juggernaut of sin (dubiously) wrote in mulholland__dr,
juggernaut of sin

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Newbie Theories

I watched Mulholland Drive for the first time a couple of days ago.   Afterward, I got online and read all the reviews, theories and explanations I could find.  Then I watched the movie again.

There seems to be one main recurring theory for the film that I kept finding, and while I agree with several aspects of it, I do have a few ideas of my own.

Hmm, where to begin?

First of all, I have to say that I do believe that the first three quarters of the film, with Betty and Rita, are a dream of Diane's.  I believe this dream ends when Diane is awoken by the woman knocking on her door.  This follows along with the general theory I have read.

However, I have a different interpretation of the 'neighbor':  When I first watched the film, I felt that the interaction between Diane and the neighbor seemed like the result of an ended relationship.  My very first impression was that she was Diane's ex-lover come to collect her property.  Then, when Camilla, aka Rita, was introduced to this story line, I forgot all about that.  On my second watch of the film, I couldn't help but get the same impression of ex-lovers.  So, I think the real ex-girlfriend, Diane's real ex-lover, is actually the neighbor.  I don't believe that Camilla, in the form of Rita, ever existed at all.  And looking closely at the neighbor and Camilla/Rita, I have to admit that while they don't look much alike in appearance, their hair is strikingly similar.  While that might not seem like much to go on to assume they are the same character in different form, well, these are dreams and surreality that we're talking about.  I think in Diane's despair of the ended relationship and her belief that her life has become a complete failure, her mind morphs her ex-lover into an image that is more desirable, her perfect woman.

This leads to my second thought:  I think that most of the last third of the movie is also a dream.  In fact, IMO, the only parts of the entire movie that are Diane's reality are the scenes in which she is wearing the nightgown and robe.  She answers the door for her ex-lover, makes some coffee and stares at the key, then kills herself.  While I believe these scenes to be the reality, I think Diane is also hallucinating during them.  She imagines Camilla, the Camilla from the dreams, in her kitchen, and then the elderly couple chasing her.

I have a completely different theory for the blue key, as well.  I think the key is exactly that, a key that opens a lock.  Throughout the entire film, we are led to question it and believe that it is somehow symbolic, and in the dreams, it certainly is.  But I think for reality, it is merely a key.  The key to Diane's apartment that she shared with her girlfriend and which has now been returned.  She stares at it in despair as a representation of her ended relationship, not evidence of a successful assassination. 

At this point, I would like to address some reasons why I think the last portion of the film is also a dream.  First, the montage manner in which the scenes are presented give it far more of a dreamlike quality than even the first portion of the film.  The jumping of scene to scene, and the jumping of scenes within scenes, make me skeptical.  Second, there is the scene where Camilla shows up at Betty's apartment, and Betty tells her, "This is not easy for me!"  This seems completely out of place, in that, supposing this is a scene from the film's reality, Diane had only recently moved to that apartment.  I just cannot reconcile Camilla being at that location in reality.  Third, when Camilla approaches the limousine to walk Diane to the dinner party, her appearance is perfectly timed and gives her the air of Diane's savior come to rescue her from the nightmare.  Finally, the actions of Camilla and Adam during the dinner party seem completely irrational to me.  Their making out and hysterical laughter, particularly in front of Adam's mother, just does not seem like something people would do outside of a dream to me.  Then throw in the blond Camilla come over to kiss the brunette Camilla, in front of both Adam and his mother, plus the way the women appear to do so just to spite Diane, is also odd.

So to me, this is a film about a girl who went to Hollywood with dreams of stardom.  After a failed career and relationship, she begins to lose her grip on reality and her sanity.  She has dreams/hallucinations of what might have been, one pleasing and one frightening.  When the enormity of her failures appear unsurpassable, she commits suicide.  Then, in death (the eternal sleep and/or dream), she is seen as successful in Hollywood with Rita, her pleasing dream woman, her life the way she had wanted it to be.  (My interpretation of the ending scene of their 'ghosts' over the Hollywood backdrop.)  The return to the theatre with the woman whispering "Silencio" concludes the second portion of the film, in the same manner as the first portion, the ending of a dream.  I think it is also there to remind us that anything up to that point (i.e., the entire film) is suspect and we are to be wary of taking it as reality.

In fact, I think part of Lynch's entire trick on the audience is, even after the initial scene at the night club, where we are specifically told to view future events with skepticism, we still believe that the last portion of the film is the reality, in much the same way that Betty and Rita are still fooled into believing that the lip-synching woman on stage is actually singing. 

Obviously, I haven't gotten all of the kinks worked out of this theory yet, but I'm working on it.  I would love to hear what anyone else has to say about all of this.
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