Psychosis in David Lynch’s Inland Empire

The Psychologist has just made an article available that looks at the parallels between the most recent David Lynch film, Inland Empire, and what we know of the psychology of psychosis.

The article looks at some of the proposed pathologies of psychosis, drawn from cognitive science, and suggests how these are represented in Lynch’s latest movie.

Paranoia comes with an inherent sense of personal threat and concomitant fear. Inland Empire’s dark and chilling world is produced in part by David Lynch’s use of story. While fear is generated with genuinely unsettling imagery and dark shadowy lighting, it also comes from the carefully managed attrition of any recognisable storyline. The audience, who have been led through the early stages of the plot with some of the conventional devices of storytelling (coherent dialogue, linear chronology) are suddenly thrown into a world of unfamiliar film cuts, unexplained locations and wordless acting. We are forced to jump to our own conclusions and build what narrative we will from scant concrete evidence as to events. Our sense of sense itself forces us to put something together and, given the presence of ominous emotions and apparent malice, what we put together is a paranoid and terrifying vision of the intentions of the characters in the film and even the world we inhabit.

Lynch’s hallucinatory style certainly suggests altered realities and this is not the first time that it has been linked with mind-being reality distortion, as countless interpretations of Mulholland Drive testify.

Link to article ‘David Lynch and psychosis’.

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