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INLAND EMPIRE 4K Restoration screenings

Ickles

Waiting Room
Apr 12, 2022
201
305
As Janus rolls out the new INLAND EMPIRE 4K restoration to theaters across the US (Buy Tickets | Inland Empire) I thought having a thread open for folks to post their thoughts if they take in a screening and want to share might be a good idea.

I caught a screening last night. The film itself is, of course, still amazing. I've lost count of the times I've seen the film itself (at least 20) but the new 4K does look and especially sound a bit better. I've honestly always loved the way the film looks, even though the "ugly" video quality turns some people off, but I think for the story and world Lynch is building in it the video quality works beautifully.

The crowd in attendance on the other hand...I felt like I was witnessing a middle school field trip. There are some genuinely funny moments in the film that warrant laughter (Harry Dean Stanton's shtick about borrowing money, the Bucky light scene, etc.) but it was a case of a group of people not knowing how to feel vulnerable in a crowded theater so things that were truly fucked up and terrifying elicited uncomfortable laughter. To each their own, I suppose, but it was definitely distracting (sold out show) and kind of brought me out of the world a bit from time to time. Generally though I highly recommend seeing it if it's playing near you soon. I know some folks here are more Twin Peaks people and maybe less inclined to enjoy something as dense and "pure heroin Lynch" as IE but it's a tremendous artistic achievement and the restoration is great.
 

Tulpa

Bureau HQ
TULPA MOD
ADMIN
Apr 11, 2022
391
482
Was the crowd a talky one, or was it just odd involuntary responses? I've heard FWWM screenings often have people laughing at very uncomfortable moments.
 

Ickles

Waiting Room
Apr 12, 2022
201
305
Was the crowd a talky one, or was it just odd involuntary responses? I've heard FWWM screenings often have people laughing at very uncomfortable moments.
A little bit of both. The theater it’s at sells booze so a lot of people getting up and down mid-way through. A couple of chatterboxes. Just the wrong crowd for it, really. Felt like folks expecting a more Midnight Movie type of experience but IE isn’t an especially “fun” movie.
 

AXX°N N.

RR Diner
Apr 14, 2022
33
77
Thanks for this thread, it's tempered my expectations re theater-goers a bit, not that they were too high to start. Not to be a misanthrope, but the last time I went to a theater showing was ages ago, exactly because I can't stand the feeling of my love of a film clashing with an audience's dice roll group vibe turning out to be vaguely or outright hostile. The last straw was taking my parents to see a film I was really excited about only to be seated next to someone directly behind me ribbing the film out loud the entire time, eg "oh, come on...", snickering, etc. The dice roll has kept me exclusively indoors and I haven't had the opportunity before (having recently moved to be a big metro) to see a Lynch screening ever. I have watched some of his stuff with others couchside and that sometimes is far more awkward than I ever imagined. The realization of, "oh, yeah, this is strange to the point of offense to many people" is not a pleasant one.

It's next month when I see it and I'll probably report back with more ranting! :coffee:
 
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mosura

Sparkwood & 21
Apr 17, 2022
11
27
The news of this caught my interest, the nearest screening for me is about 3 hours away (not exactly close but I'm not totally unfamiliar for driving long distance to get somewhere).

I was curious to see if there was a thread for this and glad there is, going to movies can be such a hit and miss @Ickles, sorry to hear your crowd wasn't the greatest. I've been very lucky on both counts to go to a screening for Alien and Die Hard and have a placid crowd. I'll be sitting on the fence for a bit longer before deciding if I'll see it since I've never watched the movie before, but it is annoying to have to factor in the people around you and their reactions :/
 

AXX°N N.

RR Diner
Apr 14, 2022
33
77
The news of this caught my interest, the nearest screening for me is about 3 hours away (not exactly close but I'm not totally unfamiliar for driving long distance to get somewhere).
You might want to monitor the screening locations, since the one I'm going to is an hour away and was added after I'd been deliberating on one that was 3 hours away, and each time I've checked the website there have been more locations added.
 

mosura

Sparkwood & 21
Apr 17, 2022
11
27
You might want to monitor the screening locations, since the one I'm going to is an hour away and was added after I'd been deliberating on one that was 3 hours away, and each time I've checked the website there have been more locations added.
Fingers crossed, I'll keep checking the website--thanks for the info!
 

underthefan

RR Diner
Apr 12, 2022
38
68
The crowd in attendance on the other hand...I felt like I was witnessing a middle school field trip. There are some genuinely funny moments in the film that warrant laughter (Harry Dean Stanton's shtick about borrowing money, the Bucky light scene, etc.) but it was a case of a group of people not knowing how to feel vulnerable in a crowded theater so things that were truly fucked up and terrifying elicited uncomfortable laughter. To each their own, I suppose, but it was definitely distracting (sold out show) and kind of brought me out of the world a bit from time to time. Generally though I highly recommend seeing it if it's playing near you soon. I know some folks here are more Twin Peaks people and maybe less inclined to enjoy something as dense and "pure heroin Lynch" as IE but it's a tremendous artistic achievement and the restoration is great.
This was something I experienced several times when watching Lynch's movies in a theater, particularly with FWWM. And it always ruins my experience a little bit. This is why I prefer to watch Lynch's movies at home, and also one of the reasons I have stopped going to theaters in general.
 

AXX°N N.

RR Diner
Apr 14, 2022
33
77
Back from a screening at an Alamo Drafthouse. I'd never been to one before, and I have to say, the operation didn't suit itself very well to IE. Despite them doing many an arthouse screening, a meal and especially the presentation of the check 30 mins before the climax are seriously intrusive; IE was at its most disorienting throes when the waiters started to scurry to everyone. If I go back, though, I could see it being a fun venue for something on the lighter side. It turned out to be a good thing that the first chunk of the movie is glacially paced and features a lot of sitting, milling around, eating and drinking, etc. to accompany the sounds of people shifting around, chewing hamburgers, etc.

Audience was respectful, no laughs that felt denigrating and quite a few chuckles. Harry Dean Stanton's character and Lynch's cameo got the lion's share of laughs, which was fun to see. This is my first time watching it since HDS's passing, and I absolutely adore him no matter what he's doing or how long he features and it was nice to see a group of people take a shine.

I noticed among the preview chatter that many there hadn't seen the film and were coming out of curiosity from exposure to Mulholland Dr. and TP S3. There was an introduction at the event by a host who mentioned that IE has been hard to view due to being self-distributed, and I hadn't really thought of it in that way but it's true that in the age of streaming it's more obscure than ever.

After the lights came up, I heard a lot of "at least Mulholland Dr. had a straightforward plot for more of the movie" and a variation, "at least Mullholand Dr. was only two layers; this had, like, four. Five?" and my favorite comment: "I think I need to make a diagram!"

I'd seen it more recently so I was expecting the assault, but my husband remarked something I found true and which surprised me this viewing: you really only get the somewhat gentle first hour before the movie abruptly becomes a two-hour nightmare. Watching it with an audience truly highlighted how aggressive the experimentalism is; it felt brutal when the fakeout ending ("it burns bright forever") arrived, and how waves of leg waggling, shifting around and general restlessness attended Laura Dern's zombielike shuffle into the true ending.

I've never noticed how extreme the close-ups were; a lot of the film was gigantic, monolithic facial close-ups hovering over the seats. It made certain things come into more clear perspective: the famous phantom jumpscare being the natural evolution of such facial focus, which lasts until the very end, with the camera fixated on the performer's face as she lip-syncs Sinnerman. I appreciated for the first time how much of the film is confrontational; so many things are being broadcast to the audience in a manner that invites and threatens, and at many points the audience is spoken to in place of the protagonist. The relationship dynamic between the viewer and the abstractions taking place are so voyeuristic and immersive, it feels like reality is shifting to include the theater space as a canonical element; when Dern watches herself in a theater, watching herself speaking metaphorically of her life like staring at herself in a theater, the recursion of scanning the seats ahead of me up to the screen where there's more seats to scan, the spatial continuation of it made me feel as if I could look behind me and see something significant. And in fact, later on, when the epiphany moment comes I realized for the first time the light that engulfs the screen is a close-up of a projector, and so the glow of the theater's real projector is projecting that glow, which means the image of the glow in the film is shining its light on the very projector shining the projection, and on & on, so that the theater is shining dual projector light over the audience, and maybe you could say, transmitting itself to itself.

I forgot the film opens in a hotel, and it was fun to experience an overlap as I had been staying at a hotel to attend the screening. Walking back to my room afterward I couldn't help but think of #47.

Loved hearing more notes to the soundtrack and score, although I actually wish it had been a touch louder. I really wanted the moments where someone screams to obliterate my ears.

As for the film itself, I have a lot of thoughts I'm gathering and I might make a thread about an interpretation at some point; at times and just barely eclipsed by TP, IE is the Lynch project I'm most thrilled about when I go down the rabbit hole of piecing things together. I always think that I have encyclopedic knowledge of the film, but at such a long runtime there's inevitably things I'm still surprised at I hadn't noticed before, or a grasp of the film that slips from me in an unexpected way. I think it's the film I've seen the most times that I feel is a brand new experience each and every time.

One thing I will say is how surprisingly timely it still feels. There's something very internet about the valley girls that populate the house Nikki is stuck in, something very forum or chat-room about her disconnected lounging amid their lounging; in fact, the emotional vibe of her entrapment in the house resonated deeply with how I've felt during the pandemic and during a depressed spiral I've only recently crawled out of. Trapped in a house that feels as disconnected and dormant as an involuntary trauma, as deeply layered and permanent as an obsessive thought, populated by hard-faced degraded versions of who were just a second ago familiar loved ones, taunted by a Greek chorus of personified self-talk... the listlessness of the clock-hand whirring, the strangely banal and yet transportational ritual of the cigarette through the silk. The feelings it brought up in me felt unexpressed and I cried at moments recognizing them. I think it's the first time that I found the ending when Nikki reaches the Lost Girl to be touching and relatable. There's something extremely beautiful about how something tender, gentle and restorative is at the spatial center of so much haunted architecture.

Interesting brief allusions to pollution and, very very briefly, politics mentioned in tandem with withheld information and people plunging into strange hypnosis... I suppose when you theme an artistic work on deep confusion, manipulative abuse, and emotional pits it's always going to be relevant, but I went in assuming I had wrung every bit of the film possible over the many viewings I've had, and the fact I still find things unfolding in my head with a movie I love so dearly is thrilling.
 
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Ickles

Waiting Room
Apr 12, 2022
201
305
Really great summary. Glad to hear your experience was a bit better with the Drafthouse audience. Like I said before, with the crowd I saw it with it wasn't just that they laughed at all (the HDS stuff and a bit of the first third is genuinely funny) but it was that uncomfortable "boy, this is weird" laugh. Like somebody was really tickled every time the Rabbits were on screen. I can get maybe nervous chuckling the first time they come on screen if you aren't familiar with the film but after about the 2nd or 3rd time the Rabbits are on screen...let's maybe get with the program and just roll with the "weirdness" of it. Like it almost turned into a condescending "laughing at a thing I don't understand" type of thing which is 100% the only dynamic of seeing Lynch's work on the big screen that I don't miss.
 

Tulpa

Bureau HQ
TULPA MOD
ADMIN
Apr 11, 2022
391
482
especially the presentation of the check 30 mins before the climax are seriously intrusive

That's shocking. Do they always do this?

All the "table service" theatres I've been to take orders during ads/trailers and fulfil them before the film starts. They take payment upfront when you order.
 

Mr. Reindeer

Glastonbury Grove
Apr 13, 2022
148
222
Back from a screening at an Alamo Drafthouse. I'd never been to one before, and I have to say, the operation didn't suit itself very well to IE. Despite them doing many an arthouse screening, a meal and especially the presentation of the check 30 mins before the climax are seriously intrusive; IE was at its most disorienting throes when the waiters started to scurry to everyone. If I go back, though, I could see it being a fun venue for something on the lighter side. It turned out to be a good thing that the first chunk of the movie is glacially paced and features a lot of sitting, milling around, eating and drinking, etc. to accompany the sounds of people shifting around, chewing hamburgers, etc.

Audience was respectful, no laughs that felt denigrating and quite a few chuckles. Harry Dean Stanton's character and Lynch's cameo got the lion's share of laughs, which was fun to see. This is my first time watching it since HDS's passing, and I absolutely adore him no matter what he's doing or how long he features and it was nice to see a group of people take a shine.

I noticed among the preview chatter that many there hadn't seen the film and were coming out of curiosity from exposure to Mulholland Dr. and TP S3. There was an introduction at the event by a host who mentioned that IE has been hard to view due to being self-distributed, and I hadn't really thought of it in that way but it's true that in the age of streaming it's more obscure than ever.

After the lights came up, I heard a lot of "at least Mulholland Dr. had a straightforward plot for more of the movie" and a variation, "at least Mullholand Dr. was only two layers; this had, like, four. Five?" and my favorite comment: "I think I need to make a diagram!"

I'd seen it more recently so I was expecting the assault, but my husband remarked something I found true and which surprised me this viewing: you really only get the somewhat gentle first hour before the movie abruptly becomes a two-hour nightmare. Watching it with an audience truly highlighted how aggressive the experimentalism is; it felt brutal when the fakeout ending ("it burns bright forever") arrived, and how waves of leg waggling, shifting around and general restlessness attended Laura Dern's zombielike shuffle into the true ending.

I've never noticed how extreme the close-ups were; a lot of the film was gigantic, monolithic facial close-ups hovering over the seats. It made certain things come into more clear perspective: the famous phantom jumpscare being the natural evolution of such facial focus, which lasts until the very end, with the camera fixated on the performer's face as she lip-syncs Sinnerman. I appreciated for the first time how much of the film is confrontational; so many things are being broadcast to the audience in a manner that invites and threatens, and at many points the audience is spoken to in place of the protagonist. The relationship dynamic between the viewer and the abstractions taking place are so voyeuristic and immersive, it feels like reality is shifting to include the theater space as a canonical element; when Dern watches herself in a theater, watching herself speaking metaphorically of her life like staring at herself in a theater, the recursion of scanning the seats ahead of me up to the screen where there's more seats to scan, the spatial continuation of it made me feel as if I could look behind me and see something significant. And in fact, later on, when the epiphany moment comes I realized for the first time the light that engulfs the screen is a close-up of a projector, and so the glow of the theater's real projector is projecting that glow, which means the image of the glow in the film is shining its light on the very projector shining the projection, and on & on, so that the theater is shining dual projector light over the audience, and maybe you could say, transmitting itself to itself.

I forgot the film opens in a hotel, and it was fun to experience an overlap as I had been staying at a hotel to attend the screening. Walking back to my room afterward I couldn't help but think of #47.

Loved hearing more notes to the soundtrack and score, although I actually wish it had been a touch louder. I really wanted the moments where someone screams to obliterate my ears.

As for the film itself, I have a lot of thoughts I'm gathering and I might make a thread about an interpretation at some point; at times and just barely eclipsed by TP, IE is the Lynch project I'm most thrilled about when I go down the rabbit hole of piecing things together. I always think that I have encyclopedic knowledge of the film, but at such a long runtime there's inevitably things I'm still surprised at I hadn't noticed before, or a grasp of the film that slips from me in an unexpected way. I think it's the film I've seen the most times that I feel is a brand new experience each and every time.

One thing I will say is how surprisingly timely it still feels. There's something very internet about the valley girls that populate the house Nikki is stuck in, something very forum or chat-room about her disconnected lounging amid their lounging; in fact, the emotional vibe of her entrapment in the house resonated deeply with how I've felt during the pandemic and during a depressed spiral I've only recently crawled out of. Trapped in a house that feels as disconnected and dormant as an involuntary trauma, as deeply layered and permanent as an obsessive thought, populated by hard-faced degraded versions of who were just a second ago familiar loved ones, taunted by a Greek chorus of personified self-talk... the listlessness of the clock-hand whirring, the strangely banal and yet transportational ritual of the cigarette through the silk. The feelings it brought up in me felt unexpressed and I cried at moments recognizing them. I think it's the first time that I found the ending when Nikki reaches the Lost Girl to be touching and relatable. There's something extremely beautiful about how something tender, gentle and restorative is at the spatial center of so much haunted architecture.

Interesting brief allusions to pollution and, very very briefly, politics mentioned in tandem with withheld information and people plunging into strange hypnosis... I suppose when you theme an artistic work on deep confusion, manipulative abuse, and emotional pits it's always going to be relevant, but I went in assuming I had wrung every bit of the film possible over the many viewings I've had, and the fact I still find things unfolding in my head with a movie I love so dearly is thrilling.
Just replying to say that I loved this whole post. Sounds like your experience of the film was much the same as mine, particularly the ouroboros nature of the opening projector shot, and the scenes of Nikki in the theater. That imagery of course has always been powerful when I've seen the film at home, but watching it in the theater made it an almost entirely new experience in a way I never expected. During that theater scene, I had a hollow spot in my gut in the best possible way.

I love the idea of an INLAND discussion/analysis thread. I doubt that a week goes by that this film doesn't at least cross my mind.
 

Mr. Reindeer

Glastonbury Grove
Apr 13, 2022
148
222
That's shocking. Do they always do this?

All the "table service" theatres I've been to take orders during ads/trailers and fulfil them before the film starts. They take payment upfront when you order.
Yeah, that's their standard MO. I assume they want to keep the check open to encourage patrons to order more during the movie, which many people do. Alamo is a great (albeit pricey) place to see a Marvel movie or something and have a burger and a couple beers, but definitely a weird place to see something quiet and atmospheric like a Lynch movie. Weird that it got booked there.
 

Metalane

RR Diner
Jul 16, 2022
39
39
I have watched some of his stuff with others couchside and that sometimes is far more awkward than I ever imagined. The realization of, "oh, yeah, this is strange to the point of offense to many people" is not a pleasant one.
Ha, this is so accurate it’s scary. I’ve had the exact same experience. Most people I’ve watched a Lynch movie with don‘t have experience with any arthouse type cinema. I almost feel like a need to give a debriefing before hand haha.

The Blue Velvet Frank Booth scenes were awkward to sit through with them haha.
 
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