Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Films of David Lynch: Ballerina/More Things That Happened (2007)

Ballerina (2007)
Directed by: David Lynch.

More Things That Happened (2007)
Directed by: David Lynch.
Written by: David Lynch.
Starring: Karolina Gruszka (Lost Girl), Peter J. Lucas (Piotrek Król), William Maier (Karolina's Friend), Krzysztof Majchrzak (Phantom), Laura Dern (Susan Blue), Nastassja Kinski (The Lady).

There are some interesting special features on the Inland Empire DVD for fans of Lynch, and the film itself. Among them is a 20 minute short entitled Quinoa, where Lynch, yes, makes Quinoa – and while it’s not as fascinating as watching him make a lamp (in the previous covered short Lamp) – it’s something. But the only two features on the DVD that show up in the official filmographies for Lynch as director on Wikipedia and/or IMDB are Ballerina and More Things That Happened – so those are what I’ll covered here, if rather briefly.

Ballerina is, appropriately enough, about a Ballerina. Essentially, it is a six minute short of a ballerina – shot mostly in blurry soft focus, dancing. She is dressed in red, and there is a blank background all around her, as she performs a dance that is beautiful. What makes the short more than a little creepy as well though is the music – which sounds like something Angelo Badalamenti would write, but may well not be. While more beautiful music may well have made the short more soothing, the choice of this music – as well as the choice to have darkness start encroaching on the dancer more and more as the film progresses, makes the whole thing a little disturbing. There isn’t much else to say about the short – as there isn’t much else to it – but it is a good looking short.

As you may have guesses from the title More Things That Happened, this is basically just a series of extended or deleted scenes from Inland Empire – that runs for 75 minutes. But it isn’t presented like most deleted scenes are – they aren’t available individually, but only as part of the whole thing, and contain no introductions from Lynch about where they fit into Inland Empire, or why they were cut, or anything else.

What I cannot figure out, is whether Lynch means this to be a standalone film – and that’s why he presents them that way – or whether we’re supposed to see these just as deleted scenes. I deliberately let a few days go by between my watching of Inland Empire and this, to see if some sort of structure beyond Inland Empire emerges when watched in isolation. It does not – but that doesn’t mean it still isn’t intended that way, just that if it was the intention, I cannot figure it out.

Yet, I enjoyed More Things That Happened regardless of what it is – primarily it allows extended access to some great Laura Dern scenes – like her further confessions to the sweating man in glasses, which takes up a very large chunk of the back half of More Things That Happened – and unlike in Inland Empire, it doesn’t cut away after a minute or two, to return later. It runs and runs – and Dern is brilliant. It also provides more insight into the Lost Girl, and more Nastassja Kinski, and that’s never a bad thing.

In the end, both Ballerina and More Things That Happened are basically glorified DVD special features. Yes, they are interesting in context, but by themselves, a little less so. Then again, anyone who’s going to be watching, will know the context, so who the hell cares, right?

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