Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Simple Stories

David Lynch's new project, Interview Project, is assumingly as simple as it gets: travel across the US. Interview people.
Here is the first episode.
First impressions? It's... nice. Potentially fascinating. Not quite yet. For the moment, it's too early to say.

This might seem like something very unfocused, as if it lacked a form, a formula, a format to support it. Compare this first episode to Kieślowski's (amazing, amazing) Talking Heads (1980):

Kieślowski has a format and sticks to it.
Seen from this perspective, Lynch's project might appear as amateurish.
But then, it goes so well with the spirit of our times, with the thirst for simple, everyday stories...
After all, we can still feel quite a heavy dose of humanist ideals and pathos in Kieślowski's approach. Even the way he films his subjects is dramatic, often painting-like.
Lynch has this capacity too, as we know so well. Yet he chooses a very different approach, different texture. Different proximity.

One small, hardly noticeable element is similar in the two projects: the music. It is heavy, dramatic, as if contradicting the simplicity of the protagonists.
Is it nostalgia for the great narratives?

Oh, and one more thing. We can only get that far asking constantly the most basic questions. After a while, I get tired. I want more. The essential stops being essential. It becomes annoyingly abstract, unaccessible. That's one reason to go beyond the existential questions, and one reason to ask other questions. One way of dealing with this is moving away from the person-as-biography to the person-as-projection. Take the famous work by Sophie Calle called Blind, where she asked people who were born blind about what is their image of beauty.

The pathos is still quite present. Yet the projection, the sensibility of the imagination, makes us... dance with empathy.