AnotherBlueRoseCase wrote:By almost any standard measure most of The Return has failed artistically.
It's probably inadvisable for me to respond to this statement, but I'm genuinely curious about what you consider to be "standard measure(s)" of assessing artistic success/failure. Unless I'm misinterpreting, you do not seem to be speaking of your own subjective reaction (which: different strokes for different folks and all that), but rather you seem to be implying something more objective.
I can think of several measures by which TPTR, so far, would be considered a resounding artistic success (critical and general fan consensus, the ability to create "buzz," inspiring other artists, how it makes my guts flutter and zing) but I am also totally willing to admit that they may be measures you would consider non-standard.
It's also odd to me that you follow this statement by comparing The Return to the work of some of the greatest artists of the 20th Century. I suppose the comparison could be meant to imply that Lynch has only attempted
something these great artists have succeeded at. Or would you contend that Joyce and Calvino and Kaufman and Beckett are also artistic failures, by almost any standard measure?
Man, I can see how most of that might sound really snarky. I genuinely don't mean it that way (I find snark dull and counterproductive in nearly any context). I find your post fascinating in its apparent contradictions!
AnotherBlueRoseCase wrote:It is really anti-narrative, in the sense we’ve had the anti-novels of Calvino and Joyce, the anti-comedy of Andy Kaufman and Jerry Sadowitz, and so on.
This is what really prompted me to respond to this post. It's an interesting thought, and there is some textual evidence that Lynch is at least partially taking an anti-narrative approach (the glass box can be read as a TV and the creature murderously breaking out of it and attacking the "viewers" as a commentary on how we as viewers of The Return will not come out of this project unmutilated; ??????? breaking the 4th wall to seemingly appraise us as viewers before going on to essentially appraise the film itself--these are two examples that jump immediately to mind), but I don't think Lynch is interested in Brechtian methods that keep the audience from investing emotionally. It's not his style at all. He's all about immersion, and I do not think TPTR is an exception.
It's actually not new for Lynch to try and have his cake and eat it too in this way. From his very earliest experiments, he has always been interested in simultaneously revealing the seams, even reveling
in the artifice of his creations, and encouraging total immersion--getting "lost inside a dream," as he likes to put it. I think it's because, for Lynch, reveling in the tools of art-making is not in any way contradictory to being consumed by the art. The making of the thing (or, for the viewer, being invited into becoming almost a post-facto participant the making of the thing) is a huge part of the joy of art for him. To be reminded of artifice, in this context, is not to be made self-aware and distant from the art. It's part
of the immersion!
This isn't a totally unheard-of approach in the world of filmmaking, but it is extremely unusual in the world of narrative
filmmaking and possibly unprecedented in the world of narrative filmmaking at this scale/budget/audience size.
It's a big part of the magic, though. It's not so much anti-narrative and narrative-plus. At least from Lynch's point of view.
It works for me like gangbusters!
I like your Beckett comparison. I think Beckett worked similarly in a lot of ways.