Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
David Lynch, 1992, 134’

In the town of Twin Peaks, everybody has their secrets – but no one more than Laura Palmer. In this prequel to his groundbreaking 1990s television series, David Lynch resurrects the teenager found wrapped in plastic at the beginning of the show, following her through the last week of her life and teasing out the enigmas that surround her murder.


“Je n'ai pas la télévision, je n'ai donc pas pu partager la passion de Serge (Daney) pour le feuilleton. Et j'ai mis longtemps à aimer Lynch, je n'ai en fait commencé qu'avec Blue Velvet. L’appartement d'Isabella Rossellini, Lynch a réussi à en faire le décor le plus malaisant de l'histoire du cinéma. Comme Twin Peaks, le film est le film le plus fou de l'histoire du cinéma. Je ne sais pas ce qui s'est passé, je ne sais pas ce que j'ai vu, mais je suis sorti de là six pieds au-dessus du sol.”

Jacques Rivette1


“Let us take one of the supreme examples of this extraneation, the strange scene from Fire Walk with Me in which Gordon Cole of the FBI (played by Lynch himself) instructs Agent Desmond and his partner Sam using the grotesque body of a feminine figure he refers to as Lil. Lil (whose face is covered with theatrical white and who wears a patently artificial red wig and a cartoon-like red dress to which is pinned an artificial blue rose) performs a series of exaggerated theatrical gestures, which Desmond and Sam decode as they go to work on the case. Is this uncanny staging really to be read as expressing Cole’s inability to communicate properly (signaled also by his inability to hear and need to shout), which is why he can only get his message through by reducing the feminine body to a cartoon-like two-dimensional puppet performing ridiculous gestures? Doesn’t such a reading miss the properly Kafkaesque quality of this scene, in which the two detectives accept this strange instruction as something normal, as part of their daily communication?”

Slavoj Žižek2


“With Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, he shows the triumph that Laura Palmer accomplishes even through her death, a triumph that evinces an ability to follow the logic of fantasy to its traumatic endpoint in a way that none of the living characters within Twin Peaks can. The television series Twin Peaks is the story of how all the other characters fail Laura Palmer. The film Fire Walk with Me contrasts with a vision of her success.”

Todd McGowan3

  • 1Jacques Rivette in Frédéric Bonnaud, “Jacques Rivette. Le captif amoureux”, Les Inrockuptibles, 1998.
  • 2Slavoj Žižek, The Art of the Ridiculous Sublime: On David Lynch’s Lost Highway (Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 2000), 25.
  • 3Todd McGowan, “Lodged in a Fantasy Space: Twin Peaks and Hidden Obscenities”, in: Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock and Catherine Spooner, eds. Return to Twin Peaks: New Approaches to Materiality, Theory, and Genre on Television (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), 155-156.
UPDATED ON 27.09.2020