In May, the science journal The Psychologist published an article discussing the psychology of psychosis in the context of David Lynch's last film, Inland Empire (2006). The full text of the article is now online. From "David Lynch and Psychosis":
Watching a David Lynch film can give the viewer the impression that the director intuitively understands the underlying mechanisms of psychotic experience. Furthermore, in an age where experiential and subjective approaches to understanding mental illness have fallen out of favour, David Lynch may also offer some insight into the feeling of what it is like to suffer from psychosis...Link to The Psychologist, Link to buy Inland Empire on DVD (via Mind Hacks)
The disorientation engendered by the experience of hallucinations is another tool in David Lynch’s armoury. In Inland Empire, sequences from dreams and earlier versions of the film being shot by Jeremy Irons’ director character are interspersed with footage of the ‘reality’ in which Laura Dern is an actress making ‘High on Blue Tomorrows’. This idea of showing multiple levels of reality is a characteristic of Lynch films. Unlike other directors he goes to great lengths to disorient the viewer by removing the conventional indictors that normally signpost the transition from one text world to another (Werth, 1999). This tendency to remove the tools that allow audiences to monitor the source of what they are witnessing may elicit an experience that resembles the psychotic patient being ‘taken in’ by their hallucinations.
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.