Still from Inland Empire (2006) - Laura Dern and actresses
Still from Inland Empire (2006) - Laura Dern and actresses
Inland Empire (2006)

ACMI and Fireflies Press present

Inland Empire – book launch and screening

David Lynch | U.S.A. | 2006 | MA15+

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We launch Melissa Anderson's new book on Inland Empire with a screening of David Lynch's experimental feature starring Laura Dern and a who’s who of Hollywood.

ACMI is proud to be a publishing partner on the Decadent Editions: 10 books about 10 films by Fireflies Press. The series continues with Melissa Andersons's book on Inland Empire with a screening of the film, an accompanying talks program and book launch in the ACMI Shop. The book will be available to purchase on the night from the ACMI Shop.

Please note that your ticket to the Fri 12 Nov event screening includes a drink on arrival in the ACMI Shop plus admission to the screening.

About the film

Inland Empire is just as notorious among cinephiles and David Lynch obsessives for what happened behind the camera as it is for what happened in front of it. Yet you don’t enter into a Lynchian cinematic venture expecting it to be normal: you want it to be weird and terrifying and captivating all at once. Dern famously recounted a story about a producer on the film asking whether Lynch was joking when he requested a one-legged woman, a monkey and a lumberjack in a one-hour turnaround, to which she replied "Yeah, you're on a David Lynch movie, dude. Sit back and enjoy the ride."

An experimental feature shot predominantly on a Sony camcorder by Lynch, Inland Empire baffled its stars as much as audiences when it premiered at Venice. The plot, like most Lynch plots, is layered and complex. In its simplest form, it follows a troubled film production as an actress (Laura Dern) and leading man (Justin Theroux) find their lives unravelling around them during the shoot. Making up Inland Empire's eclectic supporting cast are Harry Dean Stanton, Jeremy Irons, Julia Ormond. Terry Crews, Mary Steenburgen, and William H. Macy (to name a few).

Lynch has long been obsessed by the balance of light and dark, often utilising Dern as the lighthouse: the beacon of hope and illumination as the weight of darkness, corruption and insidiousness fester at the edge of frame. Lynch has been a seminal figure in Dern's development as an actress and an artist across Blue Velvet (1986) and Wild At Heart (1990), and any time the pair reunite it’s unmissable… even if the occasion is as weird and baffling as Inland Empire.

– Maria Lewis, Assistant Curator

Format: DCP
Language: English
Source: Icon Film
Courtesy: Icon Film
Duration: 180 min


180 mins



Strong themes, violence, coarse language and sexual references


6pm: Book launch (ACMI Shop, Ground Floor)
7pm: Screening (Cinema 1, Level 2)

How to get to ACMI


Get discounted tickets, invitations to exclusive previews, discounts in our shop and special food and beverage offers.


About the book

Inland Empire (softcover) by Melissa Anderson – $21

"A whirling, digressive journey through time and place, cinema and storytelling, Anderson’s slim yet mighty volume is a transcendent work of queer, feminist film criticism, saturated in deep scholarship, affection and respect for Lynch and their shared muse, Laura Dern." – Jenni Olson

About the author
Melissa Anderson is the film editor of 4Columns. From 2015 to 2017 she was the senior film critic for the Village Voice. She is a frequent contributor to Artforum and Bookforum.

Buy now
Inland Empire - Melissa Anderson - Fireflies Press

Wild at Heart: The films of Laura Dern

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