Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Dream a little dream
One might have thought, after the scene in Living In Oblivion where Peter Dinklage lays down the law, that nobody would dare to put a dwarf in a dream sequence ever again. In fact, the meme still crops up on a regular basis, but if you do indulge in achondroplastic reveries, you’re expected to put big quotation marks around them. When David Lynch cast Michael J Anderson in Mulholland Dr, it wasn’t about dwarfs per se, it was a recognition lollipop to fans of Twin Peaks; and in any case, you weren’t supposed to know whether the whole thing was a dream or not. Similarly, the dwarf in In Bruges was an actor in a film, which is a bit like being in a dream, but not quite (which is the whole point of Living In Oblivion).
On this basis, Werner Herzog presumably thought he could get away with it in his latest, My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done, because Lynch is one of the 12 (count ’em!) executive producers, so it becomes a cheeky nod to his colleague’s penchant, rather than a tired metaphor for encroaching madness. The fact that what he ended up with was more of a mid-level Coen Brothers effort than anything Lynchian is another matter entirely.
Moving media, David Mitchell (this one, rather than that one or that one) has a go in his most recent novel, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. The central figure falls asleep and dreams he is confronted by a hunchbacked dwarf wielding a leg of pork, although it soon transpires that it’s not a dream; and it’s not a dwarf; and, most disturbingly, it’s not actually pork...