Monday, December 27, 2010

The Full Blossom of the Evening: Some Thoughts on Twin Peaks

Please note that although this blog entry discusses a lot about Twin Peaks there are no actual plot spoilers if you haven't seen the series and wish to do so. Feel free to keep reading.

I noticed today that David Lynch's Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me has made its way to Blu-Ray. That's great news in one respect for fans of the series and the film, but it's disappointing to note that this release still doesn't include the two hours of deleted scenes that David Lynch excised from the finished product. I know the history of why we've never seen them - legal wranglings between the European production company and New Line Cinema - but it's still a damn shame!

Nevertheless, seeing the Blu-Ray release reminded me that I had never spoken about "Laurathon", an event held in November at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) here in Melbourne. I love living in Melbourne, have I mentioned that before? Yeah, I do, because of events like this! 9 and a half hours of Twin Peaks goodness on the big screen in a room lined with red curtains and a seemingly endless supply of donuts at our disposal. It began with the pilot episode, which is - in my humble opinion - the greatest episode of television ever crafted. So, really, not that big of a deal. Alongside that episode they screened episode 7 ("Realization Time"), episode 14 ("Demons" where Laura's killer was reveals), episode 30 ("Beyond Life and Death", the series finale) as well as the movie prequel, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me.

That pilot... will it ever be topped? Who knows what television has in store for us, but it's just a slice of perfection, that pilot, isn't it? So many memorable moments that are forever branded upon my brain. If I had to choose but just two - my two favourites - I would have to go with Ronette Pulaski's walk across the train tracks since the imagery is so frightening with those "twin peaks" in the background and the tattered dress that'll make you really question where the series is going. Secondly, I'd choose the school sequence towards the beginning, starting with Audrey's smoke in the locker, her flitter of fingers in home room, the screaming girl across the school yard and that eerie tracking shot down the corridor towards Laura's homecoming photo in the displace case. The entire scene really captures that feeling of other-worldliness... I can recognise it as the real world, but there's a quality there that just feels slightly alien. The characters act just slightly off, don't they? Twin Peaks was always the best with it straddled that line delicately. Both are viewable below.

Episode 14 is - here we go again - probably the second greatest episode of television that I can recall. In fact, just the other day I was at my mother's house and turned on the Foxtel and what should be on? Episode 14 of Twin Peaks! Needless to say I rewatched it even though I've seen it many times, including as recently as a month earlier. Such powerful stuff, and yet, in everything that happens in that episode, you know my absolute favourite moment? Favourite of moments above all?

"I want you /
Rockin' back inside my heart"

There's something about that moment that speaks to the innocence and the childhood that these characters (Donna and James) have lost, and that Laura had lost long ago. It's a moment is minute beauty surrounded by so much doom and gloom. Love.It. Plus, the song is pretty great, too!

The final episode? Yeah. I can't even go there.

Of course, the movie is something else entirely, isn't it? Yowza! I'd never seen it on the big screen with a proper sound system, and it's a glorious thing to behold. Admittedly, I am a huge fan of the film - I'd rank it somewhere behind Mulholland Drive as my favourite David Lynch movie - unlike some people, but to see it projected onto the big screen is an experience to treasure. Lynch knows how to work sound and he certainly turns the volume up to 11 here.

The final 30 minutes are, of course, some of the toughest cinema you'll ever see. Fire Walk with Me is rated R18+ for a reason (equivalent to America's NC17 if you'd like). The culmination of two series worth of mystery, intrigue and wonder combined with the film's near-apocalyptic sense of menace and dread, all rolled up into a terrifying package. The sort of horror you don't even find in more traditional horror movies. Scarier, too.

And that ending... wow. As much as I would be intrigued to see where Lynch would go by picking the story up again 25 years later (and it most certainly will remain a rumour, but an interesting one nonetheless with Laura's "you will see me again in 25 years" comment don't you think?), I think the final few minutes of Fire Walk with Me (below) are the perfect coda to the entire Twin Peaks saga. If you watched everything in a through line - pilot episode through to Fire Walk with Me, despite their flip-flop narrative - then I can't imagine a more apt ending. Laura and Dale, the two driving forces of the show, together in the black lodge as Angelo Badalementi's haunting synth score floats overhead, an angel appearing as if by pure virtue of David Lynch's oddity and then.... the laugh. It's just perfect. I know I'm typing similar things a lot in this entry, but it's one of my all time favourite endings.

Speaking of Twin Peaks - obviously - I recently did a piece for Trespass Mag that looked at the fates of the actors and their subsequent careers after the untimely demise - or was it perfectly timed? - of the series. Whilst I was at Laurathon I gave a little bit of a vox pop soundbite to the Boxcutters crew (Australia's best - only? - TV-themed podcast, run by exceptional people I'm glad I know in real life) and you can listen to it here.


Sean M Whelan said...

As one who was there, it's wonderful to be reminded again of what an amazing event it was.
Thanks Glenn.
ps Can't speak too much of it yet because it's still being organised but I'm currently involved with some of my peeps in putting on another David Lynch themed evening of entertainment sometime in 2011. It's going to be a corker. Will keep you informed!

Anonymous said...

Ugh, just do a Scream 2 update already :( You don't understand how much I'm holding-out for this!

Glenn Dunks said...

Sean, officially excited!

Anon, gah! I know. It'll start flowing again soon, I promise.

Coreen H said...

Hi Glenn - I was at ACMI's Laurathon too! So fun. Dare I say that 9 hours was not enough... ;P