation; the pot of basil on the shelf in the background foretelling Lorenzo’s fate; the hawk on the left holding a white feather in its beak; the brother who gazes at the lovers through blood red wine. Isabella’s demure expression gives away nothing of the insanity that she will soon succumb to. Everything in the picture is tensely balanced, an uneasy containment of explosive forces. We are looking at a still vignette that is on the verge of murder and madness. This sense of balance, of poise, is achieved through the supremely gifted technical ability of Millais but it serves a purpose. That is, it seeks to contain and make meaningful the insanity that is to follow. As with the Beowulf poet, there is an acceptance of horror, of the inevitability of death, even as there is a compulsion to create art in the face of such meaninglessness. This will to exult in life without omitting the darker elements demonstrates Northern European spirituality in a nutshell.

    Notes

    1. William Wordsworth, The Oxford Authors: William Wordsworth (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984), 597.

    2. Z. (AKA John Gibson Lockhart), “Cockney School of Poetry,” Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine (August 1818), https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Blackwood’s_Magazine/On_the_Cockney_School_of_Poetry_IV [8].

    3. Richard Woodhouse quoted in introduction, John Keats, Selected Poems (London: Penguin Books, 1988), xiii.

    4. Carol Jacobi, “Sugar, Salt and Curdled Milk: Millais and the Synthetic Subject,” Tate Papers no.18, (Autumn 2012), http://www.tate.org.uk/research/publications/tate-papers/18/sugar-salt-and-curdled-milk-millais-and-the-synthetic-subject [9].

    5. Charles Dickens, “Old Lamps for New Ones.” Household Words 12 (15 Jun. 1850), http://www.engl.duq.edu/servus/PR_Critic/HW15jun50.html [10].

    6. Ibid.

    7. J.R.R. Tolkien, “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics,” in Beowulf: A Verse Translation, ed. Daniel Donoghue (W.W. Norton & Company: New York, 2002), 122.

    10. Ibid., 129.

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Mulholland Drive
    (”Eraserhead” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    [1]1,709 words

    David Lynch is the greatest director working today, one of the greatest of all time. Mulholland Drive is his latest film. It is one of his best. Those who took their grandmothers to see Lynch’s last film The Straight Story should not take them to Mulholland Drive, which most closely resembles Lynch’s Lost Highway. Like Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive is filled with sex, violence, decadence, and dark humor. Both films have almost unintelligible plots. Both are set in Los Angeles. Both films are magnets for perforated misfits who think that Lynch is celebrating their own decadence and snickering along with them at wholesome, traditional White American values. In fact, however, Mulholland Drive, like all of Lynch’s movies, is a categorical indictment of the decadence of modern American society by a man who truly believes in traditional White American values.

    David Lynch would love to live in Twin Peaks or Blue Velvet‘s Lumberton. He would love to live in the world of Leave it to Beaver and My Three Sons. In Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks, and above all The Straight Story, he celebrates the independence, resourcefulness, and Eagle-Scout virtues of ordinary, sincere, straight-arrow Americans. But he knows that their world is constantly threatened by evil forces. These evil forces work through the channels of culture and politics, but they are not merely cultural and political. They are spiritual.

    Lynch is a modern day Manichean; a mystic who believes in the reality of the demonic, of evil forces that first enter and then dominate our souls through our vices, follies, and blind spots. These demonic forces are personified in different ways in different films: as The Man in the Planet in Eraserhead, which is the ultimate gnostic anti-sex film; as Killer Bob in Twin Peaks; as The Mystery Man in Lost Highway–and as The Cowboy in Mulholland Drive. Lynch even has developed a visual code to indicate the presence of these forces: smoke; flickering electricity; movie theater drapes, especially red ones (the Veil of Maya); freakish and deformed people; time that moves backwards or in loops; and all the machinery of Plato’s Cave–the stage, the screen, the movie studio, Los Angeles itself–that stands between us and the truth, that keeps us in bondage to illusion.

    So Lynch is a kind of religious conservative. But is he racially aware? I would venture to say: Yes. First, throughout his films, Lynch has cast very few Jews and non-Whites. Second, most of the non-Whites he has cast are criminals, lowlifes, and buffoons, e.g., Bob Ray Lemon, Reggie and the Mexican sisters Juana and Perdita in Wild at Heart and the two negroes working in the hardware store in Blue Velvet. The only exceptions that come to mind are in Twin Peaks: Deputy Hawk, an American Indian, and Albert Rosenfeld, a sneering, arrogant, urban Jew who turns out to be a good guy under it all. It should be noted, however, that Lynch was not in complete creative control of the Twin Peaks series.

    Mulholland Drive provides the strongest evidence of Lynch’s racial awareness. But first, something about the plot of the film. Mulholland Drive falls into two parts. The first part is a mystery story and satire of Hollywood that is engaging, suspenseful, and extremely funny. Then the story turns darker. A woman’s rotting corpse is found in her apartment. Then comes a lesbian seduction. Then a journey to a mysterious club called “Silencio” where performers mime to pre-recorded tracks. We are moved by a beautiful Mexican love song sung by Rebekah del Rio. (it is actually a translation of a Roy Orbison song.) We are encompassed by the illusion. We forget that it is an illusion. Then the illusion is shattered when the singer falls dead on the stage but the song plays on. A blue box is discovered. When it is opened, the second half of the movie commences. The second half is dark and tragic. It is told through a series of flashbacks. It culminates in madness and suicide. I am not giving anything away by saying that, as I read it, the first part of the movie is the dream of a dying madwoman and the second part explains what drove her to madness and death.

    The most remarkable feature of this movie is its entirely negative, and entirely accurate, portrayal of Hollywood Jews. We see a beautiful blonde, blue-eyed woman, starry-eyed and grinning with joy as she arrives in Los Angeles. Her name is Betty, played by Naomi Watts. Betty has come to Hollywood to be an actress. She is a classic Lynch heroine: an earnest, wholesome, small-town girl from Deep River Ontario. She speaks in the G-rated cliches of old Hollywood. Later we discover that she became interested in acting after winning a jitterbug contest. She is next to an elderly, white-haired woman named Irene. They have met and struck up a friendship on the plane. Irene seems to be from the same wholesome mold. She and her elderly male travelling companion bid Betty goodbye and good luck. Then we see Irene and her friend in the back of a limousine, their faces insanely distorted with cynical, sniggering leers. The man has stereotypically Jewish features. (The actor’s name is Dan Birnbaum.) They are apparently enjoying a good laugh at the expense of this naive, corn-fed shiksa. Later they return as demonic apparitions.

    Another Jew, Dan (played by Patrick Fischler), meets a well-dressed gentile, Herb, at a Winky’s restaurant. The gentile is apparently a psychotherapist. The Jew is his patient. This is no surprise. Jews had to invent psychoanalysis because they practically invented neurosis, what with their “high investment” parenting strategies and the hatred and fear of non-Jews they instill practically in the womb. This Jew is certainly neurotic, but he may have a touch of divine madness. He describes two dreams he has had, both of them set in the restaurant. In the dream, he sees through the walls. Behind them is a face that utterly terrifies him. The two men go behind the restaurant. The Jew sees the face (played by Bonnie or Ronnie Aarons) and faints dead away. The psychotherapist does not see it, but we will see this face again. It is the face of a supernatural embodiment of evil. It is the face of a devil, maybe the devil. It is he who is ultimately behind all the walls in this movie, pulling the strings in Hollywood, drawing people to their doom.

    The central Jewish character in this movie is Adam Kesher, a hot-shot young director played by Justin Theroux. We met Kesher on a bad day. He is being pressured by two mysterious Italians, the Castiglione brothers (played by Dan Hedaya and composer Angelo Badalamenti) to cast a particular girl in his film. He refuses. The mysterious wire-puller Mr. Roque orders Kesher’s movie shut down. Mr. Roque is played by Michael J. Anderson, the dancing midget from Twin Peaks. Even the drape-lined set is similar, although more luxurious, as if the Little Man from Far Away has received a promotion in the hierarchy of Hell. (Roque does not dance because he is an a wheelchair.) Kesher then finds his blonde shiksa in bed with a beefy, tattooed Aryan working man played by Billy Ray Cyrus, who drives him out of his house. (The side of Cyrus’s pickup truck reads “Gene Clean.”) Kesher hides out in a sleazy hotel, but “they” — the wire-pullers — somehow find him. His credit cards are cancelled and his bank accounts emptied. Finally, he is told to meet with someone known only as “the cowboy.” Kesher is filled with just the sort of cynical, sarcastic contempt for cowboys that one would expect. The cowboy’s appearance is accompanied by flickering electricity, announcing his supernatural origin. He is an enforcer in Hell’s hierarchy. He looks and talks and dresses like an overgrown child in a cowboy suit that is slightly too large for him. Kesher can barely contain his arrogance. He is smug, supercilious, smirking, ironic. In the cowboy’s words, he’s a smart Alec. But this corn-fed goy manages to scare and humble him nonetheless. He chooses the girl. Later in the film, we see him at a party celebrating his engagement to another beautiful shiksa, this one a brunette. His conceit, affectedness, and irreverant frivolity are boundless. We also see from whom he gets it. His mother, played by Ann Miller, is a nasty, gnarled, snobbish old biddy with too much jewelry and too little taste.

    There are other, minor Jewish characters in the film. One pair appears in a wonderfully satirical audition scene. Jimmy Katz, played by Chad Everett, looks like a dashing older WASP, while Martha Johnson (played by Kate Forster) looks stereotypically Jewish. A comment on name and nose changes, perhaps? The slightly bitchy, slightly dykey woman in Apartment 12 also looks quite Jewish, and the actress’s name turns out to be Johanna Stein.

    There are only two negroes in the film, and they are there strictly for laughs. They are backup singers in a 1950s set piece directed by Adam Kesher. Not only are the negroes’ faces comical (one looks like a drag queen), but their very presence is risible, because integrated music groups are not plausible for the period. But this is the Jew Adam Kesher’s film, not David Lynch’s, and in the Hollywood of today’s Jews there are negroes everywhere. I watched the film in theatres twice, and both audiences saw and laughed at the joke.

    I cannot say anything more about this film without giving away the plot. Suffice it to say that Mulholland Drive is a beautiful, funny, shocking, mysterious film about how people like us are destroyed by the Hollywood illusion machine, a machine run by the devil but staffed by people like Adam Kesher.

    Lynch strips away the Veil of Maya and tells us to be silent. Yes. Be silent. Think about what you have seen. As I pondered this deeply disturbing, uncanny film, my perplexity slowly turned to understanding, my understanding to anger, my anger to the desire to fight. Frankly, I do not know how to fight the devil. Perhaps we’ll figure that out someday. But there are enough Adam Keshers to keep us busy in the meantime.

    ...
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  • “Now it’s dark . . .” Blue Velvet
    (”Eraserhead” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    4,969 words Jeffrey: I’m seeing something that was always hidden. I’m involved in a mystery. And it’s all secret. Sandy: You like mysteries that much? Jeffrey: Yeah. You’re a mystery. I like you. Very much. Blue Velvet (1986) is the quintessential David Lynch film, filled with quirky humor and shocking violence. It features one of […]
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  • New from Counter-Currents!Return of the Son of Trevor Lynch’s CENSORED Guide to the Movies
    (”Eraserhead” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    404 words Trevor Lynch Return of the Son of Trevor Lynch’s CENSORED Guide to the Movies Edited by Greg Johnson San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2019 232 pages Hardcover: $35  Paperback: $20 Since 2001, Trevor Lynch’s essays and reviews have developed a wide following. He offers penetrating and often hilarious dissections of racial, sexual, political, and philosophical […]
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  • Eraserhead: A Gnostic Anti-Sex Film, by Trevor Lynch
    David Lynch’s first movie Eraserhead (1977) combines surrealism, low-budget horror, and black comedy. It rapidly became a staple of the midnight movie circuit and provided endless fodder for coffee-house intellectuals and academic film theorists. Eraserhead is quite simply a gnostic anti-sex film. The film is premised on a gnostic dualism, which holds that the material...
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  • Eraserhead : A Gnostic Anti-Sex Film, by Trevor Lynch ...

    The film is premised on a gnostic dualism, which holds that the material world—including sex and childbearing—is fundamentally evil, ... Submitted comments become the property of The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter. Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Trevor Lynch ...

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  • Mulholland Drive, by Trevor Lynch - The Unz Review
    (”Eraserhead” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    You are defending the film review (and sexuality) of a man who literally wants to ship Jews off to thier own ethnostate and bar them from White countries. I don't …

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⚠️ EDGY 🔥 CONTENT 🔥 WARNING 🔥 (NSFW?) ⚠️

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  • Eraserhead
    In 2004, David Lynch's film Eraserhead (1977) was justly deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United Sta...
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  • Barton Fink
    (”Eraserhead” is briefly mentioned in this.)



    While I would not exactly call myself a true Coen Brothers connoisseur, I feel confident enough in my appraisal of their somewhat uneven oeuvre to say that Barton Fink (1991)—a cinematic work that has been eclipsed in terms of popularity by probably half a dozen or so of their other, oftentimes glaringly inferior, films—is their unequivocal magnum opus. Indeed, fuck the autistic acting and quirky Cagisms of Raising Arizona (1987), nauseatingly nice Amero-Swede musicality of Fargo (1996), and sophisticated sunbaked stoner humor of The Big Lebowski (1998), the Coen brothers’ 1991 period piece, which is set in 1941 on the eve of America's entry into World War II, has the most to offer in terms of sheer aesthetic potency and curiousness, thematic intricately, meta-cinephilia, and eccentric esoteric Judaic self-loathing. A virtual ‘Jewish Eraserhead’ featuring John Turturro portraying a sort of kosher commie intellectual equivalent to the David Lynch protagonist Henry portrayed by Jack Nance in terms of obscenely absurd haircut and Fremdscham-inducing awkwardness of character, the film was even executive produced by Hebraic cineaste Ben Barenholtz who was also responsible for popularizing Lynch’s debut feature by screening it as part of the midnight movie circuit. Indeed, the film even features a number of blatant Lynchian shots juxtaposed with ambient noise, not to mention the fact that it is arguably the brothers’ most hermetic film. While undoubtedly somewhat overlooked compared to many of the Coens’ other films, it managed to snag three major awards at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival, including the coveted Palme d'Or, thus underscoring its somewhat preternatural arthouse quality. Of course, as a film that dedicates much time to ruthlessly mocking both egomaniacal far-leftist Jewish intellectuals and the distinct Ashkenazi immigrant flavor of the Hollywood's Golden Age studio system, it is easy to see why modern academics and film critics seem to suffer amnesia when it comes to discussing the film and comparing it to the filmmakers’ other work.  Needless to say, Barton Fink makes for a great double feature with the Coen brothers' most overtly Jewish film A Serious Man (2009) and one can only hope that the siblings will finally get around to achieving their projected goal of directing an adaptation of Michael Chabon's hyper Hebraic detective novel The Yiddish Policemen's Union (2007), which they have already adapted into a screenplay.

    Notably, Jewish American film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote an entire article entitled Crass Consciousness featured in the August 23, 1991 issue of the Chicago Reader where he expressed in his strange misreading of the film a certain highly personalized uneasiness, complaining, “A final point should be made about the broad, comic-book-style Jewish caricatures in the film — Barton, Lipnick, Geisler, and Lipnick’s assistant Lou Breeze (Jon Polito). Spike Lee was lambasted on the op-ed page of the New York Times and by Nat Hentoff in the Village Voice (among other places) for Jewish caricatures in MO’ BETTER BLUES that employed one of the same actors (Turturro), occupied only a fraction as much screen time, and were if anything less malicious than the caricatures in BARTON FINK. So I assume the reason Lee was singled out for abuse and the Coens won’t be to the same extent is that the Coens happen to be Jewish. For whatever it’s worth — speaking now as a Jew myself — I don’t consider any of the caricatures in either movie to be racist in themselves, and it seems to me somewhat absurd that Lee should be criticized so widely for something that the Coens do at much greater length with impunity. Being white, having the minds of teenagers, and believing that social commitment is for jerks are all probably contributing factors to this privileged treatment.”  The grandson of a wealthy businessman that owned a small chain of movie theaters in Alabama, Rosenbaum notably comes from a far-leftist background and was involved with the organizing of angry negro communists during the civil rights era.  Although just speculation, one can only assume that he takes personal offense to the less the flattering of the eponymous protagonist—a Jewish leftist writer like himself—and his hypocritical quasi-Marxist politics.  While Rosenbaum makes the assumption that the Coens are just philistine jerks that are simply too selfish and immature to embrace the oh-so precious social justice warrior lifestyle, Barton Fink demonstrates that the brothers have a keen understanding of the Jewish leftist mindset and all of its hypocritical idiosyncrasies.

    Notably, in his book The Jewish Mystique (1969), Dutch-born American sociologist Ernest van den Haag, himself an ex-commie activist that spent nearly three years in one of Mussolini's prisons, made the wise observation in regard to the questionable nature of Jewish left-wing activism, “Since the Jews suffered for so long from oppression by dominant groups, laws, and traditions, their sentimental identification with minorities, underdogs, the poor, the humiliated, the shunned, the maltreated, the outlawed is quite understandable. Yet, explanation is not justification. And unfortunately, the Jews have not used their intellectual powers to analyze Utopian, reformist, and revolutionary doctrines as effectively as they have used these powers to analyze traditions and ideologies supporting the status quo. Wherefore, within the Jewish cultural establishment, Jewishness as an entrance ticket has tended to be fused with vaguely leftist, pro-underdog attitudes. Jewishness alone merely gets you into the lobby.”  While they might use somewhat aberrant humor as their weapon of choice as opposed to some turgid academic text, the Coens demonstrate with Barton Fink that they are, quite unlike Rosenbaum, the sort of genuinely intellectual curious Jews that a great sage like van den Haag could have appreciated.




     Although one of the more intellectual and culturally refined film critics that America has produced as a protégé of iconoclastic artist and film critic Manny Farber, Rosenbaum seems to suffer from the stereotypical Judaic trait of a lack of self-awareness, especially on the collective racial, as opposed to personal, level. Not surprisingly, the eponymous protagonist of Barton Fink—an ostensibly ‘revolutionary’ far-leftist that, despite being a pretentious navel-gazing prick intellectual that has probably never did an hour of real physical labor in his entire life, claims to be fighting for the so-called “common man”—is plagued by a certain infuriating degree of a lack of self-awareness, but luckily reality eventually ruthlessly smacks him in the face in the form of a literal fiery holocaust of sorts and a grotesquely obscene Semitic studio mogul that reminds him that a communist is really just a failed kosher capitalist that seeks power via different, albeit similarly materialistic (and anti-goyim), means. While Rosenbaum describes the characters in the film as “comic-book-style Jewish caricatures,” I think they more clearly represent perennial post-religious Jewish archetypes that most Jews, like Rosenbaum, probably wish did not exist yet are ultimately quite clear to anyone that is familiar with Hollywood—both of the past and present as Harvey Weinstein has recently highlighted with his Philip Roth-esque sexcapades in shiksa-defiling.

    In fact, the Jewish lack of self-awareness is depicted in a cleverly allegorical fashion at the conclusion of the Coen brothers' A Serious Man in a scene at the end of the films where a group of young Hebrew students absurdly stand helplessly as a tornado begins to make its way in their general direction. Undoubtedly, Israeli-born jazz musician and anti-Zionist activist Gilad Atzmon probably said it best when he wrote in his review of the film, “The Coen film ends with a chain of scenes initiated by a tornado alert given during a Hebrew class in a Jewish orthodox school. The young Bar Mitzvah kids are ordered to evacuate the class immediately. Next we see the storm rapidly encroaching towards the boys and girls who are now standing in the open school yard. Paralysed by awe, perplexed they gaze towards their own inevitable disaster. They stare at it, they are hopeless on the verge of impotence. Their elder teacher is right behind them, frantically struggling to find the right key for the synagogue shelter. The key to life should be in his hands, but he is obviously not going to find it. At the same cinematic time Larry Gopnik, the protagonist of the film, receives an urgent call from his doctor, his X-ray diagnosis is back. Apparently, something is horribly wrong with his body. Prior to the call, Larry was obviously totally unaware of his affliction and is thrown into a state of profound shock. Allegorically, this is the meaning of Jewish detachment and alienation according to the Coens. The People of the Book consistently fail to detect when something is going horribly wrong. They somehow fail to anticipate the storm that is coming or brace themselves for its devastating impact. They fail to interpret some minor signs of resentment before it turns into a tide of hatred. And even when they do manage to notice a rise in antagonism, they somehow employ the wrong strategy to placate it. As we often read, Jewish ethnic campaigners and institutions (ADL, AJC, BOD etc’) are always flagging up statistics, they prefer to present numbers of ‘anti Semitic’ incidents instead of wondering why these incidents occur in the first place.”  In Barton Fink, the eponymous protagonist also fails to process danger after unwittingly befriending a serial killer who he initially pisses off after complaining to the front desk of a hotel they were both occupying despite said serial killer also being the sort of goy “common man” that that he oftentimes speaks so reverently about.  Of course, as the Coen brothers reveal, the working-class is nothing more than a mere abstraction to the protagonist, or so he assumedly learns when it is already too late.

    Undoubtedly, one of the reasons that the Coen brothers are such great filmmakers is their sort of razor sharp racial self-awareness and intricate and nuanced approach to the Jewish question, whether it be the exploiting a goy's empathy by an insufferably slimy bookie Bernie ‘chisellin' Little Yid’ Bernbaum and his femme fatale sister Verna in Miller's Crossing (1990), the completely spiritually cuckolded Milius-esque neocon Jewish convert Walter Sobchak in The Big Lebowski, or the titular kosher cuckold and his cryptically corrupt Minnesota community in A Serious Man. While it is indubitably true that the Hebraic duo have created their own fair share of uniquely unflattering goy bad boys and unsavory shiksa sluts, it can certainly be argued that the Coens’ most pathetic and repugnant characters are swarthy Israelites that love the smell of their own kosher farts. In Barton Fink—a film with a protagonist that was modeled after kosher commie playwright and screenwriter Clifford Odets who, not unlike the film's protagonist, left for Hollywood after the production of his play Clash by Night (1941) in the 1941–1942 season—the viewer is exposed to the innate hypocrisy and phoniness of the bourgeois-bred Jewish Trotskyite intellectual and how such a figure is even more loathsome and grotesque than the miserly ‘happy merchant’ archetype. Indeed, after watching the film, it is easy to see why Uncle Joe Stalin went to such absurd extremes to have an ice axe driven into Trotsky’s diseased gray matter, as there is no greater threat to a real lumpenprole revolution than a comfortably smug intellectual in unstained worker’s clothing. Of course, the great irony of the film is that it was directed by two intellectuals that look like they could by the dope-smoking grandsons of rabid postmodern rebben Trotsky. Indeed, forget Lubitsch and his all the more cynical protégé Billy Wilder, the Coen brothers are the two true kosher kings of subversive Semitic comedies. While racist alt-Israelite Douglas Rushkoff—a bombastic dork with an unintentionally humorous god complex that once bragged regarding his race, “In a sense, our detractors have us right, in that we are a corrosive force . . .”—proudly argued in his book Nothing Sacred: The Truth About Judaism (2003) in regard to the innately iconoclastic nature of Judaism, “Iconoclasm destroys all man-made symbols and leads to abstract monotheism, which in turn leads to an ethos of social justice,” the Coen brothers go all the way and smash both Judaism and its post-religious metaphysical affliction of SJWism.




     Notably, in his book The Wicked Son: Anti-Semitism, Jewish self-hatred, and the Jews (2006), right-wing Jewish Zionist playwright and sometimes filmmaker David Mamet makes a somewhat dubious claim in regard to mainstream zio-ganda flicks like Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List (1993) and Roman Polanski’s The Pianist (2002), stating in a somewhat paranoid (yet quite stereotypically Jewish) fashion, “I wrote, years ago, that Holocaust films are ‘MANDINGO for Jews,’ and that the thrill, for the audience, came and comes from a protected indulgence of anti-Semitism: they get to see us killed and to explain to themselves that they feel bad about it.” Judging by his quote and by the fact that he is also a Jewish writer, I would love to hear Mamet’s thoughts on Barton Fink, which, on top of featuring a number of greedy and/or otherwise grotesque Jewish characters, features a Judaic writer protagonist that probably epitomizes everything that he abhors in his race as a mensch with strong Zionistic tendencies. In the same book, Mamet complains in regard to his kinsmen, “Why do some Jews reject their religion and their race? For two reasons: because it is ‘too Jewish’ and because it is not Jewish enough.” While I have to assume that Mamet would deride the Coen brothers’ film as the work of unabashed self-loathing Jews, I would certainly argue that—for better or worse—it is, culturally speaking, one of the most innately Jewish films ever made as a cinematic works that follows in the grand culturally kosher tradition of Franz Kafka, Bruno Schulz, Hermann Ungar, Carlo Michelstaedter, Harold Pinter, and David Cronenberg in terms of being an intricate and highly idiosyncratic expression of Jewish neurosis, albeit of the slightly more immature sort. Despite the fact that they work in very different (sub)genres, the Coen brothers are somewhat comparable to Canuck body horror maestro Cronenberg in the sense of their subversive post-Talmudic intellects and somewhat detached affinity for the curiously morally depraved and/or preternaturally pathological. Similarly, just as only a member of god’s chosen tribe could have directed a werewolf flick as dementedly darkly humorous and shoah-stained as John Landis' An American Werewolf in London (1981) and a film as unabashedly perverse neurotic and aesthetically autistic as Todd Solondz Palindromes (2004), only a Jew (or two Jews, in this case) could have dreamed up a film as intrinsically and intricately Jewish despite being a film where the word “Jew” is only used once and “kike” is flagrantly used about half a dozen times. 



     Although a decidedly distastefully swarthy four-eyed geek with an eccentrically elevated jewfro, titular protagonist Barton Fink (John Turturro)—a pretentious playwright that just received somewhat of a hit with a painfully banal social realism oriented play entitled ‘Bare Ruined Choirs’—seems to secretly believe that he is the most revolutionary writer since Marx, so naturally he is somewhat hesitant to take a job offer as a scriptwriter under contract at a big Hollywood studio named Capitol Pictures. Despite his semi-cryptic commie sympathies, Fink finds a $1,000-a-week contract to be rather appealing since it is 1941 and he is somewhat unsure what to do with his life, or as he complains to his manager with a certain glaring lack of self-confidence and authenticity, “I’m not sure anymore. I guess I try to make a difference.” Immediately upon arriving in Hollywood, Fink is greeted with an ominous atmosphere when he meekly checks into a quasi-gothic and painfully dilapidated Art Deco dump named Hotel Earle—a building that clearly has seen better days, as if it lost what was left of its initial extravagance the same year that a janitor tossed the cut footage from Erich von Stroheim’s magnum opus Greed (1924) into a MGM studio dumpster—that is run by a eerily emasculated and and merrily masochistic bellhop named ‘Chet’ (Steve Buscemi) who seems to derive great pleasure at the thought of shining the shoes of his hapless tenants. Despite the sorry state of the rotting hotel, Fink, who refuses an offer from his studio to pay for a nicer hotel, seems to have an instinctual and almost ascetic attraction to the building, as if he knows that it is his own little special piece of purgatory where he will have a spiritually luminous experience and be forced to truly find himself and mature as both a man and artist. Assigned to pen a script for a b wrestling movie that he has nil interest in, Fink is, not surprisingly, almost immediately plagued with writer’s block, as if he cannot bear to write something that he believes is so innately beneath him.  Indeed, while Fink acts like he has a great big hard-on for the working man, he cannot even be bothered to take interest in the perennial prole sport, but luckily a jovial fat bastard will soon give him so much needed pointers.




     As Fink discovers in a rather rude fashion, Capitol Pictures, like most studios of that era (and today), is an almost 100% kosher studio that is lorded over by absurdly rude and grotesquely loudmouthed chosenites. Unfortunately for Fink, he is forced to work with a cynical producer named Ben Geisler (Tony Shalhoub)—a character clearly inspired by revolutionary Judaic Hollywood producer Irving ‘The Boy Wonder’ Thalberg (Camille, Mutiny on the Bay)—who makes it quite clear that he cannot stomach the pansy pretenses of artsy fartsy NYC intellectual types like the protagonist. Although the studio’s founder and head Jack Lipnick (Michael Lerner)—a grotesque beast of a man that bears a striking physical resemblance to MGM co-founder Louis B. Mayer (who, like Lerner’s character, is also a Belarusian-born Jew) and possesses a revoltingly arrogant and bombastic personality worthy of disgraced Miramax cofounder Louis B. Mayer—takes an immediate liking to Fink, the hapless screenwriter will soon discover that the obsession while ultimately lead to his artistic downfall. While Lipnick does everything he can to kiss Fink’s ass, including literally kissing his feet and gleefully stating, “The writer is king here at Capitol Pictures. Don’t believe me, take a look at your paycheck at the end of every week. That’s what we think of the writer,” he also reveals himself to be a megalomaniacal mad man by boasting with a certain degree of otherworldly chutzpah, “I’m bigger and meaner and louder than any other kike in this town.” Undoubtedly, there is a certain sickly sardonic irony in the fact that Lipnick loves throwing around the classic anti-Semitic slur “kike,” as Fink will ultimately become the victim of what a Jewish (anti)hate group like the ADL might describe as stereotypical ‘financial canards’ in terms of the ruthless abuse of business power and materialism that the protagonist will suffer at the hands of the studio head. Indeed, Fink might to be a self-deluded prick and hypocrite that loves the smell of his own farts despite incessantly pontificating on his ostensible respect for the “common man,” but he does seem to have a certain genuine respect for art and the process of artistic creation. As for Lipnick, he seems to pride himself on profiting handsomely from incessantly producing formulaic philistine motion-picture entertainment for the most mindless of knuckle-dragging goyim, hence the popularity of the sort of kitschy boxing pictures that his studio regularly defecates out. Supposedly illiterate and relying on his meek assistant Lou Breeze (Jon Polito) to read scripts for him, Lipnick judges a film’s quality as to whether it is “fruity” or not. Needless to say, Fink’s script is ultimately judged to be “fruity,” but first the protagonist must go to virtual metaphysical hell and back before he can create what he will eventually personally judge as his greatest work. 




     Despite being a quasi-hipster-esque Jewish NYC intellectual that only works with other Jews, Fink somewhat ironically develops a relatively close and tender relationship with a bawdy and somewhat boorish goy insurance salesman of the rather rotund sort named Charlie Meadows (John Goodman). Not surprisingly considering the Fink’s somewhat strange luck, his friendship with Charlie develops under somewhat awkward circumstances after he calls the front desk of his hotel to complain about the fat mensch for making too much noise while he is trying in vain to write. When Charlie swings by his hotel room to make amends for the noise, Fink initially seems somewhat scared but eventually gets the gall to bring up his favorite subject, himself, and arrogantly remarks when his new friend asks about what kind of writing he does, “Strange as it may seem, Charlie, I guess I write about people like you – the average working stiff, the common man.” Indeed, Fink practically suffers from diarrhea of the mouth and won’t let Charlie speak as he is pathetically pontificating about stereotypical commie gibberish, including stating that he wants to, “create a theater for the masses based on a few simple truths, not on some shopworn abstractions about drama that don’t hold true today, if they ever did.” While working stiff Charlie—a rather agreeable insurance salesman that proudly proclaims that he loves working with the public—selflessly offers to help Fink with his writing and chimes in with remarks like, “Hell, I could tell you stories,” Fink just continues to passionately proselytize and spout bullshit that he doesn’t even truly believe like, “The hopes and dreams of the common man are as noble as those of any king.” Of course, whether he wants to admit to himself or not, Fink sees himself as a sort of messianic king of abstract intellect and he cannot help but treat virtually everyone he meets as if they were servile paupers that are lucky to be in his presence. 



     One day while taking a leak at a urinal at a local restaurant, Fink hears the gratingly grotesque sounds of a drunk puking his guts out in a nearby stall, so naturally he is delightfully shocked to discover that the shameless dipsomaniac in question is his writer hero W. P. Mayhew (John Mahoney)—a character inspired by William Faulkner—who also works as a Hollywood screenwriter, or as he states himself with a certain inebriated elegance, “All of us undomesticated writers eventually make our way out here to the great salt lick. That’s probably why I always have such a powerful thirst.” While Fink somewhat breaks character and gleefully proclaims to the elder writer like an excited schoolboy with a fan-boy crush, “You’re the finest novelist of our time,” the protagonist will soon discover that his great hero is a deranged boozer and pathetic artistic fraud who has his long-suffering servile secretary-cum-girlfriend Audrey Taylor (Judy Davis) ghostwrite all of his work for him. While Audrey proudly proclaims to love Mayhew, who is old enough to be her father, and even demonstrates it by passively accepting his constant verbal and physical abuse, that does not stop her from eventually seducing Fink when she is supposed to be helping him write his screenplay. Rather unfortunately, the next morning after their carnal session, Fink is absolutely horrified to discover Audrey’s bloody corpse lying next to him.  Rather absurdly, Fink only discovers that Audrey is a lifeless corpse after he makes a valiant attempt to swat a mosquito that is feasting on her cold unclad body.  Luckily, Fink’s good old buddy Charlie, who was able to hear the ill-fated lovemaking session the night before via a pipe, is curiously more than willing to help get rid of Audrey’s corpse, though Mayhew’s dead body is, somewhat strangely, also found a couple days later.

    Needless to say, Fink, who has no other friends in Hollywood, suffers a virtual emotional breakdown when Charlie informs him that he temporarily leaving town. Somewhat unfortunately, Fink makes the mistake of giving Charlie the address of his parents and beloved “Uncle Maury.” Unbeknownst to Fink, who, despite his ostensible formidable intellect, is plagued by a certain socially autistic naïveté, Charlie is a deranged serial killer and his real name is the chillingly Teutonic Karl ‘Madman’ Mundt. Indeed, Fink is somewhat taken about when a wop-American cop named Detective Mastrionotti (Richard Portnow) and his kraut-American partner Detective Deutsch (Christopher Murney), who both insult him from being a Jew, inform him that Charlie is a crazed killer and show him a goofy mugshot of his pal.  Notably, before leaving town, Charlie shows Fink some wrestling moves and even violently pins him down on the ground in a manner that is probably more passionate than the protagonist's coital encounter with Audrey.  While Charlie undoubtedly demonstrates that he could probably effortlessly kill Fink with his bare hands, he opts to teach him a lesson in respect and humility instead.


     Before leaving town, Charlie drops off a dubious wrapped package that looks like it would be a nice fit for a decapitated female human head and asks Fink if he would be so kind enough to watch it for him since the box ostensibly contains everything that is important to him. Somewhat inexplicably, the package, which manages to spark his curiosity, seems to cure Fink’s writer block, as he manages to finish his entire script, which he previously only had written a mere couple words of, in a single night. Indeed, not only does Fink finish the script, but he also calls his producer Geisler the same night and proudly boasts that “I think it’s really big” and “This may be the most important work I’ve ever done.” In fact, Fink’s creative accomplishment gives him such a massive ego boast that he manages to cause a small riot at a dance hall after boasting to a group of sailors while possessed by delusions of grandeur and screaming twaddle like, “I’m a writer, you monsters! I create! I create for a living! I’m a creator! I’m a creator! This is my uniform! [points to head] This is how a serve the common man.” As to what caused Fink to act in such an unbecomingly hysterical fashion, a sailor dared to kindly asked to “cut in” and dance with the same girl he was dancing with because he was “shipping out tomorrow” and probably wanted a little female warmth before going to war.  Undoubtedly, Fink probably deserved the same treatment that was unleashed on Kenneth Anger's character in Fireworks (1947) by a couple of suavely dressed sailors, but luckily for him he only received a single punch to the face.  Arguably, in no other scene does Fink’s hypocritical contempt for the so-called “common man” become so unbearably glaring, especially since the young military men are going to risk their lives in a war that involves rescuing European Jewry, so it is only fitting that the viewer receives the therapeutic relief of seeing one of the prole sailors punching him in his loudmouth.  Of course, it will take more than a punch to knock Fink down a couple pegs, as he is a mensch that has a hard time suffering humility.


     If the punch did not bring Fink back to reality and force him to confront his innately counterfeit Marxist metapolitical Weltanschauung, Charlie’s rather abrupt and quite literally explosive holocaust-esque homecoming certainly does. Indeed, not long after Detective Mastrionotti and Detective Deutsch come by his hotel room and prepare to arrest him for mysterious murders that he clearly did not commit (as the menacing detectives make quite clear, they are no friends of the Jews), Charlie announces his arrival by setting the hotel on fire and then dispatching both of the overtly fascistic cops, who are completely unprepared for the final showdown, with a shotgun.  Indeed, after blowing away Mastrionotti and sardonically screaming “Look upon me! I’ll show you the life of the mind!” while running down the inflamed hotel hallway, Charlie, who seems to be fueled with homicidal glory, wounds Deutsch and then finishes him off with a close-contact blast to the brain, but not before relatively calmly declaring with a strange foreboding fatalism, “Heil, Hitler,” as if he is concluding a symbolic ironical performance art routine that sums up the outcome of the Second World War.  Indeed, fat and jovial yet homicidal and unhinged Charlie's scorched-earth routine can certainly be seen as a sick allegorical depiction of America's dubious role in WWII.

    Somewhat calmer after killing the cops, Charlie has a little post-rampage chat with Fink where he justifies his pathological homicidal tendencies by declaring, “They say I’m a madman, Bart, but I’m not mad at anyone. Honest, I’m not. Most guys I just feel sorry for. It tears me up inside to think about what they’re going through, how trapped they are. I understand it. I feel for them. So I try and help them out. Jesus. Yeah. Yeah. I know what it feels like when things get all balled up at the head office. They put you through hell, Barton. So I help people out. I just wish someone would do as much for me. Jesus, it’s hot.” When Fink dares to ask “why me?,” Charlie goes completely berserk and screams in his face, “Because you don’t listen!” and then adds, “Come one, Barton. You think you know pain? You think I made your life hell? Take a look around this dump. You’re just a tourist with a typewriter, Barton. I live here. Don’t you understand that? And you come into my home and you complain that I’m making too much noise.” Luckily, Barton seems to truly listen to another human-being for the first time in his entire life and seemingly sincerely declares in almost a whisper, “I’m sorry,” to which Charlie gratefully replies, “Don’t be.” While Charlie manages to spare Fink’s life by freeing him from a bed frame that the dead detectives previously handcuffed him to, the sympathetic serial killer also informs him that he paid an unexpected visit to his parents and uncle in NYC. On top of everything else, Charlie also confesses that he “lied” about the wrapped package and simply declares that it is “not mine.” Needless to say, Fink subsequently has trouble contacting his parents and uncle over the telephone.  As for Charlie, who previously expressed a desire to be put out of his misery, one can only assume that he commits suicide via avant-garde self-immolation, as he simply goes back to his room while the hotel is burning down.  Of course, one can only speculate that Fink managed to give Charlie the comfort and security he needed to commit suicide after managing to temporarily put aside his ego and apologize for his rude behavior.  Needless to say, all the pain and suffering that Fink suffers probably could have been avoided were he not a insufferably narcissistic twat, just as World Jewry probably could have avoided a pogrom or two had members of its leadership respected the wishes of its host population and not double-downed and incited more antisemitism with its actions.  Indeed, it is no coincidence that Charlie declares to Fink, “You're just a tourist with a typewriter, Barton.  I live here,” as the protagonist is surely symbolic of the iconoclastic wandering Jew who, lacking in self-awareness and consumed with unwarranted hubris, proceeds to immediately shit on the place and people he has invaded.




     If Charlie was not able to teach Fink a lesson in humility, fellow Israelite Lipnick, who now demands to be addressed as “Colonel Lipnick” because, as he states with a hint of unintentionally hilarious arrogance, he was “commissioned yesterday in the army reserve. Henry Morgenthau arranged it. Dear friend,” certainly does as he cannot stomach the pretenses of intellectual yids that do not know their place. Indeed, Lipnick verbally tears both Fink and his prized script into pieces, declaring, “We don’t put Wally Beery in a fruity movie about suffering. I thought we were together on that.” When Fink meekly protests, “I tried to show you something beautiful. Something about all of us,” Lipnick becomes enraged and declares, “You arrogant son of a bitch. You think you’re the only writer that can give me that Barton Fink feeling. I’ve got 20 writer under contract I can ask for a Fink-type thing from! You swell-headed hypocrite, you just don’t get it, do you? You think the whole world revolves around whatever rattles inside that little kike head of yours.”  Although Fink seems to think he is some sort of precious intellectual revolutionary that is worthy of being treasured and adored by some kosher literary elite, he clearly does not understand the true harsh reality of the Eastern European ghetto realm of Lipnick, who simply cannot abide his self-absorbed intellectual onanism.

    Undoubtedly, the difference between Fink and Lipnick is somewhat summed up by Ernest van den Haag in his book The Jewish Mystique where he argues in regard to the innate difference between poor Jews and their somewhat more spoiled American-born sons and grandson, “His children now can afford the radicalism the father had to relinquish—at least as an active pursuit—to bring them up. The father became a liberal. He was once upon a time radical because he was poor. He felt he had nothing to lose, everything to gain. The children once more are radical—but this time because they are rich enough not to worry about earning money. Whereas the father’s and grandfather’s motive for radicalism was poverty and oppression, the marginal existence they were compelled to lead, the son’s is a product of his parent’s suburban success. The son discovers that ‘money isn’t everything.’ It isn’t. He is bored by money, by making it and by spending it. Money shelters him materially; but for that he had to pay a price: he feels mentally uncomfortable, psychologically anxious, bored, restless, aimlessly rebellious—what is he to do with himself, with his life?” Undoubtedly, van den Haag's description of the “son” certainly describes Fink, at least in a superficial sense.  Maybe if Fink had to do a week or two of real hard labor, he might appreciate his lot in life, drop his unconsciously condescending attitude toward the proletariat and rethink his pinko idealism and fetish for the “common man.” Additionally, while Lipnick seems to be a proud “kike,” Fink seems to be the sort of post-Yiddish kosher cosmopolitan that would argee with Marx's words, “The social emancipation of the Jew is the emancipation of society from Judaism.” Indeed, while Fink is certainly hopelessly Jewish in terms of appearance and psychology, he is probably behind on his Talmud studies.

     In the end, a rather defeated-looking Barton takes a walk on the beach while carrying Charlie’s package and is somewhat taken aback when he happens up a beauteous babe that resembles the image a woman in a kitschy beach painting that was hanging in his hotel room.  As demonstrated by his obsessional glaring at it throughout the film, Fink undoubtedly developed a strange infatuation with the painting, so he naturally finds the young lady rather appealing. After Fink asks her, “Are you in pictures?,” and she bashfully replies “Don’t be silly,” and then positions herself on the beach in a manner that, rather surreally, more or less perfectly duplicates the image from the painting, though a seagull randomly drops dead and falls into the ocean, thus assumedly demystifying the scenic splendor that it originally had for the protagonist and thereupon probably adding to his growing cynicism and disillusionment with art and life in general.  In short, both Fink's political and idealism have died an undignified death just like the lone seagull that fell into the ocean.  Surely, Fink has had an exceedingly Ernüchterung experience in Hollywood, but luckily he might rethink his fetish for Trotsky. 



     While Barton Fink was generally well received among all the right mainstream critics up on its initial release, a couple of them were not so happy with the film’s portrayal of certain Hebraic characters. Indeed, as noted by Jew Josh Levine in his book The Coen Brothers: The Story of Two American Filmmakers (2000), Jewish The Village Voice film critic J. Hoberman—a lifelong far-left cheerleader that incidentally co-wrote the somewhat worthwhile text Midnight Movies (1983) with Jonathan Rosenbaum—would complain, “At the period when BARTON FINK is set, the virtual acme of worldwide anti-Semitism, America’s two most potent Jewish stereotypes were the vulgar Hollywood mogul and the idealistic New York communist. . . . BARTON FINK locks these stereotypes in sadomasochistic embrace.” Of course, what Hoberman is ignoring is that these so-called stereotypes are based on real individuals that are far less sympathetic than the characters that the Coen brothers created. Notably, good goy media critic James Wolcott was no less critical of the kosher elements of the film, complaining in his Vanity Fair review, “What makes the movie such an audacious sickie is that the Coen brothers – themselves Jewish – never attempt to make us identify with Barton’s plight. They keep him and his attitudes in a jar.” Judging by Wolcott's review, it seems as if he failed to even watch the movie and/or he could not image a Judaic film character that was not portrayed in a 100% positive light like the insufferably sagely social justice Jewish character Sol Roth portrayed by Hebrew film noir icon Edward G. Robinson in fellow Judaic Richard Fleischer's SJW sci-fi classic Soylent Green (1973), but such groveling shabbos goy thinking goes with the territory when you're a mainstream American film critic. To Wolcott’s credit, he did not go as far as accusing the the Coen brothers of being self-loathing chosenites but instead argued, “I never felt watching the movie that the Coen brothers were indulging in something as obvious and personal as Jewish self-hatred. The movie has too much conscious effrontery. . . .It satirizes the Jewish sense of victimization, without denying that victimization exists.” Naturally, like virtually every Coen brothers film, the Semitic siblings approach their characters in a certain detached fashion, hence one of their greatest strengths as filmmakers.  Naturally, the Coen brothers do not believe that the titular protagonist of Barton Fink deserves the torment and suffering that he ultimately faces, but they also acknowledge that Fink was also at least partially responsible for said torment and suffering due to his arrogance, narcissism, and quite literally laughable lack of self-awareness.  After all, most of Fink's misery could have easily been avoid had he pulled his head out of his ass every once and while.




     While the Coen brothers are probably not exactly stereotypical self-loathing Jews despite what certain Zionistic JDL types might think, they have certainly demonstrated in past statements that they are not the sort of hysterical Jewish leftist agitpropagandists or neocon Zionist war-pigs that can be found working in Hollywood, but instead a sort of American filmic auteur equivalent to great Jewish Viennese satirist and wordsmith Karl Kraus. Indeed, Viennese novelist Stefan Zweig might as well have been speaking of the Coen brothers when he once wrote regarding fellow Austrian Jew Kraus that he was “the master of venomous ridicule.” As the brothers’ films surely demonstrate, they are equal-opportunity offenders who, quite unlike other members of their race (e.g. Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer), are willing to be just as ruthless when it comes to depicting Judaic characters. Also, like Kraus, who attacked prominent Jewish (pseudo)intellectual movements like Zionism and psychoanalysis and its lead figures like Theodor Herzl and Sigmund Freud, the Coen brothers have also attacked certain Jewish types that they find deplorable, most notably the titular kosher turd of Barton Fink. Needless to say, the siblings are no mindless Zio-bot propagandists, but the foremost cinematic critics of the most repugnant elements of their ethno-cultural group.

    As recounted by Josh Levine, despite having an older sister named Debbie that moved to Israel after becoming a physician, the Coens originally refused to visit the Jewish state because they feared it would be like an “armed Jewish summer camp,” which is surely something that no sane individual would want to experience (incidentally, the Coens were practically bribed to travel to Israel in 2011 under the dubious pretense of receiving a million-dollar award from Tel Aviv University, though the two did not do any shilling for Israel while there as demonstrated by Joel's remark, “We grew up in a Jewish community, but we never thought to make a story that deals with Israel. We don’t really know Israel — we write American stories. That's what we know”). Although the Coen brothers got their start in filmmaking working with fellow Midwestern Jew Sam Raimi on The Evil Dead (1981) and the siblings would approach the Zionist fundraiser Hadassah so that they could obtain a list of the 100 wealthiest Jews in their state under the pretense of approaching said wealthy Jews about becoming investors for their debut feature debut Blood Simple (1984), the two were apparently not swamped with Jewish influence growing up and never became part of hermetic Hebraic suburban neo-ghetto culture, or as Joel Coen’s blonde shiksa wife, actress Frances McDormand, once noted, “They grew up pretty isolated as the only Jewish kids around and they’re pretty big on loyalty and dependability,” hence their lack of racial chauvinism. In short, Barton Fink could have never been created by stereotypical American Jews that have fond members of Hillel college events or a Birthright Israel pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Likewise, the film could have never been directed by someone that is deluded enough to take intellectual inspiration from the demented scribblings of Wilhelm Reich or Herbert Marcuse like Herr Fink probably would. 




     While the Coen brothers have completely denied in the past that the film has any sort of specific esoteric allegorical message, Barton Fink is unequivocally a film that begs for deep and creative analysis, especially when it comes to the perennial ‘Jewish question.’ For example, the scene where Charlie Meadows dispatches the kraut and wop detectives—characters that are clearly symbolic of the Axis Powers as indicated by their names ‘Mastrionotti’ and ‘Deutsch’—can be seen as symbolic of the semi-feral white Americans saving the European Jews during the so-called holocaust. Notably, it is interesting that Charlie’s real name is the quite Germanic ‘Karl Mundt’ as German-Americans, somewhat ironically, made up for the largest single ethnic group to fight in the American military during WWII.  I would not be surprised if the Coen brothers—in their jaded kosher cynicism—see the white American goyim saving the Jews as both a sick irony and a potentially dangerous situation, as if they expect the same whites that saved their as being just as capable, if not more capable, of carrying out a fully successful shoah after meeting too many whiny subversive Jews like Fink (after all, the film hints that Meadows aka Mundt has exterminated Fink’s family).   Naturally, it is no coincidence that American Jews were at the forefront of promoting the flooding of the United States with non-whites from the Third World.  Indeed, the so-called Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (aka Hart–Celler Act), which is directly responsible for the browning and third worldization of America, was the demented brainchild of Jewish politicians that include NY Senator Jacob Javits, Congressman Emanuel Celler, Leo Pfeffer (Former President of American Jewish Congress), and Norman Podhoretz (Writer and Member of The Council of Foreign Relations). As to why the Jews would want to the U.S. to degenerate into a third world hellhole, American Jewish Congress (AJC) and World Jewish Congress (WJC) bigwig David W. Petegorsky made it quite clear when he declared in 1948, “Jewish survival can only take place within the framework of a progressive and expanding democratic society, which through its institutions and public policies gives expression to the concept of cultural pluralism.”  Of course, like Fink, none of these Jewish politicians seemed to have the self-awareness to consider that the fruits of their actions might eventually result in an antisemitic backlash.

     Of course, another sick irony of the film is that it is ultimately Hollywood studio mogul Jack Lipnick—a man that cannot help but use the word “kike” in every single sentence—is ultimately a true, if mostly symbolic, savior of the Jews as a military officer and propagandist while far-leftist Fink is never depicted even contemplating the Third Reich, WWII, or European antisemitism despite the film taking place in 1941. In fact, Lipnick even mentions that he is a good pal of Jewish U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau Jr. who, on top of working hard to rescue Jewish refuges during WWII, was the creator of the so-called ‘Morgenthau Plan,’ which was designed to completely de-industrialize and more or less destroy German and turn it into what Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels described as a giant potato patch (undoubtedly revealing his completely anti-Christian/anti-American semitic sense of justice, Morgenthau also suggested to FDR in the summer of 1944 that the top 50 or 100 German “arch-criminals” be immediately exterminated upon being captured). Surely, it is no coincidence that Lipnick comes off seeming like a sort of fascistic dictator, as he is like the illiterate hate-child of Martin Bormann and Harvey Weinstein. Surely, as artists and writers, the Coens see Lipnick—a loudmouth philistine that boasts of virtually enslaving writers under contract yet refusing to use their work—as something more monstrous than Hitler. 



     As far as I am concerned, Barton Fink is an unmitigated masterpiece that, cinematically speaking, manages to offer a little bit of everything despite being a period piece that takes place during a very specific time and place.  Indeed, both a mix of kitsch and high-kultur, Lynch and Polanski, Künstlerroman and buddy flick, comedy and horror, antisemitism and philo-Semitism, Art Deco and dime store, arthouse and Hollywood, surrealism and realism, heaven and hell, Southern Gothic and Vaudeville, The Twilight Zone and the History Channel, and the grotesque and gorgeous, the film might not be seen by many film critics as brothers' magnum opus but it would be very hard to deny that it is their most aesthetically and thematically ambitious film to date (I think the Coens might believe this as well as they are considering directing a sequel entitled Old Fink).  In terms of innate Jewishness, the film is only second to the Coens' later work A Serious Man.  Of course, both of these films reveal a rather reluctant and highly self-critical Jewishness, or what David Mamet would probably describe as ‘The Wicked Son’ mindset.  Indeed, as Mamet once wrote, “This is the wickedness of the wicked son.  He feels free to enjoy his intellectual heritage, the Jewish love of learning, and reverence for accomplishment; he enjoys, aware or not, a heritage of millennia of Jewish law and values; he enjoys his very life, which would have been denied him and his ancestors in the Europe they suffered to leave; he enjoys the right to protection from the community he disavows and, through it all, parrots, ‘My parents were Jews, but I do not consider myself a Jew.’”

    Although not staunch Zionists, the Coen brothers would never deny their kosher credentials, just as they would never direct a film as personally self-loathingly Jewish and strangely Zionistic as Mamet's Homicide (1991), but I digress.  On the other hand, if he had a greater sense of humor and flare for aesthetics, the great so-called self-hating Jew Otto Weininger might have directed a film like Barton Fink.  After all, Weininger, who lived a lonely and haunted purgatorial existence not unlike Herr Fink before killing himself in the same Viennese rented room that Ludwig van Beethoven died in, believed that “The Jew is an inborn communist” and he saw Judaism as a nihilistic belief in nothing, which is certainly how the religion seems in A Serious Man due to its depiction of mindless rabbis.  Unequivocally 100% kosher in terms of both appearance and psychology and sharing a kohanim surname of the Judaic Aaronic priesthood, the Coen brothers indubitably represent the best in terms of aesthetic and intellectual post-religious Judaism, with Barton Fink indubitably representing a ‘Hebraic Eraserhead’ as a poetically paranoic expression of a Jewish protagonist in an insufferable semi-cryptically kosher world.  Undoubtedly, one of the innate ingredients of Judaism is iconoclasm, which is one of the Coen brothers greatest talents.  Of course, what makes Barton Fink so paradoxically Über-Jewish and antisemitic is that it takes an iconoclastic approach to an intrinsically Jewish world and contains Hebraic characters that are easily more repugnant than those featured in National Socialist classics like Veit Harlan's Jud Süß (1940) and even mischling Fritz Hippler's agitprop piece Der Ewige Jude (1940) aka The Eternal Jew.  Indeed, when watched through a Jew-wise lens, the film offers Nicholas Donin-tier condemnation for Hebraic Hollywood and Jewish left-wing politics yet, at the same time, the Coen brothers' greatest films are more innately kosher than anything ever directed by Mel Brooks or Woody Allen.  In short, the Coen brothers are probably the only filmmakers that can be easily loved or loathed by both Kahanite terrorists and National Alliance members alike.



    -Ty E
    ...
    (Review Source)
  • This World, Then the Fireworks
    (”Eraserhead” is briefly mentioned in this.)



    As far as neo-noir is considered, you probably cannot get more gorgeously grotesque and, in turn, debasingly aesthetically indelible than Michael Oblowitz’s fairly unknown Jim Thompson adaptation This World, Then the Fireworks (1997) starring virtual walking-and-talking-human-genitals Billy Zane, Gina Gershon, and Sheryl Lee. In fact, I have no qualms about confessing that I believe that it is easily the greatest Thompson adaptation ever made and I say that as someone that is a fan of both Bertrand Tavernier’s Coup de Torchon (1981) and James Foley’s After Dark, My Sweet (1990). Both a hyper histrionic homage and misanthropically deconstructive mutation of classic film noir, the film takes a surprisingly refreshingly heavy-handed approach to depicting fraternal twin incest, la mort d'amour and accidental necrophilia, matricide, Mexican back-alley abortions, opium addiction, prostitution, posttraumatic stress, and a variety of other mostly salacious subjects that auteur Oblowitz—a South African Jew that was once loosely associated with the largely artistically bankrupt No Wave Cinema scene—clearly loves wallowing in. In short, the film is an innately immoral cinematic work directed by an innately immoral filmmaker who, not surprisingly, worked as a cinematographer on a number of Rosa von Praunheim films, including aberrosexual agitprop like Army of Lovers or Revolt of the Perverts (1979) and fiercely retarded feminist drivel like Rote Liebe (1982) aka Red Love. While I can only assume Oblowitz is heterosexual, he must have learned a thing or two from the corrosive kraut queen as his Thompson adaption features more than one fat naked dude and a preteen boy getting the shit beat out of him while wearing nothing but tighty whities.

    While depriving the viewer of full bush, the film does thankfully features some nicely styled nudes of Gershon and Lee, though one gets the sense that the auteur sees sex as being about as special as a bonafide bowel movement. Indeed, instead of presenting coitus as something intimate or possibly even spiritual, Oblowitz depicts it as a sort of base demonic energy that can be used as either a weapon or form of currency, though it has very little true intrinsic value otherwise. In fact, in the film—a dark noir romance featuring an incest-fueled bizarre love triangle—sex is depicted as the true root of all evil, especially as far as the forsaken male protagonist and his similarly vulgarly tragic twin sister are concerned. Undoubtedly, if there is anything else that rivals carnality in terms of sheer weaponized nefariousness in the film, it is family, as familial matters are the direct source of the main characters’ untamable malevolence and crippling metaphysical and psycho-emotional maladies. As the son of a purported holocaust survivor, Oblowitz—an auteur that is obsessed with style and form but seems a little handicapped as far as deep human emotions are concerned—indubitably takes a curious approach to interfamilial trauma, but I digress. 




     Apparently, the genesis for the film dates all the way back to 1982 after Oblowitz first read a bootlegged Xeroxed copy of Jim Thompson’s pulp classic The Killer Inside Me (1952) and became completely obsessed with directing a cinematic adaptation of the novel. After failing to acquire the rights to the novel and a couple failed attempts at adapting other Thompson novels, Oblowitz thankfully finally settled on the author's posthumously released short story This World, Then the Fireworks, though he would get fellow Judaic Larry Gross—a fairly unknown writer that is probably best remembered in the Hollywood realm for doing last minute (and oftentimes uncredited) polishes and rewrites of high-profile scripts, most notably Walter Hill’s fairly successful buddy cop flick 48 Hrs. (1982)—to pen the project. Not surprisingly, both Oblowitz and Gross reveal in featurettes on the 2017 Kino Lorber blu-ray release of the film that they regard it as among their greatest artistic accomplishments. While Oblowitz originally gained notoriety for his gritty No Wave flicks Minus Zero (1979) and King Blank (1983)—the latter of which had the honor of playing on a double bill as a midnight movie with David Lynch’s masterful debut feature Eraserhead—he subsequently artistically degenerated into a for-hire music video hack and is probably best known nowadays for directing such rather unrefined direct-to-video Steven Seagal action-schlock as Out for a Kill (2003) and The Foreigner (2003), among other similarly embarrassing efforts. In short, there is no question that This World, Then the Fireworks is Oblowitz’s crowning achievement as a filmmaker, though only a malevolently morally bankrupt man could sire such a gleefully unhinged, intoxicatingly nihilistic, and lunatically libertine magnum opus.  Of course, it goes without saying that the film has one of the coolest and misleadingly poetic titles in cinema history, hence my initial (admittedly largely superficial) interest in seeing it.  Luckily, the film lives up to its preternaturally poesy title.




     While Oblowitz shares next to nil similarities with Robert Bresson, I think he would appreciate the French master auteur's cinematic aphorism, “Master precision. Be a precision instrument myself.” Indeed, This World, Then the Fireworks is by no means an immaculate film yet nearly every single scene feels perfectly constructed with the fanatical meticulousness of an OCD-addled locksmith, thus underscoring the director’s obsession with extensive storyboarding and longtime experience as a music video director that was obligated to construct very precise and calculated tableaux. For better or worse, many of the scenes manage to leave an indelible mark on the viewer; whether it be a cockeyed low-angle shot of a bloody yet beauteous post-abortion corpse lying on a dirty metal slab in some Mexican hellhole or a big gob of blood splattering across the smiling face of a seemingly innocent 4-year-old child. In fact, the lack of empathy or any other emotion in these scenes leads me to conclude that Oblowitz is either an unabashed sociopath or at a Tarantino-esque level of emotional retardation, but luckily the film somehow manages to be both darkly humorous and even somewhat romantic.  In short, it is anything but banal. If I didn’t know better, I would assume that the film was a romantic-comedy for killer couples like Bonnie and Clyde and Shirley Stoler and Tony Lo Bianco, but of course that is one of the things that makes it so strangely intriguing, if not largely psychologically and emotionally deleterious. Personally, as a somewhat antisocial individual that has always been in relationships with relatively asocial chicks, I am always a sucker for a certain sort of mad love and This World, Then the Fireworks certainly delivers in that regard, even though I am not into incest or brutal coldblooded murder, among other things. To put it simply, Oblowitz’s flick is the sort of cinematic work Georges Bataille might have directed had he been a psychotic redblooded stud instead of a wimpy degenerate intellectual. On the other hand, I would not exactly call the murderous male antihero featured in the film an alpha-male, as he is a mentally cracked chap that is practically led around by the scent of the cunt of the twin sister that he loves, at least until he falls under the spell of another scenty snatch, albeit of the non-sibling sort. 




     Notably, in his classic philosophical novel Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None, Teutonic philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche—a fellow that was not exactly that successful when it came to the so-called fairer sex—wrote, “Man is for woman a means; the purpose is always the child, But what is woman for man? The true man wants two different things: danger and diversion. He therefore wants woman, as the most dangerous plaything. Man must be trained for war, and woman for the relaxation of the warrior; all else is folly. Two sweet fruits – these the warrior does not like. He therefore likes women – even the sweetest woman is bitter.” While woman is indubitably “the most dangerous plaything” in This World, Then the Fireworks, the male antihero is certainly no warrior, at least not in any conventional sense.  Additionally, the two main female characters, who are beyond bitter, are only interested in the monetary and material and hardly the maternal, as they unequivocally embody the ‘prostitute archetype,’ at least in the Weiningerian sense. In fact, the male antihero played by Billy Zane is too much of an emotionally erratic pretty boy ponce to even compare to the lean and mean hardboiled stoicism of a great film noir star like Humphrey Bogart. Additionally, the film features two very different femme fatales, including a fiery Mediterranean-like literal whore of the sensually unhinged sort and a cryptically killer lady-cop of the naggy Nordic ice queen variety.  In fact, it could be argued that these lethal ladies are symbolic dichotomous reflections of the quasi-schizophrenic antihero's considerably conflicted personality.  Undoubtedly, Oblowitz’s loves these fatally frisky femme fatales as much as he loathes the white picket fence morals and wholesome WASP cultural supremacy that defined the 1950s, but one should not expect anything less from a man that directs holocaust-themed vampire flicks like The Breed (2001) that feature the nasty (and uniquely improbable) novelty of a negro-chink miscegenation (if that wasn't distasteful enough, the film also features a literal Judaic vampire that accuses the same negro of being a ‘racist’ because he is immune to his Hebraic bloodsucking charms).

    Indeed, This World, Then the Fireworks is not so much a ‘neo-noir’ as a sociopathically sardonic tribute to the fact that film noir did the most, at least cinematically speaking, to demystify the American dream and piss on the white Christian majority population that greatly valued said dream. Undoubtedly, Oblowitz’s film is as nostalgically American as anthrax-laced (kosher) apple pie. In short, Oblowitz’s film does for 1950s America what Harmony Korine’s directorial debut Gummo (1997) did for poor contemporary crackers in terms of its aesthetically Talmudic approach to tearing at the moral fabric of the white American goyim until there is nothing but a single weak thread. 




     As shamelessly incestuous siblings that have practically been attached at the genitals since birth and seem to sometimes share the same mind in terms of their particularly perverse thoughts and carnal (and killer) desires, Marty Lakewood (Billy Zane) and his sister Carol (Gina Gershon) are virtual ‘psychosexual Siamese twins.’ Aside from sharing the same rotten white trash womb, the fraternal twins were also victims of the same traumatic childhood event that occurred on their fourth birthday in July 4th 1926, which involved their mindless mother abruptly aborting their b-day party to drag them over to a house across the street just in time to witness their completely naked fat fuck father, who was rudely interrupted while fucking his mistress, blowing out the brains of the angry armed fellow that he had just so brazenly cuckolded, or as Marty nostalgically narrates in regard to the impact of the event on his life, “It was funny. It was funnier than Charlie Chaplin or Krazy Kat. The man on the floor didn’t have hardly any head at all. And dad and the women – they were naked. Dad went to the electric chair and the women committed suicide. Mom was scarred for life but . . . they were naked and it was funny. It was so funny, I remember. I remember that night well.”

     A sort of bargain bin nihilist philosopher that might have read Mencken but never Nietzsche and who absolutely loves living dangerously as a perversely invasive yellow journalist, Marty lives by the personal Weltanschauung, “Nothing really happens for a reason, it just happens,” as if it was the only logical conclusion that he could come to after witnessing his papa commit coldblooded post-coital murder when he was just a wee lad. While it is now 1956 and three decades have passed since his deadly daddy destroyed the psychological and emotional integrity of his entire family, Marty, his sister Carol, and mother Mrs. Lakewood (Rue McClanahan of The Golden Girls fame) have clearly never recovered and have instead degenerated into psychological grotesque human monsters with great sex appeal. Needless to say, when Marty moves back in with his beloved sis and mental mommy after being forced to flee Chicago, old wounds are opened up and old incestuous desires are acted upon, though a bizarre love triangle eventually threatens the sanctity of the extra special brother-sister relationship. 




     Despite always loving one another, the twins made a rather revealing childhood pact to both marry unlovable losers, or as Marty narrates, “Carol and I did what we said we were going to do back when we were kids. We chose to marry someone that no one else wanted. Someone scorned and shamed and cast aside.” Indeed, while Carol married some rich abusive loser that later dropped dead and resulted in her less than prestigious career as a lowly street hooker, Marty married and even sired a son with a big bloated 400-pound beastess that, in terms of sheer physically attractiveness, is not even worthy of lapping up his rancid excrement. Not surprisingly, when Marty is forced to flee Chicago after his junky pal ‘Joe’ (Richard Edson)—a doped up ex-journalist that provides the dirt on dirty cops in exchange for morphine—is killed by a group of corrupt cops and he becomes the next target due to the incriminating info he has on local law enforcement, he does not think twice about completely abandoning his wife and similarly obscenely overweight son. Of course, considering his rather ambivalent attitude cops and undying love his twin sister, Marty probably never suspected that moving to California to be with his family would eventually lead to himself falling in love with a cop, albeit one with a rather wicked blonde cunt. As Marty proudly narrates in regard to his homecoming, “It did not matter being broke. Carol and I were together again. After three long years—the longest we had been separated. Nothing else seemed to matter.” Rather unfortunately, Carol—a beauteous yet irreparably broken babe that makes her living as a pussy-peddler that seems to specialize in using her womb to suck up the semen of violent rape-obsessed sailors—is somewhat of an emotional wreck. Of course, the same can be certainly said of fairly deranged Marty’s drug-addled mother, who cannot live with the fact that her darling children are lifelong lovers. Rather unfortunately but not surprisingly, Marty will be the only one that is still alive at the end of the film, as Carol and their mother seem to be too ill-equipped to confront past traumas and move on with their lives. As for Marty, he gets involved with some somewhat sinister stuff, but he also discovers a true love—or something resembling it—that does not share the same tainted blood. 




     Not long after moving back home with his sister and mother, Marty manages to snag a position at the biggest newspaper in town and becomes such a good journalist that he compels his co-employees to live in constant fear and even succumb to alcoholism due to not being able to compete with his inordinate diligence and singular workaholic ethos. Although devilishly clever and a rather ruthless employee, Marty is also plagued with a certain vehement irrationalism that inspires him to quit his job after he has virtually risen to the top of the ladder of the local daily rag. Indeed, Marty might be a virtual moron when it comes to morals, but he lacks the sort of sociopathic careerism that defined the reporter played by Kirk Douglas in Billy Wilder’s desert noir Ace in the Hole (1951) aka The Big Carnival. Indeed, when his prick boss—a cynical scumbag that seems to be able to develop a hard-on at the mere thought of debasing his employees—dares to offer him a nice new position after firing a co-worker, Marty becomes completely deranged and both physically and verbally assaults his considerably shocked employer because he is paranoid that the man has figured out his wants and motivations, which makes perfect sense when one considers that he is a mensch that carries around the deep dark secret that he is in love with his own twin sister and has dedicated virtually his entire life to serving and protecting her. In fact, the film features a childhood flashback scene where a preteen Marty brutally beats a couple young boys with a large stick that dare to attempt to gang-rape his sister in a bittersweet scenario that concludes with an inordinately tender shot of the incestuous twins holding one another during the twilight of the blue hour. As Marty candidly states in regard to his relationship with Carol, “We felt each other’s feelings. We thought each other’s thoughts. We didn’t care what anyone thought of us and that was unforgivable. For that, we had to be punished.”  Somewhat ironically, it is only when Marty begins to love someone else just as much as his sister that he is truly punished for his carnal crimes.




     In what ultimately proves to be almost too conveniently auspicious of circumstances, Marty almost immediately spots the wanton woman that, for better or worse, will completely change his life shortly after quitting his job. Indeed, upon first seeing delectable dame Lois Archer (Sheryl Lee)—a busty blonde bombshell of the law that is as socially awkward as she is sexy—Marty gets a little bit too excited and quite literally manhandles her in broad daylight right outside of a semi-busy public courthouse. While initially awkwardly defensive to the point where she acts like she is going to arrest him, it soon becomes rather apparent that lusty Lois is desperate to jump Marty’s bones and that she is quite smitten with the proudly aberrant antihero's Lothario-like brand of lunacy. While Marty asks her rather sleazy personal questions like, “Are you blonde all over or just where it shows?,” Lois soon comes to the conclusion that she wants to engage in a little bip-bam-thank-you-ma’am with him and rather firmly demands, “I want you to come home with me right now.” Notably, not only does Marty go to Lois’ house and engage in heated carnal session with her, but he also soon becomes obsessed with her and her humble abode, which is a scenic beachfront property. While Marty seems to genuinely like Lois, he also immediately begins plotting to swindle her out of her beach house, which is worth a whopping $30,000 (keep in mind, this is the 1950s) and is unfortunately co-owned by her estranged soldier brother. Indeed, as he soon tells his sister, Marty hopes to kill Lois’ brother and own the house within a mere month. Rather unfortunately, Marty might be a sick sociopath of sorts, but he also soon finds himself falling in love with luscious Lois, who seems to almost immediately dominate him in the bedroom as demonstrated by the fact that she is almost always laying on top of him during their intimate post-coital discussions in a manner that makes it seem like she just finished ravishing his rectum him with a sizable strap-on dildo. Undoubtedly, Lois’ sexual dominance is ultimately a form of fetishistic foreshadowing. 



     As demonstrated by the fact that he gleefully murders a grotesquely morbidly obese ‘private dick’ named Jake Krutz (William Hootkins) that dares to keep tabs on his sister, Marty can certainly be described as a sadistic sociopath yet he, like so many of his psychologically defective kind, is so damn undeniably likeable. Of course, Marty wears a rather handsome mask of sanity that hides a scared little boy that more or less regresses to an infantile state anytime his hyper hysterical mommy says mean things to him. In fact, he does not even try to deny it when his sister says to him, “I know you like to play the big old rough, tough guy, but deep down you’re just a sentimental slob.” When Marty suffers a mental meltdown after his mother accuses him and his sister of engaging in incest and then states hateful things to them like, “You both should have been strangled at birth,” Carol opts to kill her by personally feeding her an intentional overdose of her favorite bedtime drug in a twisted scene of morbidly ironic matricide where a grown daughter feeds her borderline elderly mother in a mock maternal fashion.

    While Marty is an unrepentant murderer and debauched degenerate of the quite consciously remorseless sort, his sister Carol, who seems to be largely driven by a certain fierce feral-like instinct, is even more ruthless as a decidedly deranged dame that nonchalantly brags about fatally poisoning men, though her cuntlet seems to be her most killer weapon as demonstrated by the fact that manages to unwittingly fuck a man to death. Indeed, when Carol becomes so electrically aroused upon remembering the tragic event from her 4th birthday, she causes an insurance salesman named Barnett Gibons (Larry Clarks) to become a victim of ‘dying in the saddle’ as she violently rides his cock whilst in a seemingly demonic state. Somewhat surprisingly, Carol, who is not one to cry about dead johns, acts as if she is completely traumatized as a result of committing unintentional necrophilia, but that does not stop her bro from crudely quipping, “I’ve got to hand it to you, dear. You’re probably the first hooker in recorded history to induce seizures and cerebral hemorrhage.” Clearly emotionally troubled, Carol acts as if she is on the path of orgasmic self-obliteration. Luckily, Marty now has Lois to take Carol’s place. 



     While Marty still intends to rob Lois and her brother of their cute little beach house, he cannot seem to stop himself from falling hopelessly in love with his self-described “copulating cop.”  Needless to say, sister-fucker Marty also expresses guilt and confusion at his love for Lois, as if he cannot even bear the thought of emotionally devote himself to any other woman aside from his twin.  Aside from incessantly fucking her, Marty also enjoys engaging in non-sexual recreational activities with Lois like shooting framed family photos on the beach.  In fact, the rather senseless shooting of the photos foreshadows the end of both Marty and Lois' little families.  Eventually, Marty even finds himself unable to confront Lois about selling the house because he is “afraid of spoiling that sweet wildness” of their hot and heavy romance, thus hinting that the antihero might not have the spirit of a psychotic gigolo after all. Of course, like every single woman that seems to be too good to be true, Lois eventually becomes rather bitchy and attempts to emotionally manipulate Marty by strategically stating to him, “I only love you. I love you more than anyone else in the whole world and I want to hear the exact same thing back from you.” Not surprisingly, when Marty fails to give Lois her desired response, she becomes exceedingly enraged and accuses him of engaging in incest, screaming at him in regard to Carol, “I think you’re fucking her! I think you’re fucking that little tramp!” Naturally, Marty finds the seemingly phony drama queen to be fairly insufferable and he soon finds himself emotionally and physically abusing Lois, though she seems to enjoy it.  Although clearly somewhat masochistic, Lois, like most masochists, is clearly the one that is in control of the relationship. Of course, as an ice cold femme fatale with a nice warm pussy, Lois has ulterior motives and is ultimately playing Marty like a pawn. Indeed, unbeknownst to Marty, Lois’ so-called brother is really her estranged husband and she actually wants the antihero to murder him. Meanwhile, a local cop named Detective Harris (Seymour Cassel)—a rather ruthless asshole that knows a scumbag when he sees one—brings Marty to the local police station for questioning and informs him that he is looking for Carol as he believes that she is responsible for the death of both the private detective Jake Krutz and insurance salesman Barnett Gibons.

    Somewhat ironically, most of Marty’s problems are solved after Carol dies under grisly circumstances as a result of a botched morphine-fueled back-alley abortion in Mexico. Not surprisingly, Marty, who seems to be still slightly grieving over the death of his mother, does not take the quite unexpected news of Carol's death too well. Indeed, when the Mexican abortionist, who acts rather remorseful, calls him on the phone to inform him of his sister's death, Marty is initially in denial and proceeds to scream in regard to Carol's corpse, “Throw it in the ocean. Throw in a garbage dump. Throw it in an alley so the little dogs can piss on it.” When Lois tries to comfort him about his sister's death, mad Marty gives her a swift punch to her pretty little face and then screams with the visceral rage of a dozen AIDS-ridden queens, “Don’t EVER feel sorry for me. Ever! Ever!” In the end, Marty’s seems to soon get over Carol's death and his big criminal plans also workout, as he kills Lois’ ‘brother’ and gets her to sell the beach house.  As it turns out, Lois more or less had the same exact plan as Marty in regard to cashing in on the beach house and the two ultimately revealed to have used each other.  Of course, the great irony is that Marty was an unwitting pawn and that Lois used him to execute the murder so that she could liquidate her unwanted husband and sell the house. Now a completely emasculated ‘kept man,’ Marty is symbolically told to “move over” in a rather bitchy fashion at the very end of the film as the two get in a car and leave town for good to start a new life together. Indeed, now relegated to the passenger seat, Marty is no longer in control of his entire life. On top of everything else, Marty is met with disdain when he warmly tells Lois “I love you,” but at least he no longer seems perennially trapped in the same grotesque figurative womb as his belated twin sister and thus can quite worrying about the possibility of siring an inbred demon seed.  In that sense, it is only fitting that sister Carol dropped dead while in the middle of receiving a third world grade abortion.



     While This World, Then the Fireworks—a cinematic where, at least thematically speaking, madness is the method—is not exactly a ‘message movie’ and it has very little to offer in regard to the stereotypical Hollywood-esque realm of the ostensibly morally redeeming, it does provide male viewers with an insight or two in regard to the mystique of the so-called fairer sex. Indeed, the film’s antihero Marty learns the hard way that, no matter how angelically beauteous and seemingly passive and faithful a woman may seem, women are innately manipulative subspecies and a woman will always reveal her true ugly self and ulterior motive(s) over time when she finally achieves what she secretly wants. As innately fucked up as it is, antihero Marty’s twin sister Carol was the only person that selflessly and organically loved him for who he actually was while his platinum blonde cop girlfriend Lois—a vamp tramp with a venomous vag and crooked badge that makes Rita Hayworth’s character in Orson Welles’ The Lady from Shanghai (1947) seem rather sweet and sensitive by comparison—is a chillingly cold cunt that will probably have him killed one day under dubious circumstances. In fact, despite spending a good portion of the film sweaty and unclad, actress Sheryl Lee does such an excellent job portraying a cunning cunt and all around loathsomely insufferable bitch that even the most die hard of Twin Peaks fans might find themselves losing empathy for her famous TV character Laura Palmer after watching Oblowitz’s film (on the other hand, no heterosexual men wouldn’t want to sexually ravage this busty blonde bitch).

    Of course, despite being a violent killer with a propensity for completely pointless gleeful sadism, Marty—an oftentimes hysterical and irrational pen-pusher that is prettier than most women—does not exactly embody any sort of great masculine ideal. Undoubtedly, when I think of mad mensch Marty and his covertly feminine attributes, I cannot help but be reminded of the great self-loathing Viennese Hebrew Otto Weininger’s wise words, “The meaning of women is to be meaningless. She represents negation, the opposite pole from the Godhead, the other possibility of humanity. And so nothing is so despicable as a man become female, and such a person will be regarded as the supreme criminal even by himself. And so also is to be explained the deepest fear of man; the fear of the woman, which is the fear of unconsciousness, the alluring abyss of annihilation.” Indeed, Marty is hardly your typical film noir (anti)hero, but instead the sort of violently emotionally erratic and wickedly narcissistic virtual male gigolo that could easily be the son of some sociopathic femme fatale that waited too long to get an abortion. Despite his fiercely fatal flaws, Marty is certainly portrayed in a more positive light than the film’s authority figures, thus underscoring semitic auteur Oblowitz and fellow chosenite Gross’ deep-seated hatred for authority, or, more specifically and importantly, WASP American pie authority.  Needless to say, I do not think it is a stretch to assume that Oblowitz sees swarthy Marty as a sort of crypto-Jew (of course, one also cannot forget that the character's sister Carol is played by seductive Jewess Gina Gershon).




     As the uniquely uneven oeuvre of suicidal (anti)auteur Tony Scott (and, to a lesser extent, his brother Ridley) demonstrates, starting a filmmaking career as a music video director can be an aesthetically deleterious thing as it can cause a filmmaker to become more obsessed with style, form, and especially editing than narrative constructive, among other things, yet Oblowitz’s pre-Hollywood background certainly seems to have been to his benefit for at least his magnum opus. Indeed, This World, Then the Fireworks certainly echoes the dark fragmented mind of its demented dipsomaniac source writer Jim Thompson, as it is a gleefully nihilistic film that could have only been spawned from the mind of an individual (or individuals) that has surrendered their morality and self-esteem to the figurative hell of addiction. Notably, in the featurette The Straight Dope (2017), Oblowitz happily describes previous affinity for cocaine and how it fueled his filmmaking.  In the same short doc, Oblowitz also makes the somewhat lofty claim that pulp auteur Samuel Fuller’s widow Christa Lang, who was personal friends with the The Killer Inside Me writer, once confided to him that Thompson regarded his film as the best of the cinematic adaptations of his stories (notably, Oblowitz is not the first chosenite to adapt the pulp writer's work, as Kubrick's The Killing (1956), which Thompson co-penned, and Jewess Maggie Greenwald's The Kill-Off (1990) both predate Oblowitz's film). According to Robert Polito in his biography Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson (1995), Mr. Fuller was so obsessed with adapting Thompson’s novel The Getaway that he once half-jokingly stated that he would be fully willing to use the novel as the shooting script (unfortunately for Fuller, it was Sam Peckinpah that ultimately adapted the novel, though it is, rather unfortunately, much tamer than its source material). Speaking of Fuller, even his darkest and grittiest films seem like works of cerebral optimism compared to Oblowitz’s semi-oneiric odyssey in white picket fence obscenity. Indeed, while Fuller was obsessed with crime and criminals, Oblowitz’s film is virtual criminality in cinematic form as a feverishly fucked flick that demonstrates a certain innate and strangely organic lawless spirit as if it was directed by a serial killer that wanted to boast about all the crimes he committed but was too morally bankrupt and narcissistically unaware to see how unflattering of a portrait that he painted of himself. In short, it is no surprise that This World, Then the Fireworks was directed by a man that was so obsessed with intimate ‘first-person serial killer narrative’ structure of The Killer Inside Me that he waited about 15 years just to have the opportunity to adapt one of Thompson’s novels. 



     As a thematically dark and grim film that has about as much organic pathos and pangs as an erratically shot homemovie of a pink poodle vomiting, This World, Then the Fireworks is certainly from the Norman Mailer School of aesthetically autistic neo-noir filmmaking. Indeed, aside from Mailer’s swansong Tough Guys Don't Dance (1987), the only other ‘neo-noir’ film that I can really compare it to in terms of sheer moral bankruptcy, vulgar dark humor, counterfeit pseudo-Lynchian posturing, spasmodic storytelling, and Southern Gothic influence (although set in California, Oblowitz’s film was actually shot in North Carolina) is Dennis Hopper’s clearly flawed but somewhat underrated Don Johnson vehicle The Hot Spot (1990). Surely, what all of these films have in common aside from being deeply flawed yet equally enthralling is that they seem to have all been helmed by genuine sickos and sociopaths, though one can certainly argue that Hopper’s moral retardation and offbeat megalomania was the natural result of decades of alcohol and drug consumption and wild orgies (notably, The Hot Spot features a surprisingly tasteful rear-view pussyshot of a very young and nubile Jennifer Connelly in a sensitive Sapphic flashback scene). As for Oblowitz and Mailer (the latter of whom once made a rather violent attempt at murdering his second wife, Hispanic painter Adele Morales, by stabbing her with a pen-knife and was subsequently deemed “both homicidal and suicidal” by a judge after an involuntary stay in a mental institution), I think it is safe to say that their films are the product of unfiltered narcissistic pathology in sexually steamy yet sardonic anti-shiksa cinematic form.

    Despite all the endless Hebraic Hollywood films that attempt to portray whites, especially poor white lumpenproles, as being inbred hicks, incest is indubitably a perennial Judaic obsession.  Indeed, from Freud (who popularized pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo about Oedipal mommy-fucking) to Einstein (who married his maternal first cousin/paternal second cousin Elsa Löwenthal) to the eponymous family of Andrew Jarecki's dubiously sympathetic Capturing the Friedmans (2003) to Oblowitz, incest is undoubtedly an obsession, if not practiced behavior, among many prominent Jews throughout history. Collectively speaking, Ashkenazim are among the most inbred people in the entire world and carry a number of distinct genetic and mental disorders, but I think that Oblowitz's obsession with incest probably has more to do with the (meta)political than the sexual. As Georges Bataille noted in his work Erotism: Death and Sensuality, Hebraic frog anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss argued that the banning of incest by society is, “ . . . the primary step thanks to which, through which, and especially in which, the transition from Nature to Culture is made.”  Needless to say, This World, Then the Fireworks is an assault against culture, namely white America culture, hence the importance of hot and steamy incest.  Notably, Olbowitz's Judaic ethnocentricism becomes rather obvious in interviews, including one where he remarked that when comparing working with goyish South African novelist J.M. Coetzee and Hebraic laywer turned novelist Thane Rosenbaum, “It was the difference between dealing with an Afrikaner and a New York Jew." It is also somewhat curious that a man that would take a rather a gleeful approach to cinematically depicting the horrific childhood trauma of 4-year-old twins witnessing their naked father blowing out another man's brains with a shotgun in This World, Then the Fireworks to state that his own father's personal shoah stories were responsible for leaving, “a tattoo from the Holocaust engraved on my heart.”  To Oblowitz's credit, his vampire flick The Breed, which was actually shot in real WWII era Jewish ghettos, does not exactly take a respectful approach to paying tribute to the holocaust. In a sense, Oblowitz's film is a sort of anti-Blue Velvet as antihero Marty Lakewood is like a younger version of archetypal Lynchian villain Frank Booth.  Of course, whereas Booth epitomizes pure and innate evil, Marty is depicted by Oblowitz—a kosher culture-distorter with a clear hatred for the small suburbans town of Lynch's youth—as an audacious antidote to the cultural sterility and sexual repression of 1950s American suburbia.  Judging simply by his unequivocal magnum opus, I can only come to the conclusion that Oblowitz sees fraternal twin incest as being highly preferable to the typical WASP nuclear family, but I digress.

    For all its decided degeneracy and seemingly anti-Europid meanderings, I think I could accept the prospect of endearing This World, Then the Fireworks for eternity were I to be so irrevocably forsaken as to fall out of favor with god and his Jewish bastard son and be cast into hell.  While I am not a merry murder of the incestuous sort that delights in giving my twin sister bubble bathes like antihero Marty, I can certainly relate to the antihero's grotesque outlaw romanticism and lack of empathy for the greater part of humanity, not to mention his self-destructive affinity for bat-shit-crazy (and beach-friendly) blondes and fiercely frisky Mediterranean bitches.  As a sort of unconventional aesthete that prefers my pulchritude to have a sort of dark yet passionate perversity, I also appreciate the film for being the virtual cinematic equivalent to a debauched dream prom date with Karla Homolka that concludes with an orgy with the more attractive of the Manson Family sluts.  In that sense, This World, Then the Fireworks—a film that basks in the recklessly hedonistic—is an evil erotic fantasy set somewhere between heaven and hell.  Undoubtedly, the spirit of the film can probably be summed up by Judaic Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey's somewhat reasonable words, “There is a beast in man that should be exercised, not exorcised."



    -Ty E
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  • The Pig Fucking Movie (Wedding Trough)
    (”Eraserhead” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    AKA One Man and his Pig AKA Wedding Trough AKA Vase de noces Many have heard the boasting of the great enigma film-maker David Lynch and his...
    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Inland Empire
    (”Eraserhead” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Any fan of the bizarre or down right obscure cinema, knows the name David Lynch. Over decades, he has sealed his place as the master of Amer...
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    (Review Source)
  • Dune
    (”Eraserhead” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Dune is David Lynch’s only sci-fi film. Lynch considers Dune to be his only artistic failure. After viewing the film for the first ti...
    ...
    (Review Source)
  • The 4th Dimension
    (”Eraserhead” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    The 4th Dimension originally started out as a student film. This was no surprise for me as it is well known Mr. Lynch’s feature length de...
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    (Review Source)
  • Mister Lonely
    (”Eraserhead” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Mister Lonely is the long awaited third film from director Harmony Korine. Former straight-edger Harmony Korine has had some problems wit...
    ...
    (Review Source)
  • The Woman Who Powders Herself (La Femme qui se poudre )
    (”Eraserhead” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Art Fags beware! You’re in for a surrealistic scare! La Femme qui se poudre ( The Woman Who Powders Herself ) is a short film that has bee...
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    (Review Source)
  • Dandy Dust
    (”Eraserhead” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    As far as quality films/filmmakers go, very few works by lesbian and transgendered 'ladies' are at the top of my list of important fl...
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    (Review Source)
  • Combat Shock
    (”Eraserhead” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    "Bloody" Buddy Giovinazzo is one of the few directors to have created something so wildly foreign to Troma's usual assortment of tits and b...
    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Dementia
    (”Eraserhead” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Somewhat embarrassingly, I never got around to seeing the phantasmagorical film noir (advertised as a ‘beat-noir’) flick Dementia (1...
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    (Review Source)

PJ Media Staff1
PJ Media



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • 4 Incredible Cult Films Coming to Criterion Blu Ray In August, September, and October
    Lifestyle var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Y Tu Mama Tambien Trailer', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); 4.  Y Tu Mama Tambien on August 19, 2014Special features of note:Two new pieces on the making of the film, featuring interviews, recorded at the time of production and in 2014, with actors Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, and Maribel Verdú; Alfonso Cuarón; cowriter Carlos Cuarón; and LubezkiNew interview with philosopher Slavoj Žižek about the film’s social and political aspectsThis 2002 coming-of-age comedy-drama from Mexico was one of my favorites during my high school and college years working at an art house movie theatre. It starts with the American Pie premise but infuses it with amazing, artistic photography and then deeper insights about life and death, philosophy, friendships, and relationships. Looks like it's on Netflix streaming... I should probably give it a re-watch...And what's the deal with this trendy neo-Marxist, postmodernist "philosopher" Slavoj Žižek showing up all over the place? His documentary The Pervert's Guide to Ideology is also on Netflix and while I've tried watching it a few times I have yet to succeed in completing it... So silly and boring, but, alas, rising in influence and popularity in the culture such that he's probably in need of a dissection soon in list form... class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/7/16/4-incredible-cult-films-coming-to-criterion-blu-ray-in-august-september-and-october/ previous Page 1 of 4 next   ]]>
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    (Review Source)

Steve Sailer1
Taki Mag



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Review: The Incredibles 2
    (”Eraserhead” is briefly mentioned in this.)


    What proportion of the top creative artists in Hollywood, the heavyweight auteurs,...

    ...
    (Review Source)

The American Conservative Staff1
The American Conservative



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Twin Peaks Reconsidered
    (”Eraserhead” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Every year, North Bend, Wash., a 6,500-strong town located 30 miles outside of Seattle, adds about 300 people to its population for three days. Though it seems an odd burden for a town that few have heard of and with little attraction outside of natural splendor, it is accepted with an air that is almost colonial. The visitors come to commemorate a remarkable event. In 1989, director David Lynch, with cast and crew in tow, descended upon North Bend and neighboring Snoqualmie to film the pilot episode of Twin Peaks. Though production thereafter relied on a California-based studio, Lynch made icons of area locations, including the grand Snoqualmie Falls (as seen from the Great Northern Hotel), the lumber mill, the Double R diner (now called Twede’s), and the endless expanse of Douglas firs. This pilgrimage, held since 1992, attracts fans from around the world. They participate in costume contests, film screenings, bus tours, meetings, panels with cast members (a healthy majority of whom have appeared at least once), and trivia. One fan, 16-year-old Spencer Collantes of San Francisco, has been banned from the trivia contest for simply knowing too much about the show. “I’ve seen Twin Peaks more than 30 times,” he tells i-D magazine. “I’ve won the contest for the past three years.” The Twin Peaks pilot episode aired in April 1990 on ABC to 34.6 million viewers. It ended 29 episodes later in June of 1991 with less than a third of that audience. Its demise was slow and undignified, subject to months of preemptions, hiatuses, schedule shuffling, and general indifference. A show of so fleeting a lifespan and so relentless an obsession is not an easy one to explain, even if its kind is recognizable enough today. It is ostensibly about the murder of Laura Palmer, a troubled homecoming queen in a small town, and about Dale Cooper, an FBI agent of ice-pick-sharp intuition and permanent reserves of positivity, who is tasked with solving the crime. There is also a woman who literally carries a log everywhere she goes, a parallel world, a demonic spirit who wears nothing but denim, a fish in a percolator, and lots of coffee and baked goods. It is a mystery, but also a soap opera, a teen melodrama, and a surrealist fairytale. Twin Peaks lived, died, and was reborn by those alsos. They helped sink the show while entrenching the cult around it. At times it may seem as if those who talk about Twin Peaks are not always talking about the same thing. It was a quirky primetime thriller and remains a pop-culture phenomenon; but it was also a proto-prestige drama, a cautionary tale of creative excess, a visual puzzle as yet unsolved, and one of the greatest television shows ever created. Now the cult followers of Twin Peaks will get a chance to watch a new 18-episode season of Twin Peaks, premiering May 21 on Showtime. It has been made with the direct participation of Lynch and his Twin Peaks collaborator, the seasoned TV writer Mark Frost, who have brought to the new project 36 original cast members (with some notable omissions, however, for reasons that include mortality) and double the number of newcomers. Promotion has been limited to coy seconds-long spots, including one with David Lynch dressed as one of his characters, the hearing-impaired FBI agent Gordon Cole, eating a doughnut, while Angelo Badalamenti’s eerie and romantic theme music plays. It’s difficult to know what to make of this remake effort, though it seems just a bit precarious given how out of control the show can get and the inherent risk of disappointing the show’s lingering loyal fan base. It calls to mind the words of Ted Williams after he took on managerial duties at the Washington Senators and friends suggested he was still young enough to be a player-manager. “You don’t mess with the mystique,” said Ted. Is Lynch messing with the mystique? Perhaps. David Foster Wallace once said he preferred Twin Peaks’ second season to its first because of “the fascinating spectacle of watching a narrative structure disintegrate.” David Lynch loves to talk. He will talk at length about seemingly anything that strikes his fancy, and charm his listeners to pieces in the process. Some years ago, he did a semi-regular video series in which he reported on the weather—that is, he sat in his Los Angeles workshop and described how it looked outside in a voice that had not aged in spirit or cadence. He largely eschews profanity and speaks of everything with a kind of youthful revelation. But this enthusiasm does not often extend to his work, which he talks about in effusive generalities that read either as necromantic visions or straight confessions. Sometimes both. “I had always wanted to sneak into a girl’s room to watch her at night and that … I would see something that would be a clue to a murder mystery,” he recalled describing the genesis of his 1986 hit movie, Blue Velvet. “I went home and somehow I pictured someone finding an ear in a field.” Lynch is a dreamboat for nascent filmmakers thanks to his ability to turn raw ideas into sensational visions. This is evinced in his very first film, Six Figures Getting Sick, a commissioned 50-second stop-motion piece from 1967 that shows six sculpted heads spewing liquid. Lynch, who came to film from painting, is not a verbal artist. He prefers to dictate scripts, and strings together his images using stilted dialogue that isn’t far removed from an Ed Wood film. His images can be striking. Blue Velvet divines both the beautiful and the grisly with its Rockwellian roses and its Buñuelian ear. But television as a verbal medium did not attract Lynch. The actual idea that David Lynch could subject himself to commercial breaks and Standards and Practices came from the outside. The prime culprit seems to be then-CAA agent Tony Krantz, who match-made him with his other client, Frost, and told them to take it to the ratings-starved ABC. “We didn’t really have something that we were completely settled on,” Frost later recalled of the 1988 pitch meeting. “[W]e told them about this strange town in the Northwest, and a murder that happens. And I remember David said something about ‘And there’s the wind in the trees,’ and he moved his hands a certain way.” A pilot script was ordered. Twin Peaks could never really overcome its pilot episode. It is a beast unto itself. Every time I watch it I try to put myself in the mindset of those who originally tuned in in 1990, and every time it is impossible. Having put Miami Vice’s hyper-contemporary urban “zen pulp” to rest, audiences were thrown into the ’90s by a rustic postmodern clash of casual absurdism, bleak violence, and a fixation with the 1950s. And not many involved in its making thought it would go anywhere. “I had the sense of freedom making that pilot,” Lynch said, describing the “euphoria” of “this probably isn’t going to go anywhere, let’s really do it.” Kyle MacLachlan, Twin Peaks’ Dale Cooper, concurred: “We figured it would be just a one-off and no one in their right mind would ever consider making this a series.” But the low expectations backfired. “Will Laura’s murderer ever be found? Will he or she turn out to be, as one rumor has it, an extraterrestrial?” John O’Connor wrote in a New York Times review of the pilot. “It really doesn’t matter. Keep your eye on those details and enjoy this unique television trip.” One has to feel bad to some degree for Sheryl Lee, portrayer of Laura Palmer and her brunette cousin Maddie Ferguson, whose main career highlights consist of being murdered or playing dead on this show. She spent a whole workday, and then some, being fake-brutalized up and down the Palmer living room by three different people to make up a grueling four-minute reveal of Laura’s and Maddie’s killer(s). This is to say nothing of the hours she spent lying on a rocky shore in the middle of winter, “wrapped in plastic,” for the pilot episode’s iconic opening scene. But it’s true that these occurrences seem somewhat beside the point compared to the elaborate world Lynch and Frost brought to life that was at once alien and familiar. “Do you know the world is a foul sty? Do you know, if you rip the fronts off houses, you’d find swine? The world’s a hell.” Joseph Cotten’s screed to his niece in Hitchcock’s suburban thriller Shadow of a Doubt is often seen as a direct precursor to the Lynchian worldview. Though dried of obscenities, it presages the bitter brutality Dennis Hopper brought to Frank Booth in Blue Velvet four decades later. And this is not lost on Lynch: “There are too many possibilities for something to go wrong—so you could always worry about that. And there’s many things that are hidden and seeming like many, many secrets; and you don’t know for sure whether you are being just paranoid or if there really are some secrets.” But Cotten’s swine are better contrasted against Laura Dern’s robins, from a scene often overshadowed by Blue Velvet’s improbably menacing suburban underbelly: I had a dream. In fact, it was the night I met you. In the dream there was our world and the world was dark because there weren’t any robins. And the robins represented love. And for the longest time there was just this darkness. And all of a sudden thousands of robins were set free, and they flew down and brought this blinding light of love. And it seemed like that love would be the only thing that would make any difference. And it did. So I guess it means there is trouble till the robins come. This homily, appropriately filmed just outside a church, is difficult to watch without some ironic remove. But it also serves as a window for a hopefulness that Hitchcock was less willing to fathom. In fact, looked at another way, Blue Velvet, on a moral level, has more in common with its 1986 theatrical contemporary, the Sylvester Stallone tough-on-crime vehicle Cobra, than with anything produced by Hitchcock. In this regard, Twin Peaks is both an extension of and improvement on that moral framework. Though David Lynch’s work has been pored over by possibly every manner of film critic in Christendom, one of the most astute observations of Lynch comes from conservative intellectual Joseph Sobran. Surveying Lynch’s work for National Review in 1990, Sobran wrote that Lynch, far from being a “left-wing avant-garde muckraker of the national soul,” is far more nuanced. “Good and evil are clearly—even violently—distinguished, but, otherwise, the normal and the abnormal keep close company, even within the same character.” Twin Peaks, moreover, “shows that Lynch can give his intuition subtler expression when he doesn’t make use of shocking extremes.” “And then, once you’re exposed to fearful things,” Lynch said, “you begin to worry that the peaceful, happy life could vanish or be threatened.” To ascribe a brand of politics to David Lynch would be wrong. Though he’s said to have admired Ronald Reagan, he has supported the Natural Law Party—of the Yogic-flying, transcendental-meditation variety, not the Straussian variety—going so far as to make a campaign commercial for physicist John Hagelin, the party’s 2000 presidential nominee. All the same, denying that there is a broader social vision within his work is not so easy, particularly with regard to place and its effect on his characters. His 1977 debut feature film Eraserhead is remembered as a horrific paean to parental anxiety but is just as ably viewed as a hate letter to cities. Inspired by his time living in Philadelphia, Lynch reduces the urban landscape to a depopulated wasteland of noise, smog, concrete, isolation, and shadows. “In my mind it was a world between a factory and a factory neighborhood,” Lynch said of the film. “A little, unknown, twisted, almost silent lost spot where little details and little torments existed. And people were struggling in darkness. … I always say it’s my Philadelphia Story. It just doesn’t have Jimmy Stewart in it!” Twin Peaks, by contrast, has echoes of the Missoula, Mont., of Lynch’s youth—or at least his attitude about it in hindsight. “My childhood was elegant homes, tree-lined streets, the milkman, building backyard forts, droning airplanes, blue skies, picket fences, green grass, cherry trees. Middle America as it’s supposed to be.” Of course he is ever quick to note the sap that bleeds from the tree, and the ants beneath the grass, but Twin Peaks is not given enough credit for the complexity of the contrast. The stark divide between corruption and innocence, robin and insect, and Madonna and whore in Blue Velvet is dissolved with a kind of Lynchian humanism. Though Twin Peaks is something of an island in a sea of trees, and dislodged in time (as if it exists in a parallel universe where the Cold War didn’t end and Sub Pop Records didn’t exist), it is no monoculture. It upends the usual rule of Lynchiana that the most menacing characters are the most memorable; and not merely because the demonic “BOB” was portrayed by a set carpenter who was accidentally shot in a mirror’s reflection in the pilot. The serial structure allowed Lynchian idiosyncrasies to deepen into logical traits, pulling someone like Catherine Coulson’s “Log Lady,” who lives in an actual house, was once married, and carries useful knowledge about the town and its lore, from non sequitur to flesh and blood human. It has also paved the way for Lynch’s best female characters, who have tended to serve mostly as ciphers for a protagonist’s desires and revulsion. Here they have their own wisdom, charms, and vulnerabilities. Sherilyn Fenn’s Audrey Horne (and later Laura Palmer), for instance, has the complexity and impulses of a James Dean character while James Marshall’s motorcycle-riding throwback James Hurley has the allure and sensitivity of an ingénue. Twin Peaks is an ideal world of uncommon, even impossible, vibrancy. The weird not only seem to out-populate the normal, but the normal (with one important exception) are just that. The oddity of the town exists in spite of rather than in accordance with the spiritual forces of “the Black Lodge” that converge in its forests. The evil, whether represented by “BOB,” the miscreant locals, or pretty much anyone from Canada, requires defense. David Lynch famously turned down an offer to direct Return of the Jedi, though the look and manner of Dale Cooper and his FBI cohorts bear a strong resemblance to George Lucas’s clairvoyant arbiters of universal moral order. At the heart of Twin Peaks is a fantasy, but one that’s grander than its fantastic elements. For anyone who grew up in Union County, N.J., the 1,945-acre Watchung Reservation bore a significant ominousness. Though strewn with park areas and beautiful streams and foliage, getting to certain towns required driving on unlit serpentine roads cutting through its dense swath of forestry. It was not uncommon to hear that it was haunted, or that it was a breeding ground for cult ritual or Klan meetings. My high school’s senior class supposedly had a Halloween tradition of nabbing freshmen and stranding them in the middle of it, perhaps in the Deserted Village, which is exactly how it sounds. It rings terribly juvenile, to be sure, but it is rooted in reality. In 1972, the body of 16-year-old Jeannette DePalma of Springfield was discovered after going missing for six weeks. A local dog had found one of her arms and brought it to its owner. The rest of her had been found in a Reservation quarry, called the Devil’s Teeth by locals, surrounded by makeshift crosses and other “occult objects.” The death was ruled as suspicious and caused a sensation, with local newspapers openly speculating motives of witchcraft and Satanic worship. “Do Pupils Pray to Devil?” read one headline. But 45 years later, “Who killed Jeannette DePalma?” still goes unanswered amid a fog of ever more salacious rumors and accusations of police cover-up and negligence. One could travel to any part of the United States and discover similar stories. There is an abundance of Twin Peaks, in other words, where tragedy and gossip ascend into ignominious legend. What was most unbelievable, and therefore most entrancing, about the series was not its violence or its demons but the resilient hope Lynch and Frost stood up against them. Though by no means the most optimistic show ever produced it was among the least cynical. A basic good was assumed of everyone until proven otherwise. Its justice system, with a trailer-traveling judge who held court in the local bar, is unquestionably lax. Its authorities, both local and federal, are incorruptible. “While I will admit to a certain cynicism,” says Miguel Ferrer’s sardonic and pugnacious FBI forensics investigator Albert Rosenfeld: the fact is that I am a naysayer and hatchetman in the fight against violence. I pride myself in taking a punch and I’ll gladly take another because I choose to live my life in the company of Gandhi and King. My concerns are global. I reject absolutely revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method … is love. I love you Sheriff Truman. Since the show’s original cancellation, showrunners have tried doggedly to ape the Twin Peaks atmosphere. Shows like The X-Files, Lost, True Detective, Bates Motel, and most recently (and bizarrely) the Archie comics reboot Riverdale, which features Twin Peaks star Mädchen Amick, have tried to resurrect the show’s signature weirdness and dark Americana for new audiences. Yet the weirdness, such as in Lost, was often unfathomable, while the darkness, as with True Detective, was impenetrable. If one wanted to find these in more recognizable proportion, while also not being totally beholden to the show’s legacy, one would need to look away from television—say, to Charles Burns’s graphic novel Black Hole, which is as much about the tribulations of Seattle-area teens in the midst of maturity as it is about the mutations they sexually transmit to one another. Or perhaps one could check in on the new Showtime Twin Peaks starting in May. Twin Peaks was a show that no one thought he needed when it first aired, and it is still a show that no one really needs now. At the same time, a return to Twin Peaks is not at all gratuitous. Twin Peaks, after all, never technically went away. I’m not speaking of the cosplay parties or the Reddit threads, but of the place. As with any town, Twin Peaks will have had to weather the passage of time. It will have decayed and aged. It will have been razed and paved over. It will have been healed of some of its past traumas just as it will have acquired new ones. It may misremember its legends—or its spirits—and allow them to reemerge half-recognized and more terrifying. We may assume this because Twin Peaks is everywhere. At least we know that the coffee will be hot. Chris R. Morgan writes from New Jersey. ]]>
    ...
    (Review Source)

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