Lost Highway Interpretations (Spoilers)

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silenthiller119
 
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Lost Highway Interpretations (Spoilers)

Postby silenthiller119 » 25 Oct 2010

For anyone not familiar with Lynch's "Lost Highway", let me try and sum it up as simple as possible.

Here's what I think happened if you were to put the movie in chronological order:
1. Fred is married to Renee. Their marriage is on the rocks. (scene: The first sex scene)
2. Fred suspects Renee is cheating on him. (scene: He's playing the sax and sees her leave with another man) (scene: He calls home to no answer and when he gets home she's sound asleep)
3. Fred hires someone to kill Dick Laurent, the man Renee is having an affair with. (scene: "Dick Laurent is dead", someone says on the intercom, supposedly the hitman)
4. Fred goes insane and kills his wife. He is arrested and sentenced to death.
5. His lack of sleep and massive headaches lead him to the doctor in the jail, where he's given meds.
6. The rest of the movie is his dream. Similar to Mulholland Drive, the dream starts out well but ends with the dreamer having to face reality: Fred is now Pete, and he gets exactly what he didn't get as Fred; lots of sex, adventure, etc. But his real self catches up with him (scene: sax music playing on the radio in the garage) (scene: Mystery Man telling him Alice is Renee)

Please feel free to disagree and state your own interpretations in this topic. As David Lynch said, for one person the meaning could be completely different to another person.

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Re: Lost Highway Interpretations (Spoilers)

Postby bsharporflat » 25 Oct 2010

I think it is a pretty good explanation. Maybe you'd want to explain what Mystery Man is and maybe the ending for a more complete interpretation.

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Re: Lost Highway Interpretations (Spoilers)

Postby Film Syncs » 25 Oct 2010

silenthiller119 wrote:6. The rest of the movie is his dream. Similar to Mulholland Drive, the dream starts out well but ends with the dreamer having to face reality: Fred is now Pete, and he gets exactly what he didn't get as Fred; lots of sex, adventure, etc. But his real self catches up with him (scene: sax music playing on the radio in the garage) (scene: Mystery Man telling him Alice is Renee)


Well, it should be clarified that the Mystery Man doesn't tell Pete that Alice is Renee. He tells Fred that. Pete turns back into Fred during (or after) the sex in front of the headlights scene. The 'her name is Renee. If she told you her name is Alice she was lying' scene immediately follows the sex scene.

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Re: Lost Highway Interpretations (Spoilers)

Postby silenthiller119 » 26 Oct 2010

Thanks for the input, but I'd also like to hear you guys interpretations too!

(Note: I won't edit my first post, I'll just continue my thoughts in this post as to not confuse newcomers who read the other posts.) As to the Mystery Man and the ending, those are two things I still don't accept a concrete interpretation. Is he Fred's manifestation (then how does Andy see him at the party, saying he's a friend of Dick Laurent)? Is he a demon? Is the ending a transformation into another character (hence the title Lost Highway?) Is he being electrocuted in the electric chair?

Personally, I also don't believe every little thing in this movie requires extra thought compared to Mulholland Drive. I think it instead all just mainly focuses around the main idea of a man who imagines a second life. That's another reason why I prefer to sum up the film in my first post. It is indeed an experience, though, and should not be missed.

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Re: Lost Highway Interpretations (Spoilers)

Postby Film Syncs » 26 Oct 2010

silenthiller119 wrote:Thanks for the input, but I'd also like to hear you guys interpretations too!

(Note: I won't edit my first post, I'll just continue my thoughts in this post as to not confuse newcomers who read the other posts.) As to the Mystery Man and the ending, those are two things I still don't accept a concrete interpretation. Is he Fred's manifestation (then how does Andy see him at the party, saying he's a friend of Dick Laurent)? Is he a demon? Is the ending a transformation into another character (hence the title Lost Highway?) Is he being electrocuted in the electric chair?

Personally, I also don't believe every little thing in this movie requires extra thought compared to Mulholland Drive. I think it instead all just mainly focuses around the main idea of a man who imagines a second life. That's another reason why I prefer to sum up the film in my first post. It is indeed an experience, though, and should not be missed.


Is the Mystery Man Fred's manifestation? Hmmm. That's an interesting thought in which the Mystery Man then turns the video camera on himself ...

To me, the story is one part connecting stories and one part Twilight Zone. You mentioned "concrete interpretation" and I would agree no concrete story resonates with me. Perhaps Lost Highway is much like Fred remarks in the Lost Highway trailer ... "I like to remember things my own way. Not necessarily the way they happened."

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Re: Lost Highway Interpretations (Spoilers)

Postby blu » 28 Nov 2010

This is from a couple of years ago that I posted elsewhere, but thought it worth a repost here:

I was lucky enough to catch Lost Highway in the cinema this week.

It was a really small theatre, maybe 50 seats playing as part of a evening course on Lynch that I tried to sign up for but it filled up really quick and I missed the chance. Before I went in I wondered how they were going to project it, because it's the same place as I saw IE which I think was a digital presentation and I know that they've projected the cleaned up Eraserhead 2000 DVD there a few years back (which I missed). Anyways, it was a proper film projection. Really old print from what I can tell because the first reel was very dirty and scratched, but it improved as it went on and the last hour or so was virtually flawless.

I saw it with a couple of friends and we went for a couple of beers after and talked it over a bit. Knowing about my fascination with Lynch one of my friends particularly was asking me to fill in the blanks and explain stuff to him. I told him that Lynch has pretty much himself said that the film is about someone committing an act that they struggle to deal with mentally and go about creating an alternative reality for them to live in. But of course bits of reality intrude and unsettle the whole thing.

A few thoughts.

The sound design is quite brilliant. The low frequencies used are fantastic and rumbley. It was just a stereo mix that I saw with all sound coming directly from the front, a 5.1 mix of it on a top class home cinema set up must sound great.

The music used (needle drops, do they call it in the industry when using pre-existing pop type music?) is perfect. Bowie, Smashing Pumpkins, Lou Reed, Rammstein; they all work so well in the way they're used. I'll be laying my hands on a copy of the soundtrack.

I fell in love again with Patricia Arquette (as Alice more than Renee). This scene is glorious.

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I have to check back, but I think Lynch is having some fun with number plates in the Mulholland Dr tail-gating scene and that which immediately precedes it. The Robert Loggia rant is brilliant "do you know how many fucking car lengths it fucking takes to stop at 30 fucking miles per hour?". I think a bunch of people miss the humour in a lot of Lynch stuff and there were suspiciously few people laughing at some of the stuff I found funny.

Mystery Man scene at the party wasn't quite as compelling as I thought it would be. Maybe because I've seen it many times on those "50 scariest movie moments" type shows.

(On a side-note those shows must spoil so many films and TV shows for people. One I saw recently had the final scene from the final episode of Twin Peaks on it. They should come with huge spoiler warnings).

Couple of Exorcist references which I mentioned on RT a while back.

Jack Nance is terrific in his small role in the mechanics.

In general the structure intrigues me but it seems more flawy and isn't as tight as MD.

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Re: Lost Highway Interpretations (Spoilers)

Postby threnos » 26 Apr 2011

Maybe I will rewatch this film again to see if I understand a few more things. Off hand, though, I'll give a rough thing of what I remember or think it was about.

Fred and Renee are in a boring marriage. Fred is filled with jealousy over Renee's past encounters and believes that she is having an affair. Fred meets the Mystery Man who is supernatural. Fred murders Renee and does not remember it. Fred is arrested for killing Renee. Through the Mystery Man's powers Fred's face changes into Pete. Now free, Fred assumes Pete's identity. He meets Mr. Eddy and starts an affair with Eddy's mistress, Alice. To me Alice, at this stage, isn't Renee but rather the Mystery Man. It sounds odd but that explains why Renee's face became that of the Mystery Man during sex with Fred. If Fred's face can change then so can the Mystery Man's. Pete finds out that Mr. Eddy is Dick Laurent and that Alice once made pornos for him. Alice was really a past identity of Renee. This fact concerning his wife's past drove Fred insane and this is one of the reason's why he killed her. The Mystery Man manipulates Fred into killing Dick/Eddy. Fred gives himself the message that Dick is dead and then drives off, ready to assume another identity.

I thought I heard once, a long time ago, that Lost Highway was a sequel to Twin Peaks. I don't know if this is accurate but I sometimes view the Mystery Man as BOB, Fred as Dale Cooper and Renee as Annie.

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Re: Lost Highway Interpretations (Spoilers)

Postby peirucalueva » 11 May 2011

Somehow I don't care to analyze this film much at all. It's a rare film that I think works best just as a pure experience, and not something to be dissected. I don't mind coming up with interpretations, but I always end up finding none of them fit. None of them convey the power and visceral thrill achieved by simply watching the film. It's different from Mulholland which I think requires at least a bit of decoding to understand and unpack its full emotional impact.

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Re: Lost Highway Interpretations (Spoilers)

Postby kmkmiller » 17 Jul 2012

LOST HIGHWAY is more jarring because Lynch doesn't use the device of a head falling to a pillow and then showing the main character wake up later on. Fred literally morphs into Pete there in the jail cell. I read this in an SF Weekly review when I first saw the movie, so I can't claim credit for the insight, but structurally, LOST HIGHWAY is the myth of Orpheus and Euridyce, only the twist is Orpheus/Fred is the Euridyce's killer. Basically, Hades takes Euridyce, he morphs and descends into the underworld, LA, to get Renee/Alice, and then at the end when he admits he loves her (Orpheus looking back which he was told not to do by Hades), she says "You'll never have me."

At the time, I had no idea how much the Black Lodge was represented in all of Lynch's work so one day I need to watch LOST HIGHWAY again to track Lynch mythologies.

Opinion is LOST HIGHWAY is the scariest of Lynch's movies. The dread whipped up in the first half of the movie, with all the tracking shots down dark hallways, lights being beamed inside the vacant house, is just almost unbearable.

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Re: Lost Highway Interpretations (Spoilers)

Postby Siku » 18 Jul 2012

One viewing only, but I think the mystery man represents Fred's unconscious - the repository of his repressed memories, principly the memory of murdering his wife.

Fred says he doesn't like video cameras because he prefers to remember things his own way. This mis-remembering is repression, as the 'forgotten' bits are not 'forgotten' at all, but relegated to the unconscious. The camera threatens to undermine this repression, revealing the truth.

Freud said the unconscious is created through the process of repression. The reverse-exploding-shack that houses the mystery man shows us the form and process of repression - the flames are drawn into the shack, as it comes into existence (de-explodes), simultaneously being imprisoned by the unconscious AND creating the unconscious. If the unconscious is opened (shack explodes forwards) Fred's conscious and unconscious would be re-united, resulting in insanity.

The mystery man is holding a video camera, exemplar of true (and therefore repressed) memories, when he emerges from the shack.

When Fred meets the mystery man at the party the mystery man says this pretty clearly:

MM: We've met before, haven't we? [Unconscious was once conscious, before the process of repression]
Fred: I don't think so. Where was it that you think we met?
MM: At your house. [House = mind] Don't you remember? [He doesn't remember, of course]
Fred: No, no I don't. Are you sure?
MM Yes, of course. As a matter of fact, I'm there right now. [In Fred's head, in his unconscious. The repressed memories and the truth can't be escaped.]
...
Fred: How did you get inside my house?
MM: You invited me. [Through the process of repression] It is not my custom to go where I'm not wanted [because repression is a deliberate and FUNCTIONAL act]
Fred: Who are you?
MM: --Laughs-- [He's you Fred - YOUR unconcious!]

BTW underworld in the Orpheus myth = unconscious.
Last edited by Siku on 26 Jul 2012, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Lost Highway Interpretations (Spoilers)

Postby kmkmiller » 18 Jul 2012

yes, of course, it's why i need to see it again, the structure is just that, structure. The meaning, what the underworld represents for Lynch is probably the unconscious.

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Re: Lost Highway Interpretations (Spoilers)

Postby Siku » 18 Jul 2012

Yes, although Eurydice is dead, of course. So maybe the cigar is just a cigar.

I see from wiki that Orpheus was a great musician. Eurydice died because she was set upon by a satyr (male nymph/maniac) and fell into a nest of vipers (not cigars ;-) ), tying in with the blue movie back story.
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Re: Lost Highway Interpretations (Spoilers)

Postby Siku » 25 Jul 2012

Siku wrote:I think the mystery man represents Fred's unconscious - the repository of his repressed memories, principly the memory of murdering his wife.


Obvious really but just occurred to me how like the blue box this is.

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Re: Lost Highway Interpretations (Spoilers)

Postby Siku » 18 Feb 2013

Note: Re: The exploding shack as head-full-of-repressed-memories, Lynch using buildings as a metaphor for the mind was previously discussed here.

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Re: Lost Highway Interpretations (Spoilers)

Postby Erniesam » 15 Nov 2013

Because of my viewing of Lost Highway, I came up with my interpretation of Mulholland Drive. I have to say I find Lost Highway almost equally brilliant, though it is indeed much darker than MD. like people here have said. The main reason would be, that Fred realy did kill his wife out of jealousy and Diane does not.

The structure of LH is very similar to MD, though it is reversed. Where Diane begins with her dream and then her fantasy, we see Fred begin with a minor repression of his deed followed by a starker repression (hence the body swap).

At the very beginning we see Fred sitting in some room and we hear noises and doors slam: he is in prison and has just been interrogated by the detectives. When he sits alone in his cell he qwuickly escapes into his fantasy again. He hears: Dick Laurent is dead through the intercom, but he sees nobody outside. That's because he himself has spoken these words ino the intercom in reality, just before he killed hisw wife. We know this, because at the end when Fred speaks these words he realises what he has done and than he descends into madness. And the shaking in the car could be imagined or indeed his real suffering in the electric chair.

As for Alice and Pete, that to me seems logical. She says while making love: "You will never have me," and she walks away. At that moment Pete changes into Fred again. That's because the personage of Pete hasn't any use anymore: reality has creeped in and his personage can't keep the fantasy alive anymore.

There's so much to tell about this movie. It isn't as rich in detail as MD, but still highly complex and very interesting.

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