Sunday, October 17, 2010
a Brief on David Lynch's "Lady Blue Shanghai"
... Actually, apparently, and maybe I'm thick-in-the-head, this David Lynch short film is a commercial (you can watch HERE) for Lady Dior, which is basically a really fancy handbag. This isn't a surprise that Lynch would make a commercial - he has made several over the years, maybe as a means to get some of his ideas out there into the cinematic medium, and maybe, perhaps, to get some quick money. But this is a little different: this is a 16 minute film where it's really about a woman who goes to a hotel, a record is playing mysteriously in her room, and a handbag shines very brightly. She calls the hotel-help asking what is going on, and then tells a story of meeting a man before... or thinking she's met a man before, in Shanghai.
The power of this short film is that a) I didn't have any real clue that it was a long-form commercial while watching it, and b) it carries the kind of unique mystery that Lynch unlocks with his approach to cinema - the cinematography (in this case digital video, with a more sophisticated eye than the experimentation of Inland Empire), the editing that emphasizes the human face and the enigmatic movement of characters in the frame, sound editing that is not-of-this world. I still am not quite sure what it's all about, or if it's really what it is in that handbag (I'm more-so reminded of the elusive nature of the blue box from Mulholland Drive), and I almost don't want to know, at least not until two or three more viewings. It also is a big asset that Cotillard, stunning in appearance and her quiet intensity, works so well here for him as his female-muse.
Does it mean as much as his other short films? I'm still not sure about that either. Compared to some of the works on his Short Films of David Lynch or Best of DavidLynch.com DVDs, its not any kind of absurd thing he's dealing with here. It's like a splintered-in-his-mind romantic drama where love and loss and memory and not knowing converge into something one can look at and maybe recognize, or just feel. While I can see possibly that people who know it's a commercial going in will see the obvious nature of the handbag, it's still sublime craftsmanship by a master of his self-made "in-dreams" craft.
Other David Lynch commercials:
And TWO short films: