Sunday, April 11, 2004

Mulholland Drive: Some Analysis

From Barbelith

I don't really see the limbo idea, because I think the first two thirds of the movie make the most sense when see from Betty/Diane's perspective. That whole sequence is about Diane's desire to both be, and to be with Camilla/Rita. She divorces Camilla from her role as a compettitor for roles (hence the creation of the new Camilla), and makes her into someone who needs Diane's help, rather than in reality, where Diane is the one in need of Camilla's help.

When Betty dresses her up in the wig, they look quite similar, to the point that once Betty has provided the box, she's not needed anymore, and just disappears. To me, the box is Betty's acceptance of death. In the diner, she asks "What does it open," and when it finally is opened, the dream/vision is over, and Betty dies. The Club Silencio scene is all about Betty coming to terms with the fact that her world is an illusion, a recording playing back the moments of her life, in a distorted manner. Realizing that, she finds the box, which is basically death, and opens it, and everything ends.

The most challenging part of the film is the moments after the box is opened, but before it goes int the real world segments. Aunt Ruth's entrance is tough. I think it's to show that Betty and Ria have merged, and are no longer in Aunt Ruth's apartment, they've been moved somewhere else. And then, we see the Cowboy telling her to wake up. Then, we see the dead body. I think by "wake up" he means leave the dream world, and go into the afterlife/actually die, basically to move on. And then, we go right into the real world, in an essentially seamless transition.

The thing I love about the real world sequences (last third of the movie) is the way that Lynch connects things not by linear time, but by feeling. The connection between Camilla telling Diane they can't see each other any more, "because of him," and then cutting immediately to Kesher and Camilla together.

Though even in the "real world" sequences, a lot of it is seen from Diane's point of view. Like the second love scene is in fact Diane's wank fantasy, the pain of Camilla rejecting her overtaking the pleasurable beginning of the scene, when they were together. If that scene is strict reality, it doesn't make much sense why Camillla would be choose to break up with Diane, while lying topless on her couch.

At the end of the movie, after a bit of the "real world" business, we go back to subjective narration. Diane, remembering the bum she saw behind Winkie's (an incident which is re-assigned to the other guy in the dream, perhaps because she didn't want to face it), imagines said bum unleashing the symbol of her Hollywood dreams, the old people (who are not her parents, but the judges of the Jitterbug contest, which she won back in Deep River), tormenting her, taunting her with how far she has fallen. The bum and the old people are opposites, one the symbol of her fears of what she could become, and the other, her hopes and dreams. The old people come out of the box, because it is connected to her death, they are the ones who drive her to kill herself.

Then, in the end, we see a representation of the first chunk of the film, Betty and Rita against the skyline, menaced by the bum. And finally, "silencio," as a mood appropriate closer. I like the idea above that the reliving of the real world may all have taken place at Club Silencio, though I'm not sure it fits into my view of the movie's chronology. I think the women is an extradimensional entity, like the Cowboy (or Bob, the Mystery Man or The Man from Another Place), and when she says "silencio," the dream world is closed, Diane "wakes" from the dream, into death.

Related Posts
The Three Phases of David Lynch: Phase I (12/13/2004)
The Three Phases of David Lynch: Phase II: Part I (12/14/2004)
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (7/26/2005)