Whose Story is This? The Non-existence of the External Gaze in David Lynch’s Films

Author: Asli Favaro, Ege University, Turkey
Email: asli.favaro@ege.edu.tr
Published: August 17, 2018

Citation: Favaro, A. (2018). Whose Story is This? The Non-existence of the External Gaze in David Lynch’s Films. IAFOR Journal of Media, Communication & Film, 5(3). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijmcf.5.1.03


The tendency to eschew a coherent narrative has been very common especially since the 1990s and a certain approach to narration has become observable within postmodern cinema: the viewer is denied access to the truth and realities concerning dramatic structure and characters, either during part of the narrative, or throughout the entire movie. For instance, Stuart Mitchell (1999) points out that in David Lynch’s Lost Highway, as Lynch himself points out, the dream/dreaminess is neither a fantasy nor a delusion but something intrinsic to the character, thus what we watch is essentially the story of the main character and it is realistic according to his logic. Analysing the David Lynch’s Lost Highway (1997), Mulholland Drive (2001) and Twin Peaks: The Return (2017), this article will discuss how any attempt by the viewer to achieve the truth and to distinguish reality from fantasy may be fruitless and how the filmic or fictional reality may result undistinguishably from so-called material reality. I argue that the viewer moves and stumbles with the gaze of the camera which reveals that the reality is something constructed, and that the objective reality of an external gaze doesn’t exist.


external gaze, David Lynch, reality, fantasy, reconstructed reality, dream