What is "real" in Mulholland Drive?

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somethingbad
 
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What is "real" in Mulholland Drive?

Postby somethingbad » 21 Nov 2010

I see it this way;
The opening shot of dancers and then Diane and the old couple is a daydream fantasy of Diane’s. We are clued into this by the blurry zoom that introduces Diane and the old couple into the scene – an effect we see again later when Diane is sitting on the sofa and trying to fantasise.
The next scene is a real shot of Diane moving across the bedroom and onto the bed – she looks for a few seconds at the floor by the side of the bed where so much else happens in the dream world.
Diane hits the pillow and dreams the main section of the film
Diane wakes up to the knocking and lets in the woman who has come for her dishes and lamp
Diane makes coffee and has a vision of Camilla in the kitchen – this establishes to us the audience that Diane has waking visions and is “seeing” Camilla where she is not.

As she goes to the sofa her robe acts as a curtain indicating to us that the next scene with Camilla is not real(not even a real flashback). She is again projecting the movie star image of Camilla over a real flashback.
The same with Camilla at the door – the scene maybe real or close to real but it did not happen with Camilla
She fails then to fantasise until the phone rings and she goes back the red lamp phone from the dream.
The first time we saw that phone was at the end of the chain of calls when Mr Roque said the girl is still missing. That time dreaming Diane was able to introduce Betty as the missing girl, in the hope of fooling Mr Roque.
This time she lets Mr Roque introduce the girl he wants into the story – Diane
That said the phone call is not a real memory but another daydream/fantasy. The same with the drive up to MD and the walk up the garden path is channelling much deeper memories that a recent walk with Camilla. Hence why Diane seems so child-like in the walk.
The pool scene brings Diane back down again from this fantasy to a more horrible one where Adam exists as Camilla’s love interest and Coco does not seem to like Diane at all.
Diane nearly breaks the fantasy here and comes back to her living room but keeps going and gets to the dinner table fantasy scene. When that becomes unbearable with the imminent announcement from Adam she breaks from that to the fantasy in the diner with Joe. After talking with Joe she really is “maxed out” and there’s nowhere left for her fantasies to take her and she’s back in her living room with her loopy thoughts.
The knock at the door sends her over the edge and she shoots herself.

This means that very little of what we see is “real” and nor should we consider too much of what we see to be based on reality. I agree with comments I’ve seen here that say it would be silly to reduce everything to “David Lynch made a film and that is all we can say” but I think we need to be careful to add too much to the real scenes that Lynch hasn’t put there.
The woman who comes to collect her dishes and lamp seems to be the only other person in a “real” scene and it’s no great stretch to see her as a former lover of Diane.
If Diane has been projecting Camilla onto her real lover then it’s her who says, “You’re playing a dangerous game here.” And “You drive me wild”, etc.

I think I will have finished my Mulholland Drive when I can fully park Rita/Dark-haired Camilla back up in the poster on the bathroom wall that dreaming Diane plucked her from!

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Re: What is "real" in Mulholland Drive?

Postby marksman » 21 Nov 2010

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Re: What is "real" in Mulholland Drive?

Postby somethingbad » 21 Nov 2010

Hey marksman, I read that you only watched the film a few weeks ago - I'm really impressed by how far under the bonnet of MD you have already got.

I can't disagree with your points(the eyes is the real clincher for me) - I guess they don't fit a theory I'm trying to shoehorn so I want that diner scene to be total fantasy BUT that "shoehorning" of events to fit theories is the very thing that should be avoided!

I'd like to reach a stage where I'm comfortable that Diane split up with Dishes and Lamp woman and that's what has caused all her stress. In this scenario there never was a "hit" other than the one she put on herself by living such a dangerously deluded life. I'll need to keep working at it...

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Re: What is "real" in Mulholland Drive?

Postby vicster111 » 21 Nov 2010

I am also thinking that there is not much, if anything, that is real in this film. I enjoyed reading your interpretation. Like Marksman's, I was given different ways to see certain scenes and what they could mean. I'm beginning to think that every scene in this film is some form of fantasy and that there is a tiny, twisted truth hidden in each one. The truth being twisted by Diane of course. And then she tries to take this new truth (a truth 'pretending to be something else') and mix it with wishful thinking to 'hide it'.

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Re: What is "real" in Mulholland Drive?

Postby vicster111 » 21 Nov 2010

By the way. Does anyone, who thinks all of this has everything to do with wish fulfillment, also think that the scene where Diane kills herself is also wish fulfillment? It doesn't actually happen?

And the scene afterwards with Betty and Rita together is more wish fulfillment? And the scene where the blue-haired lady declares "Silencio" yet more wish fulfillment?

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Re: What is "real" in Mulholland Drive?

Postby marksman » 21 Nov 2010

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Re: What is "real" in Mulholland Drive?

Postby danieltx » 21 Nov 2010

vicster111 wrote:By the way. Does anyone, who thinks all of this has everything to do with wish fulfillment, also think that the scene where Diane kills herself is also wish fulfillment? It doesn't actually happen?

And the scene afterwards with Betty and Rita together is more wish fulfillment? And the scene where the blue-haired lady declares "Silencio" yet more wish fulfillment?


I don't think the suicide is wish fulfillment - I think it's real. If the scene afterward with Betty and Rita was more wish fulfillment, how would you explain the bum being included in it?

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Re: What is "real" in Mulholland Drive?

Postby marksman » 21 Nov 2010

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Re: What is "real" in Mulholland Drive?

Postby vicster111 » 22 Nov 2010

how would you explain the bum being included in it?

This is a clue that she's not dead. We see things after she's supposedly shot herself. And if she's really dead, why is there no bloody splatter?

The bum is still there...doing it. Nothing that has been shown to us ends the existence of the bum. Basically we watched her go to sleep (probably after suffering through a nightmare fantasy, which is why she's breathing hard), wake up and sit on the couch all day. Nothing has happened to resolve her situation.

*********
I believe that when Diane is fantasizing while asleep (dreaming) the fantasy isn't a nightmare, for her anyway. The first part of the film was a dream come true for Betty, but could be seen as a nightmare by both Rita and Adam. When she fantasizes while awake, it always ends badly for her. She probably wants to sleep a lot and so she just stays in her nightgown and robe.

Dan says that he hopes he never sees the man outside of the dream, and the dream he was referring to was a frightful one. Not just for him but for everyone who was in it. This tells me that the man exists in one type of fantasizing, but not the other. And his existence means the fantasy will be a nightmare. The bum only affects Diane when she's fantasizing while awake. He does not affect her in sleeping dreams.

When we are awake we are conscious.

When we are asleep we are unconscious. I think this may tell us who the bum is.

I think that Diane cannot stop fantasizing. Her mind is broken. But she cannot survive by sleeping the days away to avoid nightmares while awake. She wishes she could end it all. This is why she fantasizes about killing herself. And fantasizes about silence.

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Re: What is "real" in Mulholland Drive?

Postby somethingbad » 22 Nov 2010

The Suicide
Is the suicide real could almost be a separate thread. I want to say the suicide is not real because that would sit more comfortably with the rest of my current thinking but to me the suicide looks like a real event, springing out of Diane’s deranged daydreams and merging with her hallucinations. I see it like this; If i was asked, "Does Diane make a cup of coffee for herself after she wakes up?", I'd answer, "Yes but she does she interrupt herself with a vision of Camilla!"

I’d prefer to see the suicide as symbolic and taking place in a dream of some sort but the clues that we had that earlier scenes were daydreams or dreams are not properly present with the suicide scene.
The scene starts after the old people come out of the bag(That being the end of the daydream/flashback that began with the phone call from Camilla).
It does not start with anyone lying down to sleep, or Betty lying back to daydream, or with the zoomy, wall effect. It just starts with a shot of the coffee cup and table and shows Diane looking totally frazzled and broken.
We know her last daydream image was the little old people and now she hallucinates them coming under the door and hallucinates sounds of screaming and flashing lights(she may also be hallucinating the knocking at the door). That frazzled looking Diane backs into the bedroom, hallucinating all the while, and shoots herself.

Here are some examples of my idea of earlier dream scenes and how they are flagged to us;
Dan’s scene is bookended by a sleeping Rita. Dream within a dream
Some of Adam’s scenes in the early part of the dream are bookended by a reclining or thoughtful-looking Betty. Daydream within a dream
The dinner party is one of a few scenes that seem to be conjured up by Diane focusing on the wall. Daydream
In the suicide scene the frazzled looking Diane hallucinates the little people coming under the door and we see frazzled looking Diane backing into the bedroom, pursued by her hallucination, to commit suicide. No dream signature

Camilla in the kitchen. Hallucination
Before Diane sees the vision of Camilla in the kitchen we see her with her back to us at the kitchen sink for quite some time. It seems a purposeful pause that Lynch has put in before Diane turns to see Camilla, shining like she's being projected onto a cinema screen. I've wondered if that pause at the sink is Diane doing her best to will a vision of Camilla into appearing before her eyes when she turns around? We may see a similar thing from a different angle when we see Diane staring into nothing for quite a while before the old people come under the door. These hallucinations don't therefore denote unreality in the same way as someone lying down or the zoom effect denote a dream taking place. The hallucination is something Diane is projecting onto an otherwise real scene.

Diane's warped daydream conjured up the image of the little old people emerging from the paper bag.
Diane's warped hallucination placed that image in the reallity of her apartment and then made the old people normal sized as they pursue her to suicide.

When Diane hallucinated Camilla in her kitchen we saw both her ecstatic reaction to Camilla appearing, "Camilla! You've come back." and her reaction of disgust with herself when she realises that she's speaking to no-one but herself. When the old people come under the door we see only Diane's reaction to the hallucination - this time she does not see through the hallucination, so neither do we. Writing this has made me wonder how much she willed the old people to come under the door and how much did she NOT want to see through the hallucination that would drive her to suicide?

Does Diane shoot herself at the end of the film? Yes, after hallucinating that a miniature old couple have got into her apartment and then grown to full size and pursued her.

Is the scene after the suicide real? Now there's a question :-)

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Re: What is "real" in Mulholland Drive?

Postby vicster111 » 22 Nov 2010

bookended by a reclining or thoughtful-looking Betty

I love it! I missed that one. And I loved the 'robe as a curtain' comment, too! Very observational. This may also apply to Aunt Ruth's bedroom curtains.

But there is one thing that is done when things get desperate. We see Rita do it twice and then Diane does it during her trip backwards down the hall. They make their hands into a sort of claw and cover their face with them. Rita does this when she says "There's...something...there" (in Aunt Ruth's bedroom) and she does it again when she and Betty leave Apt 17 after finding the corpse. Diane does it intermittently with pulling her hair in the hallway. It seems to me as an act of trying to change the 'scenery' or, like Dorothy clicking her heels, to take her away to somewhere else. Or maybe it's a portrayal of "Just pretend you didn't see it. It's better that way".

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Re: What is "real" in Mulholland Drive?

Postby blu » 22 Nov 2010

somethingbad wrote:The woman who comes to collect her dishes and lamp seems to be the only other person in a “real” scene and it’s no great stretch to see her as a former lover of Diane.

If the Lamp Lady is real and the inspiration for the Woman in #16 in Diane's dream, and the dream happens before this "real" scene, then how do we explain the fact that she's in the same clothes?

Isn't that back to front?

Wouldn't we expect to see her in the clothes in a flashback of something taking place before the dream thereby explaining her costume in the dream? Is that something to think about? Or is it irrelevant?

Is the fact that she was put the same costume (bar a couple of minor differences) worth thinking about generally?

And are the minor differences also worth thinking about?

Just riffing on the idea that if this is real reality, mightn't David have used it to slip something in that we're missing?

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Re: What is "real" in Mulholland Drive?

Postby vicster111 » 22 Nov 2010

I don't believe that the scene with Woman in #12, picking up her dishes, is real. Blu's right that she's actually wearing clothes from the dream version, and the dream happens before this scene. Also, why in the world would the Wi12 come over and knock, for 3 weeks straight, to pick up a ratty wire dish rack, a few dishes and a lamp that doesn't even have a shade?

I think this scene is Diane's mind reminding her of something she's done. Telling her to 'wake up' and smell the coffee. The thing that DL focuses on is the blue key. But right before he does the close-up of the key, we see everything on the coffee table. And there's something missing from it that was there before.

Diane's mind is trying to force her to 'see' something she has done. Something that involves the Woman in #12 and the missing item from the table. Something she's done that is completely out of character for her. "I don't know who I am."

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Re: What is "real" in Mulholland Drive?

Postby blu » 22 Nov 2010

blu wrote:Woman in #16

vicster111 wrote:Woman in #12

D'oh. Told you I was rusty. :angel:

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Re: What is "real" in Mulholland Drive?

Postby marksman » 22 Nov 2010

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