reflections on the film5/10
Well I've just gotten the FWWM DVD and am finally able to appreciate the film as it was intended to be seen and heard (or at least as close as possible outside of a theatre). It's unbelievable, and after watching it a
few times I was finally able to understand for myself what Lynch was doing here, and he's right; intuition is the key; just pay close attention to what you are seeing and your mind will intuit the rest. In fact, understanding this film was a truly exciting thing for me. What Lynch is actually doing here is thrilling. As much as Lynch would (and myself as well, but...) hate to hear someone give what they consider a definitive explanation for the film, I thought I would give some ideas about some of the most interesting moments. Any interpretation is viable, of course, but this is how I look at it.
First, the prologue: To understand the prologue one must understand something about the nature of the evil in this film. I see the denizens of the Black Lodge as the physical embodiment of the subconscious. That's what the Red Room is to me, the deepest levels of the subconscious, where there is an understanding going on that rational thought won't allow. For example, Laura doesn't want to think that Bob is really her father, but deep down she knows (or comes to know in the film). But Bob is really just the evil that men do, the darkest side of humanity, and he can be inside of anybody. Since Bob is just a personification of this idea and doesn't literally exist, he really can't be caught, because eradicating Bob (and the other members of the Black Lodge) would be eradicating all the pain and suffering in this world, and that will never happen.
In the prologue, Chet Desmond and Sam Stanley come across perhaps the most unhelpful town on the planet. Much has been made of how this place is purposefully the opposite of Twin Peaks, but I don't think that's the point. The unhelpfulness is the result of the town knowing that no matter how many FBI agents are brought in, you can't get rid of what killed Theresa Banks; you can't get rid of violence. They treat the two with disdain because they realize the fruitlessness of their search. Lynch emphasizes the strict use of code (Lil) and constantly has characters asking what time it is to give an air of precision, but nothing gets accomplished. The electricity reference is simply marking the presence of something bad in the area. So, a lot of investigation occurs with nothing being accomplished. Theresa Banks is dead and will remain so.
Perhaps the most obscure point in the film is the sequence with David Bowie. To make this short, Cooper's image freezes in the security camera because the members of the Black Lodge have stopped time for a second, also apparently causing a rip in whatever fabric divides this world and the Lodge. This allows Jeffries to breifly crossover, apparently while the members of the Lodge are having a meeting. This bizarre meeting with the grandson, Bob, etc. is happening at the same time Jeffries appears in FBI headquarters. He says it in voiceover: "I've been to one of their meetings". The meeting is to choose another victim. The Man from Another Place is telling Bob to get more Garmonbozia (pain and suffering, which takes the form of creamed corn) for him. "With this ring, I thee wed", he says, talking about Laura. "Fell a victim", says the grandson, also talking about her. The man in the chair with the beard makes a bizarre hand motion, as if saying "and so it shall be done". Bob and The Man from Another Place are shown walking through the Red Room, on their way out after the meeting, to go get Laura. The meeting over, the rip closes, and Jeffries goes back to the Lodge. Keep in mind however that none of this is really literal, although you have to talk about it that way in the context of the scene. It's the film's way of saying that something bad is happening again, someone else is going to be the victim of violence. The monkey underneath the mask is sort of like a fetus, or like a birth. They've given birth to this evil which will grow and grow and grow until Laura is murdered, and the garmonbozia is given to The Man from Another Place. After this, the murderous thirst is quenched, and the monkey reappears, indicating that things are once again calm but will once again grow (this happens at the end of the film). And of course in the series, Madeline dies.
Some quicker explanations: Laura talking to Harold, saying "Fire Walk with Me, ME!!" is her talking about her temptation to degrade herself. "He says he wants to be me or he'll kill me". This is Lynch telling us in an incredibly unique way that the abuse she's had from her father is turning into self abuse.
The old lady and the grandson are like the gatekeepers of the Black Lodge, allowing one to enter and exit. In the literal world, they are Laura's very first inclinations that Bob may be her father. The picture is just saying that she needs to go into her subconscious to find the answer, which she does that night. "Don't take the ring", says Cooper (meaning don't be another victim; do something about your situation). After Annie appears, Laura walks toward her door. On the soundtrack you can hear her mom calling Laura, which references the morning after she was murdered and her mom couldn't find her. She looks out at the stairs; in about two days, her mom will come up these stairs to find Luara missing. She is also in the picture looking out the door, meaning she has exited the Black Lodge, or her deepest subconscious, and is back in the rational world, almost. This is her first realization that things might get really bad soon.
Anyway, just some observations, but I'm probably running out of words, so I'll stop now.