Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Just RE-watched...

...David Lynch's enigmatic "Mulholland Drive."

Let's see... what can I possibly write about this superb David Lynch film that has not already been written? There are entire books and websites dedicated solely to uncovering and unearthing the mysteries and meanings of this highly enigmatic tale. The Wiki page itself is pretty extensive.

As with so many of Lynch's films, we have two stories going on, possibly at the same time, with two sets of characters. And like so many of Lynch's films, the story seems to be cyclical, with realities inside realities, or rather realities giving rise to realities. The events and characters circle around themselves, causing a chicken-or-egg conundrum. Is Betty Elms (played by Naomi Watts) a fresh-faced girl from Canada arriving in Hollywood or is she jaded, grizzled, bitter actress Diane Selwyn? Is Rita (played by Laura Elena Harring) an amnesiatic mob mistress or is she calculating, fame-seeking, cruel actress Camilla Rhodes?

Filmed in his usual Gothic, decaying-Los Angeles style (the title itself is a reference to the famed road in the Santa Monica mountains that looms above and looks down on Hollywood), the narrative is symbolic and dream-like without becoming abstract, unlike Lynch's last film "Inland Empire." We are still left with questions at the end of "Mulholland Drive," but at least we know the questions. "Inland Empire" relies heavily on a pre-verbal, pre-conscious method of story telling that works better the less one attempts to impose order. Although "Mulholland Drive" may share some of the same kind of dream logic, it plays much more like a metaphysical mystery. Since the film is divided into two sections, we must ask ourselves if we are watching Rita's dream of Diane and Camilla... or are we watching Diane dream of a better life as Betty and her girlfriend Rita? I'm not sure there are any answers... and I am not sure Lynch wants there to be answers either. Considering how his films spring from a subconscious place, one simply needs to experience it on a subconscious level. Don't ask questions, don't look for answers. Just let it exist and sift down to your subconscious.

In the original 2002 DVD release of "Mulholland Drive," there is a card entitled "David Lynch's 10 Clues to Unlocking This Thriller". The clues are:

1) Pay particular attention in the beginning of the film: At least two clues are revealed before the credits.
2) Notice appearances of the red lampshade.
3) Can you hear the title of the film that Adam Kesher is auditioning actresses for? Is it mentioned again?
4) An accident is a terrible event — notice the location of the accident.
5) Who gives a key, and why?
6) Notice the robe, the ashtray, the coffee cup.
7) What is felt, realized and gathered at the Club Silencio?
8) Did talent alone help Camilla?
9) Note the occurrences surrounding the man behind Winkie's.
10) Where is Aunt Ruth?

Recommend? Certainly. But as with so many films I recommend here, this comes with a caveat: this is not a typical, popular-at-the-Cineplex film. It requires attention, patience, powers of interpretation, and a willingness to work with ambiguous psychological states.


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