By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
How did you come to start shooting with the DV camera?
Through the Web site. It’s a digital camera. The Web site is digital. So, I got this camera for the short things for the site — I call them experiments. I started shooting those things and I started falling in love with this medium, for lots and lots of reasons.
Forty-minute takes. Lightweight camera. Automatic focus. Smaller crew. Sees in the dark. It enables a person to be more hands-on. There’s no trip to the lab. There’s no waiting for dailies. I think we all know it’s the future, and it doesn’t mean that we don’t love the beautiful quality of film. It happened already in the field of sound: Tape is gone and everything is digital, and the tools that you have for sound are incredible. You know, ProTools is like a dream, and digital editing is a dream. All of those things are getting better and better, and the quality of the DV is getting better and better.
When I asked what you love about the medium, I was thinking specifically about the quality of the image. Whereas a lot of filmmakers who are shooting digitally are working with the highest-end HD cameras and trying to make digital look as much like film as possible, inInland Empireyou embrace digital precisely for all of its blurry, grainy, non-analog aesthetics.
I like the quality of this. It starts low res — a Sony PD150 — but then it’s up-resed, and this up-resing does a whole thing to it. Then it goes over to film to be projected in the theaters and that adds something to it. The quality, though not film quality, is a quality that I love. So, I was a happy camper.
Something that I thought of frequently while watching the movie is that David Lynch must love actors.
What you’re saying is true: I love actors. But the idea is different than that. It’s not like since I love actors, I’m going to do a film about actors. It’s that a scene comes and there’s an actor, there’s an actress, there’s a director — it’s a thing. It’s the idea, and that’s what drives the boat.
I guess what I’m saying is that so many of your films touch on the idea of transformation, and actors transform themselves in a powerful way, and maybe people who aren’t actors can’t fully appreciate the emotional and psychological process that goes into that.
All these things that you’re saying are so interesting, and they’re absolutely true, and they are things that happen. But it’s not how it comes to me in the beginning. You could say these things afterward. How it comes when it’s all together is Inland Empire. A lot of times, if there’s a theme in a movie, I won’t have a clue as to what the theme is until the end, and then these things start revealing themselves. But in the beginning, it’s . . . who knows what it is? Some people have a theme they want to explore and they write a thing around that, and that’s the opposite of what happens to me.
It’s like putting the cart before the horse.
I was going to use that analogy.
In most movies, there are fairly absolute distinctions made between reality and fantasy, and if somebody starts to dream, we know it’s a dream, and when they wake up, we know they’ve woken up. But those boundaries don’t seem to exist in your work.
You know, we look at human beings, and we see the surface of them — one is a little different from another. We hear their voices. But we know there’s an interior going on there — huge, you know, things, and maybe they’re more abstract and they’re hiding, but cinema can go in there and explore that. Cinema can have a surface and then it can start drifting into abstractions because it’s such a beautiful language. It doesn’t rely 100 percent on words. It’s its own thing and it can show abstractions in various ways.
But some audiences rebel against this. If you showed someone this lamp, for example, they wouldn’t necessarily expect to know everything about the origin of the lamp and the meaning of the lamp, just as they wouldn’t expect to fully understand a Picasso hanging on the wall of a museum. But when some of those same people watch a movie, there seems to be this expectation that everything should make “sense.” And they can get angry if it doesn’t.
Well, chances are that the person who sees the movie and says, “I didn’t like it because I didn’t understand it” is the same person who would just walk past a Picasso, because we’re all different kinds of people and some people don’t like abstractions. Some people really like to know what everything is. I don’t know how they go through life, because life has so many things that are abstract, but they do, and they just like to know— they’ve got that kind of mind, or being. Other people love going into a world and having an experience, more than an intellectual understanding, and a knowing that comes from intuition. Everybody has these experiences, but when they come into a film, some people appreciate them and some people don’t. It’s just the way it is.