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violence against women in 'The Return'  

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(@badalamenti-fan)
Roadhouse Regular
Posted by: Badalamenti Fan
Posted by: Randy Bowser
Posted by: groovy-llama-fan

My problem with Lynch is sexploitation more than violence in regard to women...

It's an interesting post, groovy-llama-fan. I think you made your point pretty clearly.

I have a twofold response:

1)--I think Lynch is almost constantly making reference to conventional film and TV in his work. In the original TP, for instance, the general style and mood was a satirical send up of soap operas. The melodrama may have been gripping at times, but it was consciously over-the-top melodrama which made the undertone of satire always clear. Similarly, The story outline for Blue Velvet was a send-up of traditional murder mysteries. It's rare for me to notice a scene in anything Lynch has done which doesn't have his unique, quirky, dark sense of humor in it, and much of the humor is in the way he constantly is referring to established conventions in films.

--In the ep. 1 scene you're referring to with the young couple starting to have sex in the glass box room, I immediately had the impression that one of the layers in the scene's content was that the female's body had focus because that's the way it most often is in conventional entertainment. To me, it was if Lynch was saying, "Now I'm showing a scene which has a mixture of suspense, sex, and finally violence, and of course as in most movies dealing with those elements, I'm exploiting the girl's body more than the boy's."

To me, there's always a conscious element of arch commentary, even mockery of conventional film making.
 
2) I don't find it fruitful or legitimate to criticize anyone's work from the perspective of how We would have done something, or what our preferences are. It isn't relevant. Of course we're not going to like everything about most everything we see - there's always going to be things that bother us for various reasons. But in this case, I don't find it to be authentic criticism to say "He should have shown both the boy and girl equally nude, so I would find it more sexually/politically correct." I think that misses the point.

Interesting points, Randy.  My response above was intended to ask the impertinent question:  Does anything come of the 'mockery' or 'send-up' of conventionalized sexualized violence you invoke?   

I think critics of Lynch's depictions of sexual violence have the upper hand when they point out the circularity of justifying representations of sexualized violence against women as some sort of meta-critique of representations of sexualized violence against women. 

along the lines of, "Supporters of capital punishment should be dragged out in the street and shot."  You dig?

I should add that I find this to be a limitation of Lynch's oeuvre... the takeaways that "darkness lurks in the hearts of men," that this darkness is bound up with male sexuality, and that  "Violence against women is omnipresent and awful" are effective as a narrow critique of say, conventions of slasher films, pulp fiction, and genre television of the 1980s . Perhaps he succeeds in The Return at translating this to a critique of "prestige TV" today. 

But if it's social satire it stops short-- in its ambiguity-- of doing more than parodying popular culture.  I can see why some feel impatient with claims that this is somehow politically progressive.

But I love Lynch, nevertheless.  And he vexes me, and maybe that challenges me to think harder... Maybe.

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Posted : 28/07/2017 1:45 pm Randy Bowser liked
(@mad-sweeney)
Roadhouse Regular
Posted by: Badalamenti Fan
Posted by: James M Sweeney

I've always felt that Lynch's satirical work was over-the-top enough to be blatantly obvious that he's going over-the-top to make a point. Evidently, however, over-the-top satire is much like dark humor, health care, and food: not everybody gets it. 

James, no disrespect, but I think this is the problem with postmodern irony (or its vernacular expression as social satire, or 'prestige tv' or what have you) is that one can always say, "He's making a point, and if you don't get it, you don't get it."

But what actually comes of the point you say he's making?  

More postmodern irony, in my experience.

I don't blame women who feel impatient with this sort of infinite regression.  

I get what you're saying and am open to arguments on this - no offense taken. Most of the criticism I have seen, however, doesn't seem to acknowledge what Lynch is attempting to do (but perhaps failing - you've inspired me to think about that further), but rather assuming he's unimaginatively doing more of the same sexploitation as others in media and art for purposes other than satire or social commentary. I feel like an argument that he's failing to make a good point would stand much better than an argument that he's a run of the mill misogynist filmmaker.
(edit: this post overlapped with several other excellent ones that have me considering further; if nothing else, Lynch has us talking and thinking about something important)

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Posted : 28/07/2017 1:47 pm Randy Bowser and Badalamenti Fan liked
(@badalamenti-fan)
Roadhouse Regular
Posted by: Randy Bowser
Posted by: Badalamenti Fan

... You dig?...

Yes, I dig! I've enjoyed all your posts on this thread, Badalamenti Fan. I think you ask unanswerable questions - All I can really say when looking at TP, Inland Empire - anything, is -"It is what it is."

Wow, Thanks Randy.  I'm not sure my asking such questions is of any particular value, but I'm glad you appreciate them!

Agreed, re: "It is what it is."

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Posted : 28/07/2017 1:49 pm Randy Bowser liked
(@badalamenti-fan)
Roadhouse Regular
Posted by: James M Sweeney
Posted by: Badalamenti Fan
Posted by: James M Sweeney

I've always felt that Lynch's satirical work was over-the-top enough to be blatantly obvious that he's going over-the-top to make a point. Evidently, however, over-the-top satire is much like dark humor, health care, and food: not everybody gets it. 

James, no disrespect, but I think this is the problem with postmodern irony (or its vernacular expression as social satire, or 'prestige tv' or what have you) is that one can always say, "He's making a point, and if you don't get it, you don't get it."

But what actually comes of the point you say he's making?  

More postmodern irony, in my experience.

I don't blame women who feel impatient with this sort of infinite regression.  

I get what you're saying and am open to arguments on this - no offense taken. Most of the criticism I have seen, however, doesn't seem to acknowledge what Lynch is attempting to do (but perhaps failing - you've inspired me to think about that further), but rather assuming he's unimaginatively doing more of the same sexploitation as others in media and art for purposes other than satire or social commentary. I feel like an argument that he's failing to make a good point would stand much better than an argument that he's a run of the mill misogynist filmmaker.
(edit: this post overlapped with several other excellent ones that have me considering further; if nothing else, Lynch has us talking and thinking about something important)

Couldn't agree more!   It's a worthwhile attempt, to be sure. And it is clearly provoking thoughtful conversations on this forum (and elsewhere, I hope!)

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Posted : 28/07/2017 1:53 pm James M Sweeney and Randy Bowser liked
(@rbowser)
RR Diner Patron

Maybe there doesn't need to be any more point to Lynch's implied commentary on sexploitation than for him to be saying, "Here's where we are. Crazy isn't it?"

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Posted : 28/07/2017 1:57 pm SamXTherapy, James M Sweeney and Badalamenti Fan liked
(@b-randy)
Chief Moderator

I always figured Lynch had some experience or personal knowledge of these things that happen (or at least advocates strongly against them) and information finds its way into his work. I have no clue whether its intentional or not.  But he seems to see the world through this film (and many others) and simply presents it. I've noticed how the violence and exploitation is never symbolic or archetypal or hidden in any way.  It seems to be the most blatant and overt thing in this show and much of his other work.

I don't in any way think he's glorifying it (as I've said already  many times). I think he is presenting the world that he sees.  Maybe he's trying to create a message or maybe its just how reality is in his mind. I don't know.  I don't  know if his shrink knows.

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Posted : 28/07/2017 6:20 pm Randy Bowser liked
(@groovy-llama-fan)
Dweller

I was pleasantly shocked at the scene at the Dr's actually. Lynch just proved right there that he can do the female gaze just fine when he wants to. In fact, you could argue that he sexualises Kyle on occasion as well. Blue Velvet made good use of his nudity and he's shirtless on the poster art. There's also a rather odd-looking bare torso pic from Dune, but that could be a promo shot. I haven't noticed him do that with any other male actor in his work though.

My problem with that young couple scene is that all this traditional male gaze direction took me out of the scene immediately. Instead of enjoying the youngsters getting it on as their final taste of life, all I could think of is that the director's a creep just like the rest of them. It sucks all eroticism out of the scene immediately for a female viewer. I also felt sorry for the actress: she had a real Lynchian face and vibe and I was looking forward to her becoming at least a minor character. But no - she just gets reduced to boobs, butt and a corpse 🙁

 

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Posted : 29/07/2017 5:53 am Badalamenti Fan liked
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