Darkness and the all American Unheimliche: the surreal dreams of David Lynch

Taylor, Alasdair (2007) Darkness and the all American Unheimliche: the surreal dreams of David Lynch. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    This essay was conceived via the wish to analyse the films of David Lynch, and how they correspond to Ernst Jentsch and Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytical theories pertaining to uncanniness. I aimed to deconstruct Lynch's films in order to understand how they work alongside Jentsch and Freud's theories, and the resulting impact they have on audiences. What also interested me was the opportunity to delve into the world of Surrealism, an artistic movement that I knew little about, and one which David Lynch is arguably continuing in a popular form today, putting him in the peculiar position of being a mainstream Surrealist filmmaker. I discovered how Jentsch and Freud's theories regarding the uncanny were an attempt to deconstruct what makes us uneasy without knowing why; an exploration of the subconscious and unconscious mind, of things hidden inside our minds, and how these repressed elements can project into our conscious minds and our perceptions of reality. This aided me in realising how David Lynch engenders unease in his audiences, embedding uncanniness in his films via juxtaposing the familiar with the unfamiliar, and vice-versa, blurring the narrative lines of reality and fantasy, and by hiding things from the audience, keeping audiences in darkness, literally and figuratively. I also found that David Lynch's form of Surrealism is different to its originators since his narrative structures are perhaps less arbitrary than, say Luis Bunuel's Un Chien Andalou (1928). However, it was also clear that Lynch's films were equally as bizarre, unsettling and as absurdly amusing as any of the original Surrealists' work, and a continuation of it. The summarisation of my investigation was the discovery that David Lynch manages to transcend Surrealism into the mainstream, via a distinct utilisation of the uncanny, something few, if any, other filmmakers have achieved.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > School of Media and Performing Arts
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:47
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:13
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/286

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