Why are you here?

Exclusively reserved for discussion regarding David Lynch's 'Mulholland Dr.'
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blu
 
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Why are you here?

Postby blu » 22 Jul 2013

This is a very "meta" topic of discussion, but one than I've been meaning to post for a bit now. Because the more time I seem to spend thinking about this film and this website/discussion framework, the more it's a question that I ask myself.

It was really sparked by a post by KyleorKyla in a different thread probably over a year ago now, that went like this:

KyleOrKyla wrote:The "realist" approach to where the footage comes from is what drove me away a few years ago;

The impact of the experience of watching the movie is what keeps me in its orbit.

I have a half-developed idea about, "Why are we here, talking about this movie?", where there's several motivators why people might still be in the thrall of the images collected on this tape...I'd basically come up with 3 non-mutually-exclusive categories (each, of course, with a mascot-prop/scene from the movie):

1) the (blue) Puzzle Box (theorizing and countertheorizing, seeing how pieces interlink)

2) the History of the World, Containing Phone Numbers (trying to find the "true" meaning, in some provable way)

3) Electrocuted by Blue Lights in the Club Silencio (basic visceral response to the experience of watching it)

I'd say these days I am 80% Blue Lights, 15% Puzzle Box, 5% History of the World....back in the day I was trying to be 20% History of the World, and that seems like a dead-end if taken to an extreme:

if you want to look at things outside the movie to explain why it is what it is, the ultimate it was an episode in the can which was going nowhere without something to stretch it to feature length.

but these days I'm thinking of the process more ..openmindedly? Sacred-cow-ly? Either way -- what was there may have been the beginning of something else, but it had enough power and dangled enough plot threads, tentacles and plugs that, when re-wired into its current configuration, it completes new circuits.

Too much navel gazing? Certainly possible. I'm just glad I was able to watch Dan see that face again, outside of a dream.


I like Kyle's 3 motivators, but do they cover off everything? 12 years this year since the release of the film. What keeps us here/brings us back?

Who's looking to solve the puzzle?

Who's just looking to get lost in the rabbit hole?

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Re: Why are you here?

Postby kmkmiller » 23 Jul 2013

Honestly, that choice feels false to me. The either or-ness of it. most banter about Lynch movies is just charting references, anyway. He is VERY influential, and the things that have influenced Lynch, have also influenced countless others. you can't ever say someone is copying another, and yet, when I see Butch's watch in PULP FICTION, and LG telling Nikki "You have to be wearing the watch," in INLAND EMPIRE, I just know there's a connection there. I love Salman Rushdie's conceit in Heroun and the Sea of Stories. And I do believe filmmakers and writers are simply fishing from the same area of the sea. So that's just most of what I think we do here, with the banter and the back and forth. Very few people actually write out full blown theories any more as all of them are well discussed on your theories webpage.

Anyway, to get right to it and address the questions. I do think it is a false choice, it can be both, I sort of wish I saved this thing I wrote on the IMDB board. The thing is this. On the one hand you have people who say "When you explain something you rob it of it's beauty," and I just think that is so wrong. You've got Joyce scholars who might write 100s of words on a single made up word in Finnegan's Wake, and Joyce's seemingly indecipherable book retains all of it's beauty and lyricism. I just don't understand people when they say that, "when you explain something you rob it of it's beauty," because it's such the exact opposite of everything that I learned during 5 years of university. Go to art class, and you got a professor explaining and decoding the images of cubist paintings. You go to film class, you've got a professor mulling over what slicing up the eyeball might mean in Un Chien Andalou. You go to literature class, and if you were assigned to write a term paper on Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying", well you'd be kind of an idiot if you turned in your paper blank saying "I really enjoyed getting lost in the rabbit hole, and I feel like if I try to explain it I will be robbing Faulkner of the beauty of his writing." Right? You'd get a big fat F for a grade if that's what you did.

And so there are those who say that comparing Lynch to Faulkner is wrong because Lynch doesn't really try to mean anything, but I think if you've decided that, you're not even a Lynch fan anyway, so yeah, why would you be here if you're not a fan of Lynch's work.

I think Lynch's work means something at least.

And I get there are those who don't want to lead their whole lives with a university temperament. It's not anything you'd ever talk about in a social context. But that doesn't mean those people can poo poo on those who do adopt a certain mode of inquiry into a work of art.

Because really the best way to make this clear. In Conrad's Heart of Darkness, a native wears a leather necklace and it was once suggested by someone that the necklace was a symbol of restraint, and then it was argued that the natives, the so called savages, in Heart of Darkness had more restraint (and thus more humane impulses, a better handle on morality) than the colonialists. All that from a leather thing this native wore around his neck. Quite an extrapolation from one minor detail. And yet that's whole point of Heart of Darkness right? The natives had more morality than the invaders.

So basically I'm someone who is both looking to get lost in the rabbit hole, but then find his way out through a process of examination of details, recurring motifs, and using my own intuition come up with, what, a "solved puzzle??" god no. Lynch ain't Sudoku. what a reductive and crass way to put it. Let's call it a deeper understanding of the work in question.

I now tear up every time I see Camilla leading Diane up the verdant hillside to 6980 Mulholland Drive, but that wasn't the case before I came up with an interpretation of what is going on in that scene. So that's an emotional connection to the movie that was not robbed from the movie, but added to the movie!

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ctyankee
 
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Re: Why are you here?

Postby ctyankee » 23 Jul 2013

blu wrote:This is a very "meta" topic of discussion, but one than I've been meaning to post for a bit now. Because the more time I seem to spend thinking about this film and this website/discussion framework, the more it's a question that I ask myself.

It was really sparked by a post by KyleorKyla in a different thread probably over a year ago now, that went like this:

KyleOrKyla wrote:
1) the (blue) Puzzle Box (theorizing and countertheorizing, seeing how pieces interlink)

2) the History of the World, Containing Phone Numbers (trying to find the "true" meaning, in some provable way)

3) Electrocuted by Blue Lights in the Club Silencio (basic visceral response to the experience of watching it)

I'd say these days I am 80% Blue Lights, 15% Puzzle Box, 5% History of the World....back in the day I was trying to be 20% History of the World, and that seems like a dead-end if taken to an extreme:

if you want to look at things outside the movie to explain why it is what it is, the ultimate it was an episode in the can which was going nowhere without something to stretch it to feature length.

but these days I'm thinking of the process more ..openmindedly? Sacred-cow-ly? Either way -- what was there may have been the beginning of something else, but it had enough power and dangled enough plot threads, tentacles and plugs that, when re-wired into its current configuration, it completes new circuits.


I like Kyle's 3 motivators, but do they cover off everything? 12 years this year since the release of the film. What keeps us here/brings us back?

Who's looking to solve the puzzle?

Who's just looking to get lost in the rabbit hole?


I also don't see put things in the framework that KyleOrKyla does ... though his thoughts are useful for purposes of discussion. My viewpoint is that MD is analogous to Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. It's both a story and a series of puzzles each leading one down the rabbit hole.

I see MD as both something to partially solve and partially as the beginning of the mystery down a rabbit hole offering a lifetime of glorious pursuits. Those that are looking for THE solution for THE mystery all wrapped up in a nice, neat bow will be sadly disappointed.

I do agree with KyleorKyla that MD is a bit of dangling circuits, some working, some not and some that can be made to work. After all, it is a TV show made feature film. It's a Twilight Zone/Lynchian/Hollywood Babylon version of a Wizard of Oz ending featuring many of the same characters that were in the dream. That's how Lynch pulled it into a feature film. And as with any abstract work of art, what we tend to see is what we allow ourselves to see or how we allow ourselves to view it.

As to the question of the thread. I'm taking the trip through the rabbit hole and like Alice, I'm interested in what I'll find there and what others find as well.

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derekfnord
 
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Re: Why are you here?

Postby derekfnord » 23 Jul 2013

For me, it's mostly the "Puzzle Box" that keeps me posting/reading, and mostly the Blue Lights that keep me watching. The History of the World is alluring, but in two different ways for me (well, really only one way, I suppose).

I think the History of the World is specific to each person. I don't think there's a single incontrovertible, universal What It's All About. Instead, I think each viewer can (not necessarily does, but *can*) have an answer that satisfies them... an answer that makes them feel content that they "get" it, and it makes sense to them.

So for me, there are really two answers to the History of the World that I'm doodling on as I theorize and counter-theorize in my Puzzle Box. The first, and most important, is what makes sense to *me* as the History of the World. The second, and still interesting, is trying to piece together what I think/guess the History of the World answer is *for Lynch*. There's what I think it means, and there's what I think he thinks it means.

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Bob
 
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Re: Why are you here?

Postby Bob » 23 Jul 2013

MD to me is:
50% puzzles (left brain)
50% awe (right brain)

On the surface there's all the puzzles but then there's also that deeper connectedness I sensed which is hard to put into words.

Why I came here? To get my left brain satisfied.

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blu
 
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Re: Why are you here?

Postby blu » 24 Jul 2013

Some interesting thoughts, people.

I think I originally came for "The History of the World", as Kyle put it. I stumbled blinking onto the RT forum to find a mountain of information to sift through and assimilate and file. And for a long time, that was where I stayed. Searching for some true calculated logical meaning that would allow me to mark the film as "solved", draw a line under it, and move on.

But then I started to realise that wasn't possible, and that I was approaching it in entirely the wrong manner, and where was the fun in that anyway?

So then I tried on the opposite approach and started posting threads like:

Mulholland Drive is a Mandlebrot Set, and;
MD is a KOAN

... before eventually settling (many years later) into the position where I am now, which is that I'm comfortable with what I think I know. I can flip flop my position all the time about what I think about something in the film, and I enjoy kicking all kinds of different ideas around to see if something gets turned up or connection gets made, and if it doesn't, so what? This is for fun, right? It's a hobby. We should enjoy it.

Sometimes I think my MD petrol tank is running low in some respects. I don't devote an awful lot of my free time thinking and working on the actual film itself these days. I seem to operate around the periphery of it now. But I'm quite content with that I think.

I'm convinced that stones remain unturned, and that there are still treasures hidden in MD we haven't quite found yet. But they're not things that are necessarily going to result in some huge Archimedes EUREKA moment that turns the whole film upside down.

Linking to what Kevin was saying up there: it'll be a nod of a plant, a car in a gateway, a poster in an office, a twitch of a nose, or the way a shadow falls on a pillow that leads you to explore why he put that there. It is about connections to other films. Not necessarily always direct connections either. But rather what the last 10 years of putting this film under the microscope has taught me about how to watch films in general. Why is the director doing that? Why is that character doing that? A better understanding of why these storytellers are telling these particular stories in these particular ways.

This is a bit disjointed, but it kind of leads a bit into some half-baked idea of what my grand unifying theory of MD has kind of been for a while now. It basically revolves around intertexuality with a spirituality bent, and is thus:

Mulholland Drive is a film about films and the making of films. Just as Diane Selwyn is every ingenue chewed up and spat out by Hollywood, Mulholland Drive is every film that has ever, or will ever, be printed, boxed up, and run through the reels of your local cinema.

After having accusations of misogyny slung at him with the treatment of Dorothy Vallens in Blue Velvet, Lynch stressed that Dorothy is not meant to represent "everywoman" - that Blue Velvet is one small self contained story, and Dorothy represents nothing other than herself, a woman in trouble, in a mystery and a story that he fell in love with.

In MD, I think he's done the exact opposite. With Diane, and with the film itself.

And I think that's the thing that keeps me coming back.

Well. That and the endless quest for HORSE STATUES.

;-)

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Re: Why are you here?

Postby Siku » 24 Jul 2013

Imagine a man who keeps getting tattoos, each telling a different story of his life. As he fills every square inch with ink, there are less and less gaps until, eventually, all the images inter-connect into a full body tattoo. How many tattoos does he have? At first it was more and more, then less and less - a journey from none to one through many.

History of the World! I'm gonna stick my neck out and and say I'm still game for a grand unifying theory. Come on guys, you give up too easily. Don't drown now when we're so close to shore! ;-)

But not a reductive theory that contains or displaces all other theories like the fabled grand unified theory of physics. This is basically just the prospect of fusing quantum mechanics and relativity, keeping the good bits of both and smoothing out the contradictions, but it gets talked up into a theory that will explain EVERYTHING, which to me just shows the paucity of imagination and arrogance of physics. Will this quantum/relativity theory answer koans? No. Deconstruct movies? No.

I understand and love the idea of the koan (thanks for the link to that thread), and if we truly believe it to be so then we must be prepared to transcend ALL dualities, and that includes "there IS/ISN'T a Grand Unified Theory", as well as "searching for a Grand Unified Theory DOES/DOESN'T yield valid insight", etc..

So where does that leave me? With the puzzle box I guess. There are many ways of working and, with some approaches, the benefits aren't always apparent from the outset.

And yes I'm still struck by lightening - each time a different moment strikes me hardest. Every moment is set in the context of all the others, all so fluid and rich in meaning, that significance can erupt anywhere!

So 33:33:33, to answer the original question :D
Last edited by Siku on 24 Jul 2013, edited 1 time in total.

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kmkmiller
 
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Re: Why are you here?

Postby kmkmiller » 24 Jul 2013

What's the other 1%, siku?

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Siku
 
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Re: Why are you here?

Postby Siku » 24 Jul 2013

I just like rabbits.


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