chapter  1
7 Pages

Zina Giannopoulou INTRODUCTION

DA V I D L Y N C H I S P E R H A P S best known for his refusal toexplain his films and his unorthodox film-making style. Beginning his career in fine art and mixed media, he entered mainstream moviemaking at a time when it was in a state of financial and technological transformation. From his cult classic Eraserhead (1977) to his neo-noir series Twin Peaks (1990-91) to the porn video culture of Lost Highway (1997) to his abstract film Inland Empire (2006), this master of obscurantism subverts traditional approaches to narrative, plot, character development, and frame composition. Critics have responded to his films in various ways. Some regard them as works of cinematic irony that reflect upon genre, performance, and film history, requiring knowledge of narrative and genre conventions in order to be appreciated and understood. Others view his films as daring audio-visual experiments that resist rational interpretation or, dismissively, as “a shoal of red herrings, or promissory notes that cannot in the end be exchanged for anything of value.”1 Interpreters often note his engagement with the instability of identity which they study by using postmodernist (Jean Baudrillard) and psychoanalytic tools of interpretation (Jacques Lacan, Slavoj Žižek).