Saturday, March 17, 2007

Inland Empire Re-viewing

Saw Inland Empire for the second time yesterday. I think it can be classified as a work of feminist surrealism (or surrealist feminism). It basically is "about" (and I use the word very loosely) women (or perhaps a single woman) having nightmares about being a whore. It is not really an original idea. (The Austrian writer Arthur Schnitzler's novella Fraulein Else, which I read recently, tells the story of a young teenaged girl, told in the form of an unbroken monologue, who suffers a nervous breakdown thinking that she has turned into a whore when she is just following the rules and orders of her parents and people around her.) There are also a couple of separate nightmares which are not really connected with the whore-nightmare but are the same in terms of the basic idea. The adultery sub-plot of film-within-a-film is basically a reworking of standard adultery narratives, which shows how far the stacks are laid against women as compared to men when it comes to the whole adultery business. Also the violent monologue is again the woman's subconscious speaking out -- all the latent resentments against her lover/husband/client coming out with extreme brute force. I should have copied out some of the dialogues. It is actually very funny. IMDB has only a couple:

Nikki: When the police came and they asked what happened, I told them "He's reaping what he's been sowing, that's what." They said "Fucker been sowing some pretty heavy shit."

Nikki: Bam! I Kicked him straight in the balls so hard they go crawling into his brain for refuge - he went down like a two dollar whore.

Such a shame, Dern wasn't even nominated for an Oscar!

The Polish sequences can also be fitted in the same basic narrative. Violence, Abuse, Adultery etc. Okay, talking rabbits? I don't really know about that. Who is the girl crying watching the TV? Not really sure. And there are so many other things too. Will have to wait for the DVD to come.

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