David Lynch et al.
I can't seem to write a comment connected to Sara's question, so I'll just write another note here that's a response to the gist (I hope) of her inquiry.
There's a certain kind of story that plunges us into a set of mysteries and then does its best to explain those mysteries--Hawthorne's "My Kinsman, Major Molineaux" is an example of that, as is Poe's "The Purloined Letter." Modern or contemporary examples might include Richard Bausch's "What Looks Like the World" or Grace Paley's "The Little Girl." The mystery I'm talking about is purely plot-related, i.e., what actually happened? Other kinds of mysteriousness need not be explained away: why does Greta Conroy go on loving Michael Furey long after he's dead in James Joyce's "The Dead"? This is the mystery of human emotions, which need not be explained.
But David Lynch does something else: he presents a milieu much of the time that seems familiar--Twin Peaks, Idaho, or Los Angeles, and then he proceeds to create situational peculiarities that seem to require some sort of explanation. How did the surveillance camera get in the house? Where is it? Why is the little dancing dwarf uttering prophecy? Most of the time, Lynch does not actually give you much or any explanation. The result--the switch from realism to quasi-fantasy--for me is often not mysterious, but mystifying. And I guess I'd argue that mystery is fine, but mystification (the apparent promise that a solution will be offered followed by no explanation at all) is ultimately frustrating and aesthetically unsatisfying. Sometimes it feels like cheating. If I sound like Uncle Grumpy again, it's because Lynch's films are often mind-haunting but finally achieve their effects through narrative short-cuts. _Inland Empire_ just comes across as a series of unconnected vignettes, brilliant though they are.
So I'm arguing for mystery but not mystification. There you go.