FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

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Sneelock

Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby Sneelock » 22 Nov 2009, 00:46

Snarfyguy wrote:I think you're conceding way too much here.

probably. all the better to see an active thread, my dear.

the same snarfyguy wrote:Good art is the most enriching thing there is and Blue Velvet is solid nutritional value.


I wholeheartedly agree. It just bugs me that when something aspires to certain qualities that it gets socked for the very qualities that make it stand tall. nobody complains that an action movie is too exciting yet many dismiss 'art movies' for being artsy fartsy.

me, I think it's a right brain movie. things like the ear and the ants and the ever ghastly Dean Stockwell are memorable in the same way that Bunuel's children playing with scorpions is memorable. I respect Davey's own breadbasket and wouldn't change it if I could. I just think there's a really good discussion to have about this movie and I'd hate to see things stall out at He Likes It & He Don't.

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Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby Matt Wilson » 22 Nov 2009, 01:41

Well, I'm a Lynch fanatic so I love it. Perhaps his most perfectly realized film. It's entirely self-contained and is a precurser to Twin Peaks in more ways than one. I used to show it to people in college after we'd imbibed in various substances and watch them freak out. Of course, it seems tame now but at the time it seemed to disturb people.

The Modernist

Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby The Modernist » 23 Nov 2009, 01:45

p¤nk wrote:I didn't like the film when I saw it, and I think Davey's done a good job of summing up my own reaction. I remember that it felt like nothing so much as intruding upon Lynch's own private fantasy - an odd little world caught between being shocking and realistic, and instead being neither. It felt peculiarly flat; maybe I'd been expecting something wilder or more bizarre and instead I was presented with this awkward mixture of mundanity and unpleasantness.
I do intend to watch it again, though, now that it's been brought up here, so maybe I'll revise my view.


Do give it another go.
People I've met who don't like it often comment upon its tone, not really sure what its meant to be. This ambiguity is actually one of the things I really like about it, the film never quite announces what it's meant to be (I think you can make an argument for it as a dark comedy.
Similarly the film delights in mocking the bland rituals of suburbia while simultaneously finding security and comfort in them, giving the whole film an off-kilter sensibility.
I've struggled to find a dvd of it where I am, but hope to rewatch it in the next few days when I'll post more developed thoughts.

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Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby The Modernist » 23 Nov 2009, 01:50

the masked man wrote:I need to see this again, and will do so when I get hold of a DVD. But my one recollection from seeing this at the cinema is how incredible Frederick Elmes' cinematography is. All those deep blues were just so visually overwhelming, and I doubt this will translate to the small screen at all.

Maybe this is one film you need to see in a movie theatre.


Yes I was lucky enough to see this at the cinema, and I can well remember how lush and sensuous that opening title sequence was with that blue velvet curtain, and the slo-mo sequence that came after it with the bright red flowers and the white picket fence. It hooked me in right away.

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Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby The Modernist » 23 Nov 2009, 01:57

Okay you can watch it here or download it on the ever reliable stagevu website (I'm so pleased I discovered this site). The picture quality is actually very good.

http://stagevu.com/video/jbshmohwkscq

Tip: If watching it, just pause it after the first time it buffers and go away for a bit. That way you can let it load for an uninterrupted viewing. Although I haven't tried this one yet, some work better than others for me.

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Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby The Write Profile » 23 Nov 2009, 07:43

Dr Modernist wrote:People I've met who don't like it often comment upon its tone, not really sure what its meant to be. This ambiguity is actually one of the things I really like about it, the film never quite announces what it's meant to be (I think you can make an argument for it as a dark comedy.
Similarly the film delights in mocking the bland rituals of suburbia while simultaneously finding security and comfort in them, giving the whole film an off-kilter sensibility.
I've struggled to find a dvd of it where I am, but hope to rewatch it in the next few days when I'll post more developed thoughts.


Absolutely, and it's what sets it apart from its imitators and descendants. As I said, I don't think Lynch is being that disingenuous when he talks about his love for community values and the comfort of them. Mel Brooks once described him as "Jimmy Stewart from Mars" which makes perfect sense when you think of this film, especially the frankly insane opening sequence which equal parts Norman Rockwell and Louis Buenel. Also, order is restored at the end, it's just that everyone's slightly wiser. They will return to happiness. Until next time.

Incidentally, the sequence when the various factions finally come to a head, and Jeffery discovers exactly what went down, ("it's over, Jefferey...") is one of my favourite "reveals" in all of cinema. It's beautifully shot, and is charged with genuine emotion.
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Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby The Modernist » 23 Nov 2009, 21:24

I've just finished watching it (I d/loaded it from the link I posted above). It's a film I've seen many times before,but it still retains its power to both shock and entrance.
One of the reasons for this is the images Lynch drenches the screen with, every frame is carefully composed with the precision of a Hopper painting (the interiors of Blue Velvet are clearly influenced by Hopper). You get the sense that these were images Lynch had been waiting a long time to put on screen and that he knew the elemental power they carried.

What he intends with all of this, of course, we can speculate forever. But what makes Lynch interesting for me is that his artistic motivations are by no means straightforward. On the one hand we have the sophisticated and manipulative master of imagery who understands what makes us squirm as he dredges up dreams and nightmares from our collective unconscious. But we also have the guy who seems to have a childlike fascination with good and evil and who seems to long for a world of dependable security which would appear to be rooted in his childhood memories of the 1950's. At first glance these two values would appear to be contradictory, which is why I guess Lynch is sometimes accused of insincerity, of playing with his audience. However I think both sides are valid and even co-dependent and Blue Velvet is the synthesis of this.
What Blue Velvet evokes in me most are those childhood feelings of awe and terror. I vividly remember walking home one night and being awestruck by the expanse of the night sky and feeling something warm and comforting guide me, but at the same time being scared of the mysteries of the night. We bury these feelings, but they never quite leave us and Blue Velvet seems to tap very directly into all of that.
It's no accident that Jeffrey begins his strange journey into the dark side of the adult world when his father falls seriously ill. This is a rites of passage story really, although unlike any other that I've ever seen. And when he comes out the other side it is to re-embrace the earlier security. The closing scenes are parodic yes, but one also senses that Lynch really wants to believe in the happy ever after too. This is why I think that Sandy's wide-eyed speeches on goodness and love have to be regarded as sincerely meant, for all their obvious darkly comic exaggeration.
Not an easy film to write about because for all of its deeply involved sub-texts there is something curiously guileless and non-cerebral about the film, and the more you analyse it the more you obscure its rather pure vision.
It still seems to me one of the great films of our times.

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Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby Goat Boy » 23 Nov 2009, 22:08

Where do you start? There’s so much to discuss with this film but I need to watch it again to refresh myself.

For me the highlight is the whole section from where Jeffrey gets caught at Dorothy’s apartment right until Frank takes the good neighbour out to ‘fuck the country’. There’s just so much going on. Firstly there’s the strong homosexual undercurrent between Frank and Ben (how many times does Frank say ‘fuck’?) that adds a certain frisson to the exchanges. And secondly there is a very real threat of male rape hanging over these scenes and it’s a perfect example of how Lynch can get humour from the darkest places and seemingly non descript things like Jack Nance simply saying “he said ‘what’, Frank!”. Bens miming of In Dreams somehow changes the song forever from a sweet and innocent Roy Orbison ditty into something obsessive and deranged….”in dreams you’re MINE…ALL THE TIME…FOREVER in dreams…”. How the fuck does Lynch do these things?

Daveys point that 'Ok, I geddit, suburbia is weird' is like reducing Citizen Kane into…'Ok, Mr Welles, cheers for the sub Freudian sledge thing…lost childhood…I geddit' because Blue Velvet is so much more than that. The whole darkness underneath the surface thing is just ONE way of looking at the movie. I see it more as a young mans journey into sexual awakening these days.

Luckily enough I was able to see it on the big screen and it's one of the most visually sumptuous films ever made as well.
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Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby Brin » 23 Nov 2009, 22:49

I havent seen it since it was released,but from what I remember, it was a strange ,disturbing and beguilling experience.Hopper was amazing.I must get round to seeing it again.
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Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby The Modernist » 23 Nov 2009, 22:53

Brin wrote:I havent seen it since it was released,but from what I remember, it was a strange ,disturbing and beguilling experience.Hopper was amazing.I must get round to seeing it again.


I've provided a d/load link above.

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Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby Ranking Ted » 23 Nov 2009, 23:06

This was a film I loved when I was 19/20 and very keen on Lynch. Wild At Heart (horribly overblown, by the way) had recently been released and Blue Velvet seemed to be at once hypnotic and terrifying. The Hopper performance seemed to crawl right from a nightmare. Its also very quotable after several Pabst Blue Ribbons.

I have to say, though, hindsight and perhaps me growing up, had led to me being considerably less impressed by Lynch's outre clash of shock and tweeness. It does seem, extremity of the (self-conscious) weirdness masks a very simple conceit, summed up by Davey. He returns to this theme of festering evil underneath Rockwell-esque suburbia often and it's a rather adolescent schtick. I would also say that the performances of Dern and MacLachlan are, on repeated viewing, very clanky although again I would expect the over-sincerity of their delivery is again a Lynch ploy, inferring and critiquing the blandness of the characters.

We've talked a lot about the Doors being a band that seem impressively dark and poetic when you're young but appear risible in later life (although I don't necessarily hold sway with that view). Lynch, and his signature work Blue Velvet, appear to tread a similar fine line.

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Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby The Modernist » 23 Nov 2009, 23:17

Rank Bajin wrote:This was a film I loved when I was 19/20 and very keen on Lynch. Wild At Heart (horribly overblown, by the way) had recently been released and Blue Velvet seemed to be at once hypnotic and terrifying. The Hopper performance seemed to crawl right from a nightmare. Its also very quotable after several Pabst Blue Ribbons.

I have to say, though, hindsight and perhaps me growing up, had led to me being considerably less impressed by Lynch's outre clash of shock and tweeness. It does seem, extremity of the (self-conscious) weirdness masks a very simple conceit, summed up by Davey. He returns to this theme of festering evil underneath Rockwell-esque suburbia often and it's a rather adolescent schtick. I would also say that the performances of Dern and MacLachlan are, on repeated viewing, very clanky although again I would expect the over-sincerity of their delivery is again a Lynch ploy, inferring and critiquing the blandness of the characters.

We've talked a lot about the Doors being a band that seem impressively dark and poetic when you're young but appear risible in later life (although I don't necessarily hold sway with that view). Lynch, and his signature work Blue Velvet, appear to tread a similar fine line.


Isn't it more about trying to find the dark impulses and fears that lay within us rather than the more facile 'suburbia's a bit weird' that it's being accused of peddling. I would also say the whole of the construction of Blue Velvet has an originality and unexpectedness that is rather the opposite of obviousness, that seems to be the last thing the film is guilty of.
I have to say rewatching tonight I was very impressed by MacLachlan. Portraying cleancut normality with hint of strangeness is quite a hard one to pull off, he does this very well. Had his career gone differently he might have been the new Jimmy Stewart. Dern does well with a part that is deliberately one-dimensional.

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Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby Goat Boy » 23 Nov 2009, 23:24

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

ONE of things Blue Velvet is about is the darkness and capacity for violence as a means to control that exists within ALL of us.
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Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby Sneelock » 23 Nov 2009, 23:27

Dr Modernist wrote: Dern does well with a part that is deliberately one-dimensional.


Lynch really gets something out of that girl, doesn't he? she seems like a different actress in his movies. I think maybe only in "citizen ruth" and "recount" does her talent impress me on the same level as her work with Lynch.

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Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby Sneelock » 23 Nov 2009, 23:32

it's easy to think of Lynch in purely visual terms but his films have some tremendous and dynamic performances in them. Hopper has done what he calls his "nut job" in movies many times. when has it ever been as electric and disturbing?

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Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby The Modernist » 24 Nov 2009, 00:04

sneelock wrote:it's easy to think of Lynch in purely visual terms but his films have some tremendous and dynamic performances in them. Hopper has done what he calls his "nut job" in movies many times. when has it ever been as electric and disturbing?


Frank is so disturbing because his psychotic behaviour is emphatically linked to sexual neurosis.
You feel Frank went through the same rites of passage I and Goat Boy referred to earlier but went off the rails somewhere and didn't develop a mature sexual identity. For all his continual talk of fucking the closest we see him get to it is the grotesque simulation of a macho, brutal fucking that he performs on Dorthy with his trousers still on.

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Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby jimboo » 24 Nov 2009, 11:33

Dr Modernist wrote:
sneelock wrote:it's easy to think of Lynch in purely visual terms but his films have some tremendous and dynamic performances in them. Hopper has done what he calls his "nut job" in movies many times. when has it ever been as electric and disturbing?


Frank is so disturbing because his psychotic behaviour is emphatically linked to sexual neurosis.
You feel Frank went through the same rites of passage I and Goat Boy referred to earlier but went off the rails somewhere and didn't develop a mature sexual identity. For all his continual talk of fucking the closest we see him get to it is the grotesque simulation of a macho, brutal fucking that he performs on Dorthy with his trousers still on.



Oh dear sweet Frank. He is one scary fucker isn't he? Am i wrong in thinking that it was originally intended that every time Frank took a hit from his little tank,he would have a voice like Donald Duck? That would have been scary as hell (no i don't know why).

Hopper was born to play Frank and he plays it a little too uncomfortably easy at times. Dean Stockwell plays his part very well (in many ways he is a lot more menacing than Frank).
One thing that i was reminded of after watching the movie was this observation from time out magazine " The seamless blending of beauty and horror is remarkable - although many will be profoundly disturbed by Lynch's vision of male-female relationships, centred as it is on Dorothy's psychopathic hunger for violence " I never really thought that was the case, views?

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Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby The Modernist » 24 Nov 2009, 16:03

jimboo wrote:
Oh dear sweet Frank. He is one scary fucker isn't he? Am i wrong in thinking that it was originally intended that every time Frank took a hit from his little tank,he would have a voice like Donald Duck? That would have been scary as hell (no i don't know why)..


Indeed, Lynch originally intended it to be helium which would certainly have been bizarre. Hopper, with his rather encyclopedic knowledge of drugs, suggested Nitrus Oxide instead as something Frank would be more likely to do to get high.

jimboo wrote: One thing that i was reminded of after watching the movie was this observation from time out magazine " The seamless blending of beauty and horror is remarkable - although many will be profoundly disturbed by Lynch's vision of male-female relationships, centred as it is on Dorothy's psychopathic hunger for violence " I never really thought that was the case, views?

.


No I wouldn't really agree with that either. i think Dorothy's character is the most mysterious character of the lot, and we don't always get a clear idea of her motivations. She is partly seen as a femme fatale, all those close ups of her beckoning lips. But largely the film portrays her as a victim.
One senses that she has been warped by the trauma of her brutal relationship with Frank, in that sense asking Jeffrey to hit her is less an expression of a masochistic sexual identity, "psychopathic" or otherwise, and more to do with the way she has been brutally conditioned by Frank. But this is my interpretation to a certain degree, as the film is deliberately vague on this. Certainly the last scene of her playing with her son presents her as a normal mother, very different from her vampish image throughout the film. This suggests she has managed to return to the normal, everyday world.

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Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby The Write Profile » 25 Nov 2009, 06:44

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


True, but I've always been more drawn to the line "Why are there people like Frank? Why is there so much trouble in the world?". Again, it taps into the childlike curiousity and fear that seems paramount to the film's success.

As Modernist says, one of the best things about the film is that, on some level, it doesn't even believe there's a dark underbelly of suburbia, they're all part of the same body- if anything it ties in with Lynch's ongoing obsession with dopplegangers and dreams, made more explicit in Mulholland Dr., of course. In a strange way, I think he's basically sincere in his wonderment at the "mysteries of love". It's there in the opening with the glacial camerawork and the brilliantly bright colours and the picket fences and the festering bugs and the sudden heart-attack. It's prepared to take it all onboard, unlike what came afterwards (.e.g American Beauty) which often merely pushes slightly either way.
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Re: FILM CLUB: Blue Velvet

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 25 Nov 2009, 10:27

Goat Boy wrote:Daveys point that 'Ok, I geddit, suburbia is weird' is like reducing Citizen Kane into…'Ok, Mr Welles, cheers for the sub Freudian sledge thing…lost childhood…I geddit' because Blue Velvet is so much more than that. The whole darkness underneath the surface thing is just ONE way of looking at the movie.


In the spirit of film club i watched it again tonight. Sadly my opinion of the film did not rise - even with the benefit of so many well intentioned posts here. If anything, I found myself disliking the film even more than I recalled. I could go into great detail as to why I dislike it, but I don't really want to make my lack of interest in it the subject of this discussion when clearly the rest of you have more interesting places to take this conversation.

That said - I think the above comparison is silly. Surely you can make your points without engaging in that kind of dishonest rhetoric.
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