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kaworu
Jul 23, 2004



I always thought it was sort of hilariously appropriate for David Lynch to be the first person to adapt Dune, at least in part because (similar to Herbert) Lynch also happens to be a heterosexual man who is largely totally ignorant and unaware of homosexuality and its trappings, and as such tends to deal with it insensitively (if it all). Frank Booth from Blue Velvet also has homosexual tendencies, and like the Baron is also totally malevolent and chaotically evil.

I thought it was especially perverse for Lynch to add cankers and lesions to the Baron's face in his adaptation, which happened to be made in 1984 during the height of when AIDS was rampaging untreated through the gay male community. I know that pissed a lot of people off, though I honestly don't think Lynch was consciously trying to make that connection, but more going for a thoroughly visceral reaction from the viewer - there are plenty of other inexplicably revolting (yet entirely appropriate) details which he added in the Harkonnen/Geidi Prime scenes.

I personally like to think that Herbert came closest to espousing his own views concerning homosexuality in the voices of both Moneo and Duncan, with Moneo probably representing Herbert's views on the issue as an older man, and Idaho representing his more traditional views on the issue that he likely held as a younger man. I think it goes a bit deeper, though, and that Herbert was trying to make a broader statement about the stubborn idiocy of bigots in general, as represented by Idaho. And he's not totally insensitive to bigots - Herbert obviously has a great deal of affection for Idaho, and even links some of his more chivalrous attitudes regarding women to the same place as his intolerance and disgust of homosexuality.

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kaworu
Jul 23, 2004



TheOmegaWalrus posted:

I have no idea where you're getting this, but I can assure you you're way off base here.

Please cite an example of a male homosexual David Lynch character that isn't malevolent or dark, in some way. He's got significantly less hangups when portraying lesbians, true - I should have been a bit more specific.

edit: The closest one I can really think of is Denise/Dennis Bryson from Twin Peaks, as portrayed by David Duchovny. But even this character - who I don't think is ever actually described as homosexual, just trans - is treated somewhat awkwardly, I'd argue. I'd also point out that Lynch has a brilliant sense of camp, which certainly endears him to many of us who can appreciate a queer sensibility. Nevertheless, I feel like it's notable that I can't think of a single positive portrayal of a gay man in any of his films.

kaworu fucked around with this message at 07:27 on Feb 19, 2021

kaworu
Jul 23, 2004



Debbie Does Dagon posted:

I found Denise during Season Two to be a broadly sympathetic character, but absolutely is played for laughs at several points, and I can't imagine they actually consulted with any people who are trans when creating or writing the character. I also don't think Lynch actually wrote or directed any of the significant Season Two Denise episodes, though I'm not sure what hand he played in creating her, if any.

Lynch does certainly seem to be either disinterested or disturbed by homosexual male characters though. The most significant male gay-coded character I can think of is Ben from Blue Velvet, whose sexuality seems to be used to disorient the audience and little more.

Yeah, the really lovely thing about the Denise Bryson character in season 2 is the way she interacts with Coop - I always felt like the fact that he puts his unwavering support behind Denise, and does so in a way that's totally supportive, non-judgmental, and way ahead of his time (or even our time) was a great expression of his character and sense of compassion. There is definitely some awkwardness and poor attempts at one-liners, but all in all it's aged VERY well. The plotline with Mr Tojamura, on the other hand, has not aged well at all.

And yeah, Ben is probably the most notable "gay" character in a Lynch film - aside from the Baron Harkonnen, anyway. Frank, also from Blue Velvet, is sexually menacing towards Kyle Maclachlan at certain points, I'd say.

I did forget about one scene from Mulholland Drive - the memorable Winky's Diner dream scene near the start of the film, with Patrick Fischler? It's a scene between him and another man, and the relationship between the two men is ambiguous - they could be friends, boyfriends, or perhaps even therapist and patient. I tend to think they're meant to be a couple, since they seem to be a mirror image of Betty/Rita to some extent, in the scene.

kaworu
Jul 23, 2004



I feel like there's a masterpiece somewhere in that film, and you can see glimmers of it here and there. And it's exciting and awesome because you know you're watching a filmmaker shoot for the moon - and ultimately miss. But it's a pretty goddamn magnificent failure.

I feel like Lynch wanted to make some kind of sci-fi Lawrence of Arabia, and the studio wanted a by-the-numbers Star Wars-esque money-maker. It's a shame we'll never really know what Lynch's real vision for that film would have looked like.

kaworu
Jul 23, 2004



I'm actually not sure if everyone really understands just what happened in that 1984 production of Dune - it happened a long time ago, and I wouldn't really blame anyone for forgetting.

Anyway, back then Lynch had only made two extremely different films: the wildly unconventional Eraserhead, and the surprisingly conventional The Elephant Man but had developed an extraordinary buzz around himself, mostly because of the former film , of course - Stanley Kubrick's favorite, don't you know! So everyone wanted to give Lynch a ton of money to direct their big-budget film and do brilliant things with it - he was even approached by George Lucas to direct Return of the Jedi during this time - what a hoot that meeting must have been.

So Lynch winds up in the early '80s with Dino De Laurentis' production company, and they absolutely believe that they are "making Star Wars for grown-ups" and that this will be like the first part of a trilogy, and an action-packed two-hour sci-fi extravaganza. But they apparently didn't discuss this with Lynch, who is painstakingly working on the script through seven different drafts and trying to construct this 3-hour-long spiritual epic in the desert with a very firm ending and resolution - and this is not what the production company wants at all. So after Lynch finishes production on the film he wanted to make, the studio more or less kicked him out of the editing process and denied him any influence in the final cut unless he went along with their releasing a version 136 minutes long that was not at all the film Lynch thought he'd been making. So he does this, and they condense a bunch of stuff via ham-handed voice-over narration and filming some abbreviated scenes. It cuts the life out of the film and destroys the pacing, as is obvious. Later on, a truly horrific 186-minute extended edition of the film (not a director's cut) was released on television, which offended Lynch so much he insisted any mention of his name be replaced with "Alan Smithee."

Lynch still refuses to talk about the process of filming Dune, and I can understand that he takes his art pretty seriously - and he should. I think that was the last time he ever just "took someones word" and didn't insist on ironclad final cut in any future contract he signed, so he learned his lesson, at least. Even if nobody ever gave him that kind of money ever again, really.

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