Everything is Illusion-ated

After the first day of watching David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive in class, I was thoroughly perplexed about what in the world this movie was about. Surely, it couldn’t just be about a lady who got in a car crash and was trying to find out who she was. There were too many other signals presented that didn’t fit with such a simple plot. I was tempted to look up the meaning of it all that night, but I’m glad I didn’t because I would have viewed through the eyes of someone else, seeing only what the theory discussed. My interpretation most closely resembles “Camilla’s Love was an Illusion” theory.

I believe  the movie is a satire of  Hollywood. Broken down into 2 parts, the film is presented out of chronological order. Betty resembles the stereotypical overly theatrical, cheery, aspiring actress. Coco is the quintessential land lord, complete with plastic surgery nose and tons of make up. Likewise the director seems overly dramatic and obsessive about his work.

I think the relationship between Rita/Camilla never really existed. Rita/Camilla is the jealous and obsessed manifestation of  the person Diane/Betty wanted to be. I think the body Betty and Rita find in the apartment is actually Camilla seeing her own suicide. The scene in which Betty and Rita go to the play is the moment which explains that everything in the play and the movie are all an illusion.

Adam, plays the director, is obsessed with his work and will do anything to see it succeeds. His wife cheats on him because he is too invested in his work to care about her.

Characteristics of a complex narrative can be seen in Mulholland Drive. The film offers many turns which keep the audience guessing about what the film is trying to say. Jason Mittell uses Alias as an example of a complex narrative; “[Alias’] plot makes unforeseen sharp twists that cause the entire scenario to ‘reboot.'” The flashbacks/flash-forwards/fantasy sequences in the film are used to add depth and allow the audience to see in different perspectives as Diane/Betty disillusion intensifies. Mittell calls this scenes, “moments of disorientation” which can come “not signaled” and ask viewers to “engage more actively to comprehend the story.” However, I feel it was impossible to discern the meaning of Mulholland Drive without watching the whole film.

I love complex narrative. It satisfies my desire to solve a mystery which makes me feel accomplished if I get it right. I get the opportunity to see something in a way that I had not seen it before. I enjoyed Mulholland Drive but the story was maybe a little too strange for me. I like movies where I can guess what happens but by the ending of this film I was still confused.until I read the information online. I feel like somethings are still not explained: why a cowboy? what was that creature in the alley outside Winkies? etc. Unanswered questions maybe be one reason some are not so inclined to watch complex narratives. I agree that sometimes it is nice to seat down in front of the TV and completely zone out into the world on-screen without any thought. For example, if I had had an exhausting day, I would not find a movie like Inception or Fight Club as enjoyable. But films like these make you think about them for days later, you tell all your friends about it (at least I did) and try to find new ways to untangle the mystery. The movies tell a story in an unconventional way but usually effective way. Maybe I need to watch Mulholland Drive again to catch all the nuances, but good movies should take work.

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