venerdì 14 febbraio 2020

Ed's Corner: Beyond the image, journey through the hidden meaning of movies - Blue Velvet

L'appuntamento del mercoledì con le dissertazioni in inglese di Edoardo è stato traslato a venerdì per colpa di Harley Quinn ma la settimana prossima conto di farlo tornare al giorno stabilito. Intanto, godetevi l'esaustiva analisi di uno dei miei Lynch preferiti, Velluto blu. Se volete anche la mia opinione la trovate QUA (A proposito, presto tornerà anche l'On Demand, promesso). ENJOY! 

David Lynch had already made three films before this masterpiece came out: Eraserhead, The Elephant Man and Dune, the first two great, the third still a good film but a little less great than the others, also due to some cut imposed by the distribution house.
The word masterpiece has not being used randomly here, this is a perfect film under every single aspect (direction, screenplay, photography, costumes, acting, soundtrack), a perverse dark thriller under which real weird lurks. Needless to say, if you haven’t seen it yet, stop reading because spoilers are about to come.

The film begins with a happy little song (Blue Velvet) over a succession of peaceful images of Lumberton town: a fence with some roses, a greeting firefighter, some children crossing the street, a man watering his garden.
Here we can feel the grotesque image the director wants to give to the viewer, the one of a “happy and good” place in an imaginary ideal world. From here we can feel something else too, something strange: David Lynch lets a certain anxiety shine from these first frames, using his own personal style, like he’s trying to tell us that what we’ve seen so far is not real, is part of an enchanted world, an imaginary fake world used to hide evil.

And suddenly evil comes: the man watering the garden gets sick and passes out, while the camera frames a group of cockroaches (or ants) underground, intent on eating something. This one is a topic  many times seen in literature and cinematography, and it’s very dear to Lynch: comparing a macrocosm with a microcosm, going over the human little problems and feelings in order to give a better vision of the world.

The man is taken to the hospital and his son Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan) comes back to his hometown to take care of him.
The day following his arrival, once ascertained that his father can’t even get out of his room, the man goes out for a walk. On an abandoned field, he finds a human ear lying on the ground. He stares at it for a little and then takes it over at the local detective John Williams’s house. Here he meets his daughter Sandy (Laura Dern).
The girl tells him about her father’s investigations, lingering on a certain Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini), a woman who works as singer in a local nightclub. So Jeffrey, pushed by the curiosity, goes to her house, pretending to be a disinfestation guy. While he’s pretending to do his job, he steals her apartment key and then sees a strange guy that rings on her door and starts talking to her. He’s wearing a loud yellow jacket.

Here for the first time the viewer can see the development of a typical example of character that marks out David Lynch’s weird filmography, a filmography full of colourful characters, with bizarre behaviours and looks.

The next evening, Jeffrey and Sandy go to the nightclub where Dorothy performs, and they can admire her singing a song: Blue Velvet. At a certain point, in the middle of the show, they leave the club to go to her house. Once at the place only Jeffrey goes inside. Our singer though finishes her show before than usual, and finds the man inside her house, and forces him to play some pervert game under the threat of a knife. In the middle of some oral sex, suddenly Dorothy hears the doorbell ringing. Now the woman completely changes her attitude, and while panicking tells Jeffrey to go hiding inside the wardrobe. When she opens the door, another character makes his appearance on the scene: Frank (Dennis Hopper), a local criminal who first insults her, than wildly abuses and hits the woman. From Frank’s behaviour we can tell that the man is a psychopath, and was probably abused by his mother when he was young (his continuous naming the mother during coitus proves it). When Frank leaves, Jeffrey gets out of the wardrobe and, after trying to console the woman in vain, he leaves the flat too.

The next day the man talks to Sandy about what happened, spending some thoughts on the human nature and on criminals like Frank. The girl tells him of a strange and beautiful dream she had, where there were a lot of robins, that represent a hope for the human kind.
The day after, Jeffrey goes again to the nightclub, where Dorothy is singing the same song, and here he sees Frank in the middle of the crowd. So he starts thinking that there’s something between the two of them: probably the man is blackmailing her, and later in the film we’ll see that it’s true (he kidnapped her husband and son). During the next days Jeffrey starts spying on Frank, and at the same time on the Man in Yellow too, who often meets with a man with a moustache, the Elegant Man, probably his business partner. Now it’s clear that the three of them are partners in crime. In the meantime he starts a sexual and S&M relationship with Dorothy, who also shows some psychopath behaviours. One night, in the middle of a sexual intercourse, they get surprised by Frank and his henchmen, and get forced to go in a car, and taken at Ben’s, an effeminate man with some white makeup on his face.

Here after threatens, bizarre jokes made to scare them and odd singing performances, at a certain point they leave the house. They’re again all inside the car, with Frank that drives like crazy. After a while the man pull over on an abandoned field, takes Jeffrey out of the car, hits him till he passes out and leaves him there. When the man wakes up, still dizzy and confused, he goes back home then heads over to the police station. There he sees the Man in Yellow, and understands that he is a colleague of Sandy’s father: detective Tom Gordon.
So he informs the detective Williams, but this one seems to be already knowing everything, and tells him to stay away from the police investigations.

That same night Jeffrey and Sandy go to a party and confess their love for each other; this will bring to a car chase performed by her fiance and his friends. The fight gets avoided thanks to Dorothy showing in front of Sandy’s house, all naked and covered in wounds.
Watching the woman like that, Jeffrey, fearing the worst, goes to her house, followed by the police and the detective Williams. Once arrived, he finds the corpse of the woman’s husband, and the Man in Yellow in a state of unconsciousness, with a wound on his head. There’s nothing more Jeffrey can do now, so he leaves; but whilst he’s about to leave the house, he sees the Elegant Man (which turns out to be Frank in disguise) running upstairs. Jeffrey starts panicking, takes the Man in Yellow’s radio and screams to the police to hurry up; than hides inside the wardrobe. Despite the bad situation, with a clever trick, he finally kills Frank, shooting him in the head (epic scene).

The next day, the nightmare seems to be over, and we are back to that Eden seen at the beginning of the film: Jeffrey’s father has miraculously healed, Sandy and Jeffrey are happy together, a robin shows up at the window, and Dorothy can finally hug her beloved son again.
But there’s always the other face of the coin: the robin is eating a cockroach, which is wiggling.

That lovely Eden doesn’t exist. The reality is relative, in order to be happy (or to survive) it is necessary the unhappiness of someone else. There can’t be winners without losers.
This critique, the ferocious critique to the ideal society and to the enchanted world, is part of the first reading. An easy reading that most will have noticed.
But there’s also a second reading, a reading that would make ends meet.
First of all Ben, the man with the white face. Doesn’t he remind you of anyone?

We already met... at your house

Or after Ben’s house, during the cutscene when suddenly everyone (magically) disappears, and we see them back in the car, with Frank driving like crazy. The scene with the road, doesn’t it remind you of anything?

Seriously,do I have to tell you what film is this? 

And the scene with Dorothy singing at the club, doesn’t it tell you anything? Stage, melancholic song…
Or those red curtains, don’t they tell you anything?

Who killed Laura Palmer?

No hay banda

And then Jeffrey, doesn’t he look like someone? And what about Sandy?

Great coffee

It's ok sweetheart, you're dying, that's all

And then the song. But not the song you’re thinking of, I’m not talking about Blue Velvet. The real song we must pay attention to is another one, the one that Ben sings at his house, when Frank and his henchmen kidnapped Jeffrey and Sandy: In Dreams.

And last but not least, the dream Sandy talks about, the one with the robins.

And what if it was all part of the same dream, a dream started with Blue Velvet?


Special thanks to Alessandro Cardena and Glenda Fontana for the translation.

Versione italiana:

Nessun commento:

Posta un commento

Se vuoi condividere l'articolo

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...