Europa Cinema > 15:30


David Lynch


Tuesday 28/06/2022


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

The prequel Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is great. Justified by moving Laura Palmer’s deranged father into a central role, the tone is biblical, pungent, with a grip on the essentials, offering an anthology in which one character after another is contested, found wanting, errant, lost…
Laura is now in closeup, an ordinary girl who chooses perversions, madness, drugs. The tale is non-melodramatic. Fire Walk With Me belongs to its very own species, as indisputably unique as Eraserhead. The subversive is in the ordinary. The focus is on simple objects. Hyperrealism of the trivial: upholding such a basic vision – what skill! Hitchcock is one of the very few on the same wavelength. A home like in Bigger Than Life. Genre paintings, angelic paintings live their own strange, selfish, miraculous lives.
As a soap opera, Fire Walk With Me is not very successful, but it springs from a magnified emphasis on the passage of time – coming closer to Laura’s murder as if it were the beginning of modern era, or the Christian era. The culmination opens up everything, but this time the images are touching, because we know the background. We distance ourselves from the image of a boring schoolgirl willing to try anything to escape apathy. From the high-school-confidential genre we slide deeper into a multilayered reflection, starting from the opening image of television static looking like a rainswept windshield.
The secret of Laura’s promiscuity, her becoming unrecognisable. Laura’s horror – her suspicions about her father, repeated after the one-armed man attacks his own daughter – who is in disguise – unknowingly. Dad is still sentimental, holding back tears. He has a dual personality as Bob. Bob is real, and the evidence is in the torn pages of Laura’s diary – the testimony of abuse, “having me since I was 12…” This angle on the family is new. At Laura’s wake, there is a sense that incest is the foundation of the social order. From this stems the push towards death as in a drug delirium.
The ‘FBI vs the locals’ set-up is repeated at the beginning in a comical approach of so-called ‘civilization’ contrasted with ‘hick’ life. FBI Agent Cooper and Sheriff Harry S Truman enjoy endless coffee, endless donuts.
Agent Cooper’s premonitions: he foresees Laura’s story – the inevitable. As in Simenon, it is the result of the milieu, its ‘culture’, its perverted pressures. In a way he develops a relationship with Laura, although they never met. This is no ordinary detective story. The strategy is deeper – going inward, beyond.

Rough notes edited and translated from the unpublished posthumous manuscripts of Peter von Bagh (1943-2014) by Antti Alanen

Cast and Credits

Scen.: David Lynch, Robert Engels. F.: Ron Garcia. M.: Mary Sweeney. Scgf.: Patricia Norris. Mus.: Angelo Badalamenti. Int.: Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer), Ray Wise (Leland Palmer), Madchen Amick (Shelly Johnson), Dana Ashbrook (Bobby Briggs), Phoebe Augustine (Rosette Pulaski), David Bowie (Phillip Jeffries), Eric DaRe (Leo Johnson), Miguel Ferrer (Albert Rosenfeld), Pamela Gidley (Teresa Banks), Heather Graham (Annie Blackburn). Prod.: Gregg Fienberg, John Wentworth per Ciby Pictures. DCP. D.: 135’. Col.