Inland Empire is a 2006 film written and directed by David Lynch and was his first feature film since 2001's Mulholland Drive. The feature took two-and-a-half years to complete, and was Lynch's first film to have been shot entirely in standard definition digital video. The film is a co-production of France, Poland and the United States. It premiered in Italy at the Venice Film Festival on 6 September 2006.
The cast includes such Lynch regulars as Laura Dern, Justin Theroux, Harry Dean Stanton and Grace Zabriskie, as well as Jeremy Irons, Karolina Gruszka, Peter J. Lucas, Krzysztof Majchrzak, Julia Ormond and Diane Ladd. There are also very brief appearances by Nastassja Kinski, William H. Macy, Laura Harring, Terry Crews, Mary Steenburgen and Ben Harper. The voices of Harring, Naomi Watts and Scott Coffey are included in excerpts from Lynch's Rabbits website project.
Inland Empire was named the second-best film of 2007 (tied with two others) by Cahiers du cinéma, and listed among Sight & Sound's "thirty best films of the 2000s", as well as The Guardian 's "10 most underrated movies of the decade".
The film opens to the sound of a gramophone playing Axxon N, "the longest-running radio play in history". Meanwhile, a young prostitute, identified in the credits as the "Lost Girl", cries while watching television in a hotel room, following an unpleasant encounter with her client. The Lost Girl’s television displays a family of surrealistic anthropomorphic rabbits who speak in cryptic statements and questions. Occasionally, there are laugh track responses within these Rabbit scenes. These three elements become recurring motifs throughout Inland Empire.