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Fantasmatic Splittings and Destructive Desires: Lynch's Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire

Schaffner, Anna Katharina (2009) Fantasmatic Splittings and Destructive Desires: Lynch's Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire. Forum for Modern Language Studies, 45 (3). pp. 270-291. ISSN 0015-8518. (doi:10.1093/fmls/cqp105) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/fmls/cqp105

Abstract

Obsessive-destructive desire, fantasmatic projections and paranoid-schizoid splittings of the female love-object into virgin/whore, ideal/nightmare pairs are central thematic concerns in Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire. However, Lynch not only orchestrates but in fact deconstructs these clichéd binary representations of women on the levels of content, form and narrative, and through his hyperbolic-ironic use of mise-en-scène as a tool for working against the narrative propositions of his images. While both Fred Madison in Lost Highway and Diane Selwyn in Mulholland Drive fail to obliterate their obsessions because they remain caught in a network of false fantasmatic conceptions, Nikki Grace in Inland Empire is able to liberate herself from the dark male forces who exercise power over her. Nikki thus also frees herself from the curse of binary male projections: in the beginning she is the embodiment of the ideal, the glorious movie star, while Sue Blue (her film-within-the-film character) is the ultimate incarnation of the male nightmare – the castrating, violent and abused white trash female. Nikki transcends both categories, she undoes the false split; in the end she is neither one nor the other but simply herself. Inland Empire is thus Lynch's most explicitly feminist movie in this trilogy on the fatal dynamics of binary thinking.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1093/fmls/cqp105
Uncontrolled keywords: Lynch, David; Lost Highway; Mulholland Drive; Inland Empire; psychoanalysis; feminism; irony; deconstruction; woman/women; representation; postmodernism; splitting; fantasy; acting; actress; desire
Subjects: P Language and Literature
P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages (inc film, TV and radio studies)
P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages (inc film, TV and radio studies) > PB2994 Film Studies
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages
Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > Comparative Literature
Depositing User: Anna Katharina Schaffner
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2013 19:09 UTC
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2019 10:36 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/36601 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Schaffner, Anna Katharina: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7097-2145
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