For those who believe cinema is already dead, questions remain, “is painting dead?” and “are poets dead?” Tricky as these questions can be, no answers could be given without dispute. However, in this short passage, I’d like to hold the belief that cinema cannot be dead with the blessing of its impurity. Moreover, it is only those impure artists who have the absolute purity in mind that can give birth to new generations of cinema.
Is this partly true or just nonsense. Let’s go to Daivd Lynch for explanation. Spending his childhood and teenage time as a painter, David always wants a life career as a painter until the day he sees his paintings get moved by the wind. Thanks to his new obsession for moving image, there comes Six Men Getting Sick (1966), The Alphabet (1968), etc., through which he makes his paintings move and manages to express his dreams in a more free space. It’s seems that David has betrayed pigment for film and becomes impure. However, this is not the end, after shooting in films for decades, David starts to shoot in digital form in Inland Empire (2006). He explains his second betrayal like this: “Working with film is so cumbersome……I’m through with film as a medium. For me, film is dead……I’m shooting in digital video and I love it.” (Lynch, 2006)
Can a man be more loyal? I don’t think so. He keeps betraying to seek loyalty, he uses impurity to pursue purity. The procedure shares similarity with the metabolism system of human cells. Fresh cells have to stand up to replace or renovate the elder ones, so that the body can survive the updated environment. I am quoting Bazin’s view to support my opinion on David Lynch’s purity with his impure cinema: “The truth is there is here no competition or substitution, rather the adding of a new dimension that the arts had gradually lost from the time of the Reformation on: namely a public.” (Bazin, 2005)
Let’s end with an interesting example of Lynch’s impure cinema, Lady Blue Shanghai (2010), which also serves as an ad for Dior.
By Wandi Lou
Bazin. A. (2005). What is Cinema? Volume 1. London: University of California Press.
Lynch. D. (2006). Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness and Creativity. London: Penguin.