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The Color Green in Lynch's Work

Posted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 10:37 am
by tmurry
Cross posted on Reddit.

I have found green the slipperiest color in Lynch's symbolic system. The woods are green, of course, a deep dark green, but the primary uses are a more "processed" green: the nauseous green of the walls in Inland Empire, Diane Selwyn's blanket and other ill interiors, the formica table (of a similar color to the "laminated" Lynch Lime Green DVD set), and the ring.

The word I've always used to cover this is "nature" in some form. The trees are the dark green of the mysterious natural world, the sick colors a kind of tainted indoor human nature. The formica table is itself natural processed materials mixed with plastic unnatural materials to form a substance where man has created a thing from nature witch is unnatural but appears natural (somewhat). This is the state of man, the world we come from, that nature of society/the mind that develops in that setting. The ring, cut from that cloth (literally... formica is made by processing cloth and paper), is that nature refined and cut into crystallized perfection leaving a space through witch another world can be reached for.

This skirts into broader territory of what the ring and convenience store mean so I'll leave that for now. But that variation - verdant deep, dark nature to degraded human nature and how septic it looks (the color I think he goes for in those interiors is phlegm from someone with pneumonia) to the processed nature of the societal world to the crystalized mastery over nature (in all it's danger) seems like the only way I've ever made that color work.
I feel like the following Lynch quote is like a biblical passage for Lynch's color scheme - there is more to it but "beliefs" kind of have to be reconciled with it as a kind of foundational text:

"My boyhood was 'See Spot Run. Elegant old homes, tree-lined streets, the milkman, building backyard forts, droning airplanes, blue skies, picket fences, green grass. cherry trees. It was a dream world -- Middle America as it's supposed to be. But on the cherry tree, there's this pitch oozing out-some black some yellow, and millions of red ants crawling all over. I discovered that if one looks a little closer at this beautiful world, there's always red ants underneath."
In. this, green is the natural world of life seemingly domesticated (another version of this quote used the word "manicured" to refer to the lawns) but obscuring deeper ugly truths.

I honestly want feedback... I'm sure someone out there has a very different idea about this and I'd love to hear it. I have other intuitions about green being related to surfaces that hide (the ring is the only green thing that you can see into, which is the point of the ring - seeing past the surface world) but the tint of which indications something of the mechanism of the obscuration (is it a mystery of existence or the suppression inherent to civilization). But I'm waiting for the "you forgot about X so what about Y" that would make me so happy and make things come together better.

Re: The Color Green in Lynch's Work

Posted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 11:19 am
by Soolsma
Don't forget IE's ''It was the man in the green suit''

jacketcorner.jpg (14.22 KiB) Viewed 7340 times

Looking through Lynch's paintings you'll find very little green btw.

Re: The Color Green in Lynch's Work

Posted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 6:58 pm
by Saturn's child
At least in IE, where Lynch seemed to use colour in a classic (albeit unique) way, I find green seems to grant the ability to travel between places/dimensions. The man in the green coat can travel between the different realities while circling his prey, & the gun 'appears' on top of green fabric in the drawer. When Laura Dern's character chases the Phantom down, she circles around behind him in a series of green rooms & corridors.
I haven't really gone through IE specifically 'testing' this theory, but I feel no desire to dogmatise it, so I just let the thought play around in there.

I think green as 'nature' also plays into this, & too its long association with bad luck & the supernatural (fay-folk & wood spirits, etc).

To an extent, I feel the 'inter-dimensional' reading applies to Twin Peaks; the green woods & the strangeness there (not to mention they conceal an interdimensional portal -- Glastonbury Grove). The green formica serves as a garmonbozia conduit; pain & suffering travels through dimensions into the lodge (while LMFAP lays claim to the goods; everything on this table is 'For Mike-a').

I didn't think of Diane Selwyn's blanket, but damn, that kinda works as well, haha.

Re: The Color Green in Lynch's Work

Posted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:07 am
by tmurry
Got moved to the slums ;-)

Re: The Color Green in Lynch's Work

Posted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:40 am
by Saturn's child
tmurry wrote:Got moved to the slums ;-)

I always preferred slummin' it anyway. :mrgreen:

Re: The Color Green in Lynch's Work

Posted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:25 pm
by Dalai Cooper
Fwiw the straight story is lynch's greenest film by a mile - it's all over almost every shot.

Re: The Color Green in Lynch's Work

Posted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:34 am
by tmurry
Thanks for the replies. Rewatched the pilot for TP yesterday, and noticed the green desktop and railings at the mill, and caught the bold red of the Briggs cabinets, but was surprised at how much yellow and light blue there was. They are probably the dominant indoor colors, with goldenrod especially being everywhere (the lockers, Catherine's scarf, numerous carpets - the color of Tony from west side story's blazer).

Can't believe I forgot the man in the Green jacket (I'm more of an IE head than a Peaker so, duh). It all continues the same theme - nature processed to form a "surface." The man in the green jacket is the mirror split necessitated by the man having to leave the domestic unit and present to the world a facade. (and thus evil was born). Ties into the themes and symbols of industrialization and "society" providing bounty but distorting/ruining our better natures.