Cherry Pie Wrapped In Barbed Wire
Following is a translation of David Lynch's article on Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me for the German movie magazine CINEMA. It was included in the CINEMA Guest Comment column in the August 1992 issue.
At the Cannes Film Festival I've always been asked the same question: Why did you make Twin Peaks - Fire Walk With Me? Isn't that just a repetition of the television series? A self-plagiarism? I want to reply two things on that: First of all is this film my cherry pie present to the fans of the show however one that's wrapped in barbed wire. Moreover I happened to be in love with the characters of the show. I wanted to say goodbay to them symbolically. I realized instinctively that Laura Palmer's story wasn't yet told entirely. As a washed up corpse she was the inner motivation of the show. I wanted to resurrect her, see her live, talk and move. But to prevent all mistakes: There won't be any new Twin Peaks episodes, this is the end.
Twin Peaks is a very mysterious place. It puts me into a state of dreams. Into dark dreams. I like the streets, the buildings, the small town atmosphere and the nearby woods. I already wanted to shoot Blue Velvet in this area where we eventually placed Twin Peaks. Back then it failed due to the objection of my producer Dino de Laurentiis.
Twin Peaks - Fire Walk With Me deciphers some of the secrets of the show but not all secrets. Some mysteries remain. I don't like movies that answer all questions. The last reel should roll in the mind of the audience. That's why I generally refuse to give interpretations of some elements or motifs in my films. Everyone wants to know what the Red Room in Twin Peaks stands for that appears again in the movie. Even I don't know what it exactly means. I can still remember well when I've had this idea but I don't know why. From a rational point of view I can see that I used a similar pattern as the one in the attic before in "Eraserhead". However, everything else was just a matter of inspiration: the red curtains, the stylized design, the dancing dwarf. Even if I wanted to I wouldn't be able to explain their meaning because intuition is irrational. The difference between reality and imagination wasn't ever clear to me at all. I will most likely be very surprised when I find out one day what the difference is all about.
The whole Twin Peaks series wouldn't have been possible without the trust in the power of subconsciousness. I show in my movies thoughts and situations that preoccupy my mind. And I'm mainly interested in the dark side of life, the unknown, the frightening. That leads automatically to the controversy about violence. I'm tired of the perpetual arguing about the alleged brutality in my films. Violence exists in our world and you can't simply ignore it. You have to show it, especially if you want to tell powerful stories as I want to. Those who only want to tell about the joys of being and the art of picking cherries shouldn't start making films at all. Because good people are boring. Only the bad guys have style.
That's why Twin Peaks - Fire Walk With Me is first of all addressed to an audience with a sense of macabre humor and grotesque surrealism. It's not necessary to know all episodes of the show to understand the movie. Certainly it would be an advantage, but the story is set up in a way that you slip in easily even without any previous knowledge. Because Twin Peaks is everywhere. It's not a place. It's a condition.
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© Mike Hartmann