The fatal flaw in the classical theory

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Siku
 
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The fatal flaw in the classical theory

Postby Siku » 28 Jul 2011

I love the way MD allows for multiple interpretaions - a metaphor might be the picture of two people or is it a candlestick:
faces candle.jpg
faces candle.jpg (15.75 KiB) Viewed 19255 times


But leave this aside for the moment because I'm interested in focusing in on the fundamental plot. The classical explanation is something like this:

Diane is abused as a child. She get's some money from her aunt and uses it to move to Hollywood to become an actress. To support herself she get's a job as a waitress. On the set of SNS she meets Camilla, and they begin an affair. Diane's career is not going too well, but Camilla helps her get ahead and get a few roles. Getting ahead in Hollywood is a shady business and Diane gradually becomes a call girl. Camilla is also sleeping her way to the top and she begins a relationship with Adam. Camilla splits up with Diane. Diane is devastated and hires a hit man to kill Camilla. When she learns the hit has gone ahead she is racked with guilt, and commits suicide.

I think this is the core of Alan Shaw's essay and I'm a big fan. Obviously he extracts an incredible amount of detail with his nuanced reading, but this is the core of the plot events.

The Fatal Flaw
The lamp lady of course! Here's what I observe:
- She looks like Camilla
- She's a lesbian
- She lived with Diane or at least shared a accomodation
- She was close to Diane (swapping aparments and leaving stuff behind for three weeks)
- She doesn't get on with Diane anymore, the atmosphere is very bad when she comes knocking
- In the dream there is a very odd exchange of looks between Rita and LL

Here's what I conclude:
1. Diane and LL were lovers
2. So LL is the real Camilla/Camilla is the fantasy idealised version of LL
3. If 1 is true but we don't accept 2 then we're left with 'Diane goes for curvey hispanic brunettes' which is too wishy washy for my liking.


So what does that mean for the classical explanation?
- Diane and Camilla were never lovers?
- Diane never hired a hitman?
- The blue key doesn't exist?
- The cops aren't investigating a murder?

So what was the relationship between Diane and Camilla? And why did Camilla go through the whole 'Diane can stay' and leading Diane up the garden path? Does Camilla even exist?

I could be left with the only plot events being: Diane has a Dream, is woken by her ex knocking, has altercation with ex, makes coffee, shoots herself. Everything else would be supposition (as for example how we know Diane was abused as a child).

Help!

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Re: The fatal flaw in the classical theory

Postby ctyankee » 28 Jul 2011

Siku wrote:So what was the relationship between Diane and Camilla? And why did Camilla go through the whole 'Diane can stay' and leading Diane up the garden path? Does Camilla even exist?

I could be left with the only plot events being: Diane has a Dream, is woken by her ex knocking, has altercation with ex, makes coffee, shoots herself. Everything else would be supposition (as for example how we know Diane was abused as a child).

Help!


Well, what you described is a classic theory: Betty and Rita are personas in a dream.

Nothing can be "proven" in the true sense of the word, thus Diane as an abused child is merely one more thing on a very long list.

So, I guess I'm missing what you are considering the "fatal flaw" ...

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Re: The fatal flaw in the classical theory

Postby Siku » 28 Jul 2011

The classical theory is that Diane had a relationship with Camilla, whilst sharing/swapping apartments with a lesbian brunette who looks a lot like Camilla. I'm saying there's more to it, i.e. Camilla = Lamp Lady. The flaw is to leave the existance of a lesbian Camilla look alike as an unexplained coincidence.

(Yes in the classical theory Betty and Rita are personas in a dream but I'm not talking about the dream, I'm talking about the real world events as described in the classical theory).

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Siku
 
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Re: The fatal flaw in the classical theory

Postby Siku » 02 Aug 2011

The way it seems to me, this really is a fundamental hole in the classical theory, and if we don't have a classical theory then what do we have left, really? Nothing! Just a serious of competing thoughts and interpretations but nothing solid at all.

I'm entertaining the idea that Lynch put the lamp lady in last, just to pull the plug on a final interpretation, so that just when you think you've reached the ground, another rabbit hole opens up beneath your feet...

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Re: The fatal flaw in the classical theory

Postby dk23 » 14 Aug 2011

Yes, the "classical" theory misses a large part of the story and severely reduces if not eliminates the major mysteries of the film. Think afterlife, reincarnation, fragmentation and re-casting and re-filming instead of snoozing and waking up.

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Re: The fatal flaw in the classical theory

Postby Film Syncs » 15 Aug 2011

Siku wrote:The way it seems to me, this really is a fundamental hole in the classical theory, and if we don't have a classical theory then what do we have left, really? Nothing! Just a serious of competing thoughts and interpretations but nothing solid at all.

I'm entertaining the idea that Lynch put the lamp lady in last, just to pull the plug on a final interpretation, so that just when you think you've reached the ground, another rabbit hole opens up beneath your feet...


Well, The Lamp Lady was in the Pilot (i.e. in from the get go) so was 'in the can' approximately 18 months before the Mulholland Dr. party (for example).

What we have is competing thoughts and nothing will change that. Better to embrace that as a given. That said, the "classic" theory as I understand it is Betty (dream) followed by Diane (reality). The Lamp Lady as a lesbian is simply an idea, much like the Older Couple as sexual abusers of Diane is an idea, no more, no less. And quite frankly, neither lives or dies based on the 'classic' theory per se.

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Re: The fatal flaw in the classical theory

Postby blu » 18 Aug 2011

The Lamp Lady is a bloody confusing character, and her dialogue in both parts of the film leave a lot of gaps between which we can fall. I tend to agree that however she is interpreted - a neighbour, a lover, a colleague, a friend - doesn't pull the rug out from underneath the 'classical' theory.

I view the classical theory more as the framework/structure for the film, rather than reading lots of things into Diane's life. As ctyankee says, going with the most commonly accepted explanation for the structure of MD what we have is part dream, part reality (told through flashbacks). We might say that the murder of Camilla is part of that too, but not an awful lot more.

It's the ying-yang duality between the two parts of the film, the resonances and connections that make the structure a work of genius to me at least. Naturally others believe there is something more complex at the heart of the film (for example, dk23 talks about rebirths and reincarnations), but that doesn't resonate with me and actually seems to detract from the idea that something some so simple can lead to such a labyrinthine rabbit hole.

Bottom line with me is that if you dismiss the classical or Diane Dream or dream/reality or whatever we want to call it, you lose an important tool with which to explore the film. That's not to say that other approaches can't be helpful, just that I've got more out of the film looking at it from that angle.

Other's mileage may vary. And that's cool.

But it's also helpful to question what you think you know and challenge your own assumptions. An open mind does help. And I don't think David is being entirely disingenuous when he says each interpretation is as valid as the next. I think that needs qualifying slightly tho. Ideas at least need to be drawn from the film and it helps not to be working in your own silo on a uniquely personal interpretation.

But that boils down to how much you want to get out it.

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Siku
 
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Re: The fatal flaw in the classical theory

Postby Siku » 07 Sep 2011

Film Syncs wrote:
Siku wrote:The way it seems to me, this really is a fundamental hole in the classical theory, and if we don't have a classical theory then what do we have left, really? Nothing! Just a serious of competing thoughts and interpretations but nothing solid at all.

I'm entertaining the idea that Lynch put the lamp lady in last, just to pull the plug on a final interpretation, so that just when you think you've reached the ground, another rabbit hole opens up beneath your feet...


Well, The Lamp Lady was in the Pilot (i.e. in from the get go) so was 'in the can' approximately 18 months before the Mulholland Dr. party (for example).


Fair point that she wasn't shot last but I'm refering to the strucure of the mystery, not the shooting schedule. She could have been left out entirely if she didn't contribute to Lynch's plans. But clearly she does contribute.

I'm a firm believer that the casting is very deliberate. So the fact that, for example, Laney looks like Diane is no coincidence and I interpret that as supporting the view that Diane has been involved in prostitution, in whatever way. Likewise the lamp lady looks like Camilla. And looks lesbian. Maybe these things aren't explicitly stated but they are there. First time she watched it my girlfriend said 'is she actually Rita?' afer the lamplady/Rita exchange glances.

I don't know about something more complex. I think this so called classical explanation is quite complex enough. There's also the principle of parsimony.

Multiple interpretations are great and they're there and they're deliberate (see my graphic in post #1). If you accept multiple interpretations then, please, accept multiple approaches and don't use the 'all interpretations are valid' concept to stomp all over my approach here, which is, to follow this piece of string until I get rid of this god awful feeling. And right now it's leading me to the Camilla/Lamplady dopleganger. Help!

And thanks everyone for your thoughts.

(If you prefer a non-linear mode of investigation join me in the Wizard of Oz and MD thread).

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Re: The fatal flaw in the classical theory

Postby blu » 07 Sep 2011

Siku, I don't think anyone is stomping over your theories, but a certain amount of rigour always must be applied to keep people on their toes and keep ideas coming and keep the analysis honest. I'm sure you appreciate that.

On your Lamp Lady/Camilla doppelganger thoughts, did you notice (has it been mentioned on here recently?) that the main difference in the appearance of the Lamp Lady between her two distinct appearances is that her hair appears to have been crudely cut? And of course the other person who we see having her hair crudely cut is .... ?

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Re: The fatal flaw in the classical theory

Postby Siku » 08 Sep 2011

Blu, I do appreciate that indeed, and appreciate all replies whether rigourous or even stomping :)

I don't think of any of these theories as mine anyway, so have little or no ego attachment to them. I wish I could claim it all as original thought but in fact it's all thanks to the collective online efforts of so many smart people.

Great point about the hair! I hadn't noticed that. I've just been looking at the main site and also note

Rhodes = Isle of roses
DeRosa = from roses

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Re: The fatal flaw in the classical theory

Postby Sparkie0911 » 29 Sep 2011

Notice that or Naomi or Laura wears a red piece of clothing during the play, this might be a clue to wich role Diana is playing or a clue to what is true and what not.....

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Re: The fatal flaw in the classical theory

Postby fonebone » 12 Nov 2011

I think some of the characteristics of the LL mentioned in this thread so far, are really 'red herrings' placed by Lynch. For example that she had her hair cut, that she seems like she might be a lesbian, etc. The thing about Diane's dream(s) is that they incorporate 'normal' things from her life along with their basic themes (i.e., the themes of the dreams). In this case the *reality* is that Diane fantasizes herself as Betty and desires to have a role in a movie, and Camilla is someone who is an impediment to her accomplishing this, so she places a hit on Camilla. (I need to go over a little stuff here as background, in order to get to the LL.) Somehow the hit was bungled, and Camilla escaped from the hit man and went on to get the role. Her escape from the hit man is represented in Diane's dream by Rita walking away from the accident. Her dream also includes things such as lesbian behaviour and Rita cutting her hair. But these two things are examples from the 'normal' things in her life that I am talking about, for exampe, the LL had had her hair cut (in reality) at some point while Diane knew her; and perhaps, there had been some mutual sexual attraction between her and Diane. These things were then 'mixed in' with the dream.

The red herring comes in when people (in my belief) wrongly conclude that they did actually have a sexual relationship...It's Lynch's way of tricking people into believing that 'Camilla' is, in real-life, the lamp lady.

The actual indication is that Aunt Ruth is the dream-representation of the LL - Ruth is the one who's moving out in the dream; and recall that in the dream, LL and Diane switched apartments. In fact, Lynch's clue number ten, "where is Aunt Ruth" might help solve this issue. The one problem with the above as I see it, is that after Diane awakens, she has a *flashback* (not a dream) of lesbian sex with Camilla. But in any event, even if she did have sex with LL in reality, the important thing to realize is that the lesbian issue itself is a red herring, because the real 'love story' of the movie is not the one between Rita and Betty or Diane and Camilla; it is instead the one between Betty and Adam, which is really a dream-representation of the relationship (one which is 'hidden' from the audience) between Diane and Bob Brooker. (I will elaborate on this theory later in a separate thread, since it's really off-topic here.)

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Re: The fatal flaw in the classical theory

Postby The Cowboy » 12 Nov 2011

I got lost in your first paragraph, so I may be reading other stuff wrong. The Aunt Ruth stuff is interesting, but after that I think we part company. I don't think it's useful to say that there is a "real" love story in a movie as rich in symbols as this. When you consider all characters in Diane's dream to be parts of Diane, a complex picture of a tortured soul appears. I don't think any single relationship is as important as Diane's battle with herself. I'd be interested in seeing why you think that the Diane/Brooker relationship is key, though. It might open other interesting associations.

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Re: The fatal flaw in the classical theory

Postby fonebone » 12 Nov 2011

Yeah, that first part doesn't read too well.

Let me illlustrate what I'm saying about dreams, by way of the example of the conversation between Dan and Herb in Winkies, with some fictional embellishments of my own in order to get the point across:

First, let's say that in real life, Diane has been in Winkies before, and the last time she was there she saw a spider under her table; and, let's also assume she has a fear of spiders.

When she later has the dream about Dan and Herb conversating, then if we go by a theory I have that in reality, it is really Dan who is Diane's psychotherapist, not Herb, then the dream represents the fulfillment of the wish (according to Freud) that Diane's therapist be placed in her own shoes, and forced to encounter his own shadow (the man behind Winkies). This is the "theme" of the dream that I am talking about...Diane's wish that her therapist undergo the same kind of terror that she feels he is putting her through in real life. It is the fundamental material of the dream.

However, let's also embellish the dream a little by saying that in this dream, when Herb is standing at the counter register, a spider just like the one she saw in reality previously, runs across Herb's shoe, and he responds by kicking it off. At the sight of this, Diane feels a shivver, due to her fear of spiders as mentioned above. Then, if this was the way Lynch depicted the dream in the movie, then the spider would be his 'red herring' - i.e., something designed to lead people down the wrong track, to 'throw off the scent' of someone analyzing the movie: the spider and Diane's fear of it, is something incorporated into her dream from her waking life, which in terms of analyzing the movie, has little or no actual meaning; but someone analyzing the movie might come up with something like, "maybe the interpretation is that in real life, Diane's therapist was trying to get her to conquer her fear of spiders."...and all the while Lynch is laughing.

How this fits with the lamp lady is that the fact that, say, she looked a little like Camilla, and that she had had her hair cut, are like the spider from the dream above: they are things placed by Lynch which have no important implication for the movie, but they were incorporated into Diane's dream as Rita looking a little like LL, and Rita cutting her hair; then, Lynch knows that some people analyzing the movie will be thrown off and come to the wrong conclusion, that Rita/Camilla represents the lamp lady, and that therefore in real life, Diane was having a lesbian relationship with the LL, since she dreamt of such a relationship with Rita.

Sometimes I'm not too good at explaining things but this is the best way I know how in this case. And just to add to the mess, after viewing the movie again last night with clue no. 6 in mind ("notice the robe, the ash tray, the coffee cup"), I did come to the conclusion that Diane and LL were in fact in a lesbian 'relationship' (though probably casual sex is a better way to put it). What must have happened was that initially they had separate apartments in Sierra Bonita, then an attraction developed and Diane moved in with LL, with LL in the master bedroom and Diane in the second. However, Diane's address in the phone book was still that of her original apartment, under 'D. Selwyn'. Thus, the two detectives had been going to her old address.

Now, at some point the live-in relationship between the two women soured, and during the time they were living together, Diane had placed the hit on Camilla. So when the Diane and LL decided to split up, Diane talked LL into taking her (Diane's) old apartment. Thus, they really did switch apartments, but with the relationship thrown in. This explains why when Betty and Rita call the number listed under D. Selwyn, they got LL's voice machine. It also explains why LL's items were at Diane's place, and the "it's been three weeks" comment (it had been three weeks since LL moved out).

Finally, it explains the idea of 'Aunt Ruth' moving out - this represents LL moving out, with Diane then able to get the master bedroom - thus her fantasy about moving in to a new place. If you watch the movie closely you'll notice that each apartment is set up with a large master bedroom, with a large window on the wall at 90 degrees to the bed, and a smaller bedroom where the window is on the same wall as the head of the bed. Diane never actually moved into the master room, as becomes evident when she wakes up near the end; but, apparently she fantasized about having done so in her dream, since it is the master in which she's living as Betty.

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Re: The fatal flaw in the classical theory

Postby marksman. » 13 Nov 2011

"Now, at some point the live-in relationship between the two women soured, and during the time they were living together, Diane had placed the hit on Camilla."

But you said that Camilla is just a dream representation of the Lamp Lady. Are you saying that she placed the "hit" on Camilla in a dream and that this was just a metaphor for her desire to take revenge on the Lamp Lady (in some other less drastic way) in real life?

I am intrigued by your ideas, fonebone!

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