Lost Souls on a Lost Highway

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When watching Lost Highway, I noticed there are a few echoes between this movie and Eraserhead, the most notable one that they both feature a protagonist who wishes to escape realities of his responsibilities. However, instead of trying to reach a form of his ego ideal (inner image of oneself as one wants to become), Fred tries to embody his ego ideal by creating a persona that is able to accomplish the feats he could not. In this case it was trying to overcome the idea that his wife sees him as inferior in his self-worth. Much as Hiegal felt there was a fundamental need for recognition from supposed conquered subjects, Fred in this case does not feel that he has accomplished that. Although his wife is with him physically, she was more mentally and sexually involved with Dick (no pun intended). At the climax of his fantasy, the image of her gaining satisfaction from sexual intimacy with another man is repeatedly projected to him. Her face in the projection greatly contrasts to the facial expressions when they were intimate, which shows that he has not quite gained recognition from her in being a man. She also clearly states that he will never have her, which seems to jar him back to the reality of the situation where he is unable to fulfill her, which causes unfulfillment in his perception of his self worth.

 

Going back tot he parallel between Lost Highway and Eraserhead, Lynch seems to make these movies similar in filming techniques. In both cases there is similarly acted dialogue and similar use of murdering the object seen as standing in the way of the protagonist’s happiness. The woman on the stage in Eraserhead almost mirrors Alice in appearance and their role to the character as their objet petit a; one they strive for throughout the movie and almost close to obtaining at the end.  This forms the idea that there is meant to some other connections drawn between these two movies. They are both striving for a fantasy that they feel is reachable if they are able to move a roadblock in their path. In Henry’s case it was the offspring and in Fred’s case it was Dick. In Henry’s case, it’s ambiguous as to whether or not he managed to fulfill that desire. However in Fred’s case, it seems that although he managed to kill the object in his path, he was still not able to obtain happiness (this could be taken from the fact that he is still on the lost highway at the very end of the movie). One factor that could account for the difference is the embodiment of their “consciousness”. Henry’s was more innocent in appearance and almost represents a more angelic figure, whereas Fred’s resembled more of a demonic like figure. Henry never directly met his until the end, whereas Fred’s directly appeared to him towards the beginning. This could present the idea that by having the ego ideal too close to one’s own psychical being, that this could the person to escape from their problems, yet not the consequences. By placing the ideal father from the person (like in Henry’s case) there is a sense that the person can more easily escape to their ideal world. But in Fred’s case he was unable to escape the consequences of his action, resulting in him literally being chased by his responsibilities. 

All images are from Google. I retain no rights.

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