FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

A repository for saving film threads.
Sneelock

Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby Sneelock » 25 Nov 2009, 16:46

Davey the Fat Boy wrote:dishonest rhetoric.


yeah, Goat Boy! tuck your shirt in!

User avatar
Matt Wilson
Psychedelic Cowpunk
Posts: 28354
Joined: 16 Jul 2003, 20:18
Location: Edge of a continent

Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby Matt Wilson » 25 Nov 2009, 16:56

Is somebody wrong on the internet again?

User avatar
Goat Boy
Bogarting the joint
Posts: 30249
Joined: 20 Mar 2007, 12:11
Location: In the perfumed garden

Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby Goat Boy » 25 Nov 2009, 17:58

But dishonest rhetoric is the bedrock of BCB!
Lord Rother wrote:Missing the sublime sense of melody which David Longdon brought to the group but nonetheless a damn fine album.

Big Big Train - Goodbye To The Age of Steam

User avatar
Leg of lamb
Jane Austen enthusiast
Posts: 9466
Joined: 19 Oct 2003, 11:33
Location: Crying in the chapel
Contact:

Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby Leg of lamb » 27 Nov 2009, 22:06

I've only seen this film once - at Baron's apartment, no less - so I'm not that equipped to talk about it. I was closer to Davey and Penk than the film's champions, though. What I really disliked about the film's rhetoric were all those clunky, childishly naive lines about good, evil and all the rest of it. At first I thought they were cheap irony; then I was encouraged to see them as sincere and complementary to the dark side of the film - which seemed to solve the issue somewhat. But then I thought, hold on a sec, that's in many ways no better - doesn't that amount to Lynch placing faith in these trite consolations? Lynch's sincerity implies that evil is difficult and troubling, whereas goodness is elemental and childlike. Any complexity only comes from the interaction of these two opposites, the darkness jeopardising these simple, comforting values that can hopefully provide atonement.

I rate the dangerous side of the film quite highly - especially the incredible 'In Dreams' scene and Hopper's character in general. I just don't think that these suburban simpletons are the antidote.
Brother Spoon wrote:I would probably enjoy this record more if it came to me in a brown paper bag filled with manure, instead of this richly illustrated disgrace to my eyes.

The Modernist

Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby The Modernist » 27 Nov 2009, 22:12

Leg of lamb wrote:I've only seen this film once - at Baron's apartment, no less - so I'm not that equipped to talk about it. I was closer to Davey and Penk than the film's champions, though. What I really disliked about the film's rhetoric were all those clunky, childishly naive lines about good, evil and all the rest of it. At first I thought they were cheap irony; then I was encouraged to see them as sincere and complementary to the dark side of the film - which seemed to solve the issue somewhat. But then I thought, hold on a sec, that's in many ways no better - doesn't that amount to Lynch placing faith in these trite consolations? Lynch's sincerity implies that evil is difficult and troubling, whereas goodness is elemental and childlike. Any complexity only comes from the interaction of these two opposites, the darkness jeopardising these simple, comforting values that can hopefully provide atonement.

I rate the dangerous side of the film quite highly - especially the incredible 'In Dreams' scene and Hopper's character in general. I just don't think that these suburban simpletons are the antidote.


Yet we accept those good/evil binary oppositions in fairy tales do we not?
I think you have to discard any notions of naturalism when watching Blue Velvet.

User avatar
Leg of lamb
Jane Austen enthusiast
Posts: 9466
Joined: 19 Oct 2003, 11:33
Location: Crying in the chapel
Contact:

Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby Leg of lamb » 29 Nov 2009, 04:46

Dr Modernist wrote:
Leg of lamb wrote:I've only seen this film once - at Baron's apartment, no less - so I'm not that equipped to talk about it. I was closer to Davey and Penk than the film's champions, though. What I really disliked about the film's rhetoric were all those clunky, childishly naive lines about good, evil and all the rest of it. At first I thought they were cheap irony; then I was encouraged to see them as sincere and complementary to the dark side of the film - which seemed to solve the issue somewhat. But then I thought, hold on a sec, that's in many ways no better - doesn't that amount to Lynch placing faith in these trite consolations? Lynch's sincerity implies that evil is difficult and troubling, whereas goodness is elemental and childlike. Any complexity only comes from the interaction of these two opposites, the darkness jeopardising these simple, comforting values that can hopefully provide atonement.

I rate the dangerous side of the film quite highly - especially the incredible 'In Dreams' scene and Hopper's character in general. I just don't think that these suburban simpletons are the antidote.


Yet we accept those good/evil binary oppositions in fairy tales do we not?
I think you have to discard any notions of naturalism when watching Blue Velvet.


I can forget about naturalism OK - that's not really my issue. My problem is the balance of that good/evil opposition. In Blue Velvet the evil part of the equation is visceral and complicated, whereas Lynch's notion of good feels flat and imperceptive.
Brother Spoon wrote:I would probably enjoy this record more if it came to me in a brown paper bag filled with manure, instead of this richly illustrated disgrace to my eyes.

User avatar
The Write Profile
2017 BCB Cup Champ
Posts: 14606
Joined: 15 Sep 2003, 10:55
Location: Today, Tomorrow, Timaru
Contact:

Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby The Write Profile » 29 Nov 2009, 08:06

I think Lynch's version of "good" is just as complicated as his version of "evil", albeit in a different way. It's there in the heightened artificiality and melodrama of the dialogue, or in the little touches designed to throw the viewers off the scent from Jeffrey's father's sudden heart attack and the hospital visit (and does anyone find the sheer stiltedness of the composition vageuly troubling), or the fact Laura Dern's dad- the cop- carries his gun around the house and no one seems to comment on it! And then there's the mechanical robbins at the end. I don't think he's undercutting the banality as such, either, like Modernist suggested, in fairytales, even the normal is ever-so-slightly skewed.
It's before my time but I've been told, he never came back from Karangahape Road.

User avatar
the masked man
Schadenfreude
Posts: 26602
Joined: 21 Jul 2003, 12:29
Location: Peterborough

Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby the masked man » 21 Apr 2010, 21:06

Finally got hold of a DVD of this, and the picture quality was terrible. This experience backs up my earlier point that this film needs the big screen for maximum visual impact - you need the scale so, as a viewer, you can get lost in the darkened spaces within Dorothy's apartment.

Watching it again, a few things struck me. I think the film very much represents the dual nature of Lynch's identity as a director. The thing is, I'm not sure how much he is making fun of this community - as I understand it, he's a small-c conservative who clings to the myths of middle America. And yet he's also drawn to this weirdness that he also perceives existing in his country. In short, he's influenced by both Frank Capra and Luis Buñuel, and he's not sure whose side he's on.

One thing I did note was how deliberately stilted most of the dialogue is - most characters talk in terms of 'aw, shucks' banality. There does seem to be a lot of repression there. By comparison, Frank's dialogue contrasts with everything else not only because of his profanity, but also because he sounds a lot more naturalistic.

And what do we make of Jeffrey? He sees himself as being the innocent boy detective, but look at his conduct. Rather than repulsion with the severed ear, he feels a curious fascination, one that leads him to break into a stranger's apartment using false pretences, and this in turn leads to a bizarre scene of voyeurism. Note that Jeffey does not look away.

Goat Boy wrote:One of the key lines in the film is where Frank says to McLachlan....'you're like me'.


Yes, I think this is the key line in the film. It poses the question of just how different Jeffery is from Frank - yes, he's more civilised, but is it just a matter of degree? Frank definitely notices that Jeffery is not all he seems.

Of course the film is seen almost entirely through Jeffrey's eyes - it's almost presented is a personal voyage into the unknown. However this does mean the narrative unfolds in an unusual manner. In some ways, this has a more conventional plotline for Lynch, with a beginning, middle and end unfolding in chronological order. But, because we only see things as he sees them, huge chunks of the narrative are off limits to us. It's, nominally, a kidnap drama, but all we see of the kidnap itself is the grisly aftermath. And many things that we see are unexpected. Why was the ear severed and then discarded in a field? Why does Frank need the 'smart man' disguise - who is he hiding his identity from? Why does Dorothy run out into the street naked? And how did the kidnap end in such a bloody fashion?

I do have at least one more thought to share, but at the moment I want to chew over it more. However, I do think it's one of the best films of the 80s.

User avatar
brotherlouie
AKA Number 16 Bus Shelter
Posts: 23132
Joined: 03 Oct 2004, 18:24
Location: In a library, probly.
Contact:

Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby brotherlouie » 22 Apr 2010, 00:11

That's a great post. It's a curious and engaging thing. The POV angle you describe above is actually more plausible than typical readings which tend to go for 'dreamlike' and so on. It's realistic precisely because there a loose ends WITHIN THE FILM ITSELF, not just hanging at the end.

Who are the other criminals?
How did Frank get like that?
What does he breath in?
Does Dorothy need to be hit to orgasm?
Is Frank a sort of father figure to Jeffrey?
Were Frank and Ben (Dean Stockwell), lovers?

All of these a fair questions that in no way change the narrative, but act as enriching points for the plot. All of them, pretty much, revolve around relationships of one form or another. There are others, I'm sure.

As an aside, has anyone seen In The Mood For Love by Wong Car Wei? It has all the visual flair and curiosity of Blue Velvet but without the life or death sinister underbelly.

The Modernist

Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby The Modernist » 22 Apr 2010, 00:53

brotherlouie wrote:That's a great post. It's a curious and engaging thing. The POV angle you describe above is actually more plausible than typical readings which tend to go for 'dreamlike' and so on. It's realistic precisely because there a loose ends WITHIN THE FILM ITSELF, not just hanging at the end.

Who are the other criminals?
How did Frank get like that?
What does he breath in?
Does Dorothy need to be hit to orgasm?
Is Frank a sort of father figure to Jeffrey?
Were Frank and Ben (Dean Stockwell), lovers?

All of these a fair questions that in no way change the narrative, but act as enriching points for the plot. All of them, pretty much, revolve around relationships of one form or another. There are others, I'm sure.

As an aside, has anyone seen In The Mood For Love by Wong Car Wei? It has all the visual flair and curiosity of Blue Velvet but without the life or death sinister underbelly.


In The Mood for Love is wonderful, although a very different film to Blue Velvet.
The plot points of Blue Velvet such as they are, are irrelevent really. They act as McGuffins. Who knows what's going on with Frank and ther corrupt police, I doubt Lynch knows.
On Frank being a kind of father figure, albeit a nightmarish one from the id, I would say the film certainly rewards being interpreted that way. There's a really good JG Ballard essay on the film where he examines its Freudian aspects. As I said in my post on page one, I see this film as a rites of passage tale in many ways.

User avatar
The Write Profile
2017 BCB Cup Champ
Posts: 14606
Joined: 15 Sep 2003, 10:55
Location: Today, Tomorrow, Timaru
Contact:

Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby The Write Profile » 24 Apr 2010, 02:41

the masked man wrote:Watching it again, a few things struck me. I think the film very much represents the dual nature of Lynch's identity as a director. The thing is, I'm not sure how much he is making fun of this community - as I understand it, he's a small-c conservative who clings to the myths of middle America. And yet he's also drawn to this weirdness that he also perceives existing in his country. In short, he's influenced by both Frank Capra and Luis Buñuel, and he's not sure whose side he's on.


That comes accross quite clearly in Chris Rodley's fascinating interview anthology Lynch on Lynch. He talks at length at what a happy childhood he had, but how fascinated he was by everything. I get the sense that this is someone who takes everything in and doesn't want to block any of it out. I really do think he sees Lumberton as a nice place, to some degree, and that solace can be found in the "mysteries of love". If these are "simpletons", then they're pretty heightened. Mel Brooks once called Lynch "Jimmy Stewart from Mars"- an apt description.

But which Jimmy Stewart are we talking about here- the one who played the crusader for the common man in Mr Smith Goes to Washington, or the deeply troubled protagonist of Vertigo? After all, right throughout Lynch's work, there is an unnerving obsession with doppelgangers, even when it comes to your choice of beer. (Or to quote Frank Booth: "Heineken?! Fuck that shit! Pabst! Blue! Ribbon!")
It's before my time but I've been told, he never came back from Karangahape Road.

The Modernist

Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby The Modernist » 13 Aug 2010, 12:14

bump for moving