The City of Absurdity   INLAND EMPIRE


At the New York Film Festival, a Global Glimpse of the State of the Cinema

By Manohla Dargis, The New York Times, October 5, 2006

Among the must-sees from now until Thursday is David Lynch's sadistic, fitfully brilliant "Inland Empire," a plunge down the rabbit hole of the director's imagination and a spellbinding companion piece to his masterpiece, "Mulholland Drive."

Lynch's latest cinematic head trip is certainly the biggest mindblower. Shot in digital video, though it is being presented in 35-millimeter film, "Inland Empire" is his most experimental feature since "Eraserhead." Lynch is simultaneously looking back at the past (both his and that of Luis Bu˝uel, whose influence looms large here) and to the future. Like Michael Mann, whose recent work explores the new aesthetic possibilities opened up by advanced digital technologies, Lynch isn't trying to imitate the look of celluloid. Rather, he is exploiting the specific visual textures of digital video, creating images as grubby as those from a building surveillance camera and as cruelly hyper-real as a Chuck Close portrait.

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