I spent a couple of days in Bendigo with Helen this week, and we had a rather odd and yet weirdly delightful 'Lynch-like' experience together when we ventured out to view The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion. Built in the same design as the Great Stupa of Gyantse in Tibet which is 50 metres high and 50 metres square at its base, when it is completed The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion will be the largest stupa outside of Asia. It is fair to say that the stupa is completely awe inspiring and grand in every way, and that something of this nature is going to be a beacon to many colourful and interesting people, both now and for years to come.
Whilst Helen and I were roaming the massive gardens that surround the stupa, we were approached by a rather odd, shuffling, weather-beaten old man in a sunhat that appeared to be absolutely wasted. He informed us that it was in our best interests to follow a path that wound through the bush to visit the nearby monastery, which was apparently a delight to behold. Okay, weird guy, thanks for that.
Anyway, being the Nosey Nellys that we are, we did follow the rather dodgy gravel path, and it lead to....wait for it.....The Yellow Brick Road! I shit you not, it was yellow and bricked and also labelled 'The Yellow Brick Road' aka The Pathway to Enlightenment. Well, how can one resist? This was clearly becoming an epic adventure.
Okay, so this is where things got really fricken weird. Probably should've seen that coming when we agreed to follow 'weird guy's' advise, but anyway.... Along the path were numerous...well I can only call them offerings, left by God only knows who and they were labelled with the craziest gobbledegook that I have ever read in my life, and that's saying something! There were various collections of offerings, some that had stuffed animals (some even hanging in the trees - my favourite being the gorilla with the rotting banana shoved under his arm) plastic dinosaurs and snakes, crappy wooden tiki sculptures, culturally insensitive concrete natives, gnomes and mushrooms, animal bones and skulls and various other things that just shouldn't have been there.
Helen and I were waiting to be offered a nice long glass of Kool Aid, because this lovely meander throught the bush had suddenly turned into wrong turn at Jones Town for us. It was truly freaky shit, which we both found absolutely hysterical and almost died of laughter from. And then suddenly, there it was, the monastery. And yes, it was amazing, marble sculptures of the various Buddhas, it was bloody incredible actually. You just had to get throught the weird, acid trip, 'yellow brick road' to get there.
The rest of the time that we were there, we were quite suspicious about what actually goes on at the stupa after hours, given the weirdness of some of it, but it did give us a shitload to laugh about for the rest of the day.
We had a picnic lunch around the lake, and I think that the passersby thought that we were absolutely mental, because we were literally rolling around on our picnic rug with rawkus laughter recalling the things that we had seen on The Yellow Brick Road. I'm pretty certain that our rather unusual visit to The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion was an experience that even David Lynch himself could've gleaned some inspiration from, it had art-house stamped all over it!
Release Date: 1990
Rating: MA 15+
Running Time: 125 mins
An American crime thriller written and directed by David Lynch, and based on the 1989 Barry Gifford novel of the same name. This film is essentially a road trip movie with some strange references to The Wizard of Oz. Wild at Heart was awarded the Palme d'Or at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival and although it received mostly negative critical review, it went on to become a cult classic.
When Sailor (Nicholas Cage) is released from jail, his sexy girlfriend Lula (Laura Dern) is there to collect him and hand him his snakeskin jacket. But Lula's psychopathic mother (Diane Ladd) goes insane with the idea of them being together and hires a killer to track them down. Lula and Sailor set out for California, having copious amounts of sex and meeting a series of weirdos along the way.
The goings on and the characters are so extreme in this that it makes the whole film feel surreal, something that Lynch is incredibly good at. The cast is fabulous overall, my favourite being Willem Dafoe's creepy portrayal of Bobby Peru, the biggest scumbag to ever grace the screen. It's an odd and often violently unsettling watch, but you wouldn't expect anything else from a Lynch movie.
FINAL SAY: The whole world is wild at heart, and weird on the top.
3 Chili Peppers