The Thinking Machine 5

One Hell of a Ride

Adrian Martin and Cristina Álvarez López reflect on the art of filmmaking in monthly video essays.

Did Gregg Araki study David Lynch’s Inland Empire (2006) as he embarked on making his wild stoner comedy Smiley Face (2007)? Had Lynch heard about actor Dylan Haggerty’s Smiley Face script (which had done the industry rounds for several years under another title) before dreaming up Inland Empire? Who cares? Films intersect and talk to each other in mysterious, unconscious, atmospheric ways. This much is clear: certain things uncannily recur across these two movies, including suspicious ingestions, actors’ auditions, chases, canned TV laughter, ominous letters of the alphabet, animated animals, lamps, distorted faces in extreme close-up, scary hallucinations and visions … Not a mash-up, but a smash-up of two great monuments of contemporary cinema.