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Let’s Keep Talking About Mulholland Drive, Shall We?

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Commenter-Charles had some interesting things to say about the film (and I hope you enjoy the Flak tracks Charles!):

I love MH, and wrote a synopsis of its structure back when it came out on dvd for some friends. There’s 2 schools of thought on Lynch, that he’s a irrationalist (an image that he tries to spread in his popular interviews) and that he’s quite rational (but a certain type, namely one who doesn’t provide answers before the question). I believe his narratives are too tightly structured to place him in the former category, as MH demonstrates (contrary to the outlook of, say, Martha Nochimson). Your dream within a dream scenario points to what I see as Lynch’s dismantling of the Hollywood dream while still using film’s oneiric qualities (what’s Reason to do when it falls through the rabbit hole? The only rational thing it can, adapt). There’s too many specific connections between the earlier dream sequence and the later reality sequence and the embedded flashback sequences (e.g., the key being there and then missing and how it clears up the significance of the box) for me to believe that this segment is on the same plane as the earlier one. But the last shot of the ghosts over Hollywood, in what seems a nod to Anger’s cover to Hollywood Babylon (but it’s a been a little while since I’ve seen the film), seems to either be a nod to Hollywood’s potential and inevitable lure, or a final bit of cynicism, or (probably) both. Anyway, the film strikes me as using dream (i.e., film) to critique dream (i.e., the Dream Factory) while casting a skeptical eye on itself (i.e., being a continuation of the factory through it’s allusions to Classic Hollywood to reinforce its meanings, such as the reversal of the homosexual love triangle from GILDA, from which Rita gets her name).

But I look forward to hearing the commentary to see where they go with it. Thanks.


Good stuff Charles! Although, just to defend my interpretation a bit, what do you make of the fact that “Silencio” is present in both parts of the film–and, even more importantly, that Betty & Rita see Diane dead before this tableau can possibly have taken shape in “real” life? I don’t think there are any definite answers to this question, and there certainly is a lot of textual evidence to support the Diane-is-real/Betty’s-a-dream interpretation… Still, even if that’s what Lynch intended, he can’t (as you say) seem to help undermining himself with stuff that doesn’t fit with the rational explanation, and I love that! It doesn’t suit me at all to believe that the only thing in that box is one paltry crime of passion!

Couldn’t the correspondences be more of a comment upon the fact that, no matter what “mode” we think we are dreaming in, we always dream according to certain patterns? And we’re never quite able to dream (or live or think!) our way past the moment of ultimate fulfilment/catastrophe? If this were merely the story of one woman’s disillusionment, it could never have held my brain in its thrall for this long! I prefer to think of the film as a breathtaking expresson of my own personal credo–the universe isn’t broken, it is a break-up!

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About David Fiore

  • Vern Halen

    I’m just glad to see someone can write about this movie intelligently. Most people I know don’t get it, and I don’t always get it myself. But it was enjoyable as another strange but fascinating David Lynch piece.

  • Eric Olsen

    can you “get it” and still be pissed off about it?

  • mike hollihan

    Sorry, but the too-large graphic at the top stretches the sides of the center column out so far I have to scroll half a screen just to try to read it! Nope, not gonna do that. Can someone resize the graphic back to a more browser friendly size? Thanks.

  • David Fiore

    mike: that must be a browser-specific problem…it certainly looks fine in Mozilla Firebfox

    Eric: definitely! it’s a jarring shift and there’s no reason to suppose that it’s going to jar everyone toward bliss as it did me!

    incidentally–if people are interested, there’ve been some lengthy comments by some perceptive folks added to my original blog entry here.


  • mike hollihan

    David: how odd! I’m using FireFox .9.3! On a Win98SE box. Hmmm….

  • Phillip Winn

    It’s not a browser thing, it’s a screen-width thing. On a 17″ iMac, there is no problem, but if I manually resize my browser window, the image is just too darn large.

    It needs to be resized down to something like 256×144, methinks.

  • boomcrashbaby

    It’s a 1024 pixel wide image. On a 640×480 screen, the picture will be twice as wide as the monitor. On a 1024 pixel wide screen, the picture will fill the monitor. It works like that.