779 Mulholland Dr.

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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mfunk9786
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779 Mulholland Dr.

#1 Post by mfunk9786 » Sat May 28, 2011 1:02 am

Mulholland Dr.

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A love story in the city of dreams...

Blonde Betty Elms (Naomi Watts) has only just arrived in Hollywood to become a movie star when she meets an enigmatic brunette with amnesia (Laura Harring). Meanwhile, as the two set off to solve the second woman's identity, filmmaker Adam Kesher (Justin Theroux) runs into ominous trouble while casting his latest project. David Lynch's seductive and scary vision of Los Angeles's dream factory is one of the true masterpieces of the new millennium, a tale of love, jealousy, and revenge like no other.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED EDITION

• New, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by director David Lynch and director of photography Peter Deming, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• New interviews with Lynch; Deming; actors Naomi Watts, Justin Theroux, and Laura Harring; composer Angelo Badalamenti; production designer Jack Fisk; and casting director Johanna Ray
• On-set footage
• Deleted scene
• Trailer
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an interview with Lynch from the 2005 edition of filmmaker and writer Chris Rodley's book Lynch on Lynch

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Re: Trailers for Upcoming Films

#2 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sat May 28, 2011 8:17 am

mfunk9786 wrote:I know we're veering dangerously off topic now by continuing this conversation, but that scene in Mulholland Drive is and will always be the scariest thing I've ever seen in my life. It is so difficult to begin to put into words how well Lynch grasps the effect that a nightmare can have on someone's psyche - and I know it's essentially a complete non sequitur, but I don't care. It's perfect.
I absolutely agree. I was actually thinking about that scene yesterday, and why it scared the crap out of me the first time I saw it, and consequently the 2nd time as well. I'm really not a big horror guy, and it's more down to repulsion than fear. I'd be more afraid of throwing up than screaming like a little girl at a Saw movie. Stuff I've seen and do like The Shining and Alien I appreciate more as really good thrillers.
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But that scene stayed with me, and actually manifested itself in a dream I can only describe as Lynch-esque, of entering a movie theater and leaving realized I was thousands of years into the future and the only living beings were like the ones in his dream.
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Re: Trailers for Upcoming Films

#3 Post by Roger Ryan » Sat May 28, 2011 12:56 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:I know we're veering dangerously off topic now by continuing this conversation, but that scene in Mulholland Drive is and will always be the scariest thing I've ever seen in my life. It is so difficult to begin to put into words how well Lynch grasps the effect that a nightmare can have on someone's psyche - and I know it's essentially a complete non sequitur, but I don't care. It's perfect.
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Depending on how you view the film, the scene is not necessarily a complete non-sequitur. As I see it, the scene is a dream that "Rita" is having within the dream that Diane is having (the first two hours roughly being Diane's idealized dream version of the events which occurred over the previous few weeks). Diane's subconscious keeps the disturbing revelation of the scene at a distance by envisioning it as a dream "Rita" is having. A main theme that runs through MULHOLLAND DRIVE is the fear of being a failure, specifically being a public failure in Hollywood. For someone being driven by this anxiety, there is little more terrifying than the thought of becoming a homeless entity picking through trash behind a Winkies! That is the ultimate failure in a culture steeped in the worship of wealth and celebrity. Importantly, Diane makes her ultimate morally-corrupted mistake at the same restaurant by paying the hitman to kill her ex-lover.
Always thrilled to see Philip Baker Hall on-screen, but I find it a little ironic that he looks healthier than he has in a long time playing a cancer patient!

EDIT: Since this portion of the thread was (correctly) moved, the last sentence of my original post is now completely out of context. I was referring to the appearance of Mr. Hall in the trailer for the film 50/50.
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Re: Trailers for Upcoming Films

#4 Post by mfunk9786 » Sat May 28, 2011 1:12 pm

Thanks Roger - I've read and have certainly considered that take on it, but I don't really buy it when it comes to my viewings of the film. I really prefer to consider it to be something that's actually taking place across town, one of a number of looming terrors in Los Angeles awaiting Diana. I know it might not be intended that way, but I want it to be that way. I don't know how much Lynch has even said on the topic, but I think he'd be okay with my stubbornness. And in all actuality, like some scenes in Inland Empire, I think it was probably a completely separate great idea that just fit where it did.

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Re: Trailers for Upcoming Films

#5 Post by Roger Ryan » Sat May 28, 2011 1:33 pm

As you say, Lynch would not want to be too specific in qualifying an idea or scene. Having the first "Winkies" scene occur right after "Rita" falls asleep under the kitchen counter (and her waking up shortly thereafter) suggests it's her dream, but it doesn't matter - the whole glorious conglomeration is seen from the perspective of Diane "I can't believe I'm in this dreamworld" Selwyn.

Incidentally, I was amused to discover just a couple of months back that producer Sam Goldwyn originally went by the name "Goldfish". He partnered with Edgar and Archibald Selwyn and named their film production company "Goldwyn Productions" by combining the two names (Goldfish eventually decided to take on that name as his surname as well). I have to believe that Lynch was well aware of that piece of Hollywood history when he named the protagonist of MULHOLLAND DRIVE.
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Re: Trailers for Upcoming Films

#6 Post by Mr Sausage » Sat May 28, 2011 2:18 pm

mfunk wrote:And in all actuality, like some scenes in Inland Empire, I think it was probably a completely separate great idea that just fit where it did.
Indeed it is. Mulholland Drive was originally shot as a pilot for an intended television series. The man behind Winkies would have been part of a plot strand that the series itself would've developed later. Obviously, when Lynch turned it into a movie all such undeveloped strands had to be incorporated somehow, and I think it's pretty slick how he managed to turn a non-sequitur scene like that one into an abstraction of Diane's festering guilt through having Winkies be the diner where she makes the choice that ruins her life and her lover's.

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Re: Trailers for Upcoming Films

#7 Post by kidc85 » Sat May 28, 2011 3:27 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:I think it's pretty slick how he managed to turn a non-sequitur scene like that one into an abstraction of Diane's festering guilt through having Winkies be the diner where she makes the choice that ruins her life and her lover's.
And, of course, Dan is also a witness to Diane's crime, so having him confronted (and killed?) in her dream version of events by 'an abstraction of her festering guilt' turns it from being a non-sequitur into an integral scene.

MD appears so well thought out, I'm tempted to believe Lynch had a twist like the second act of the movie planned for the tv show too.

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Re: Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)

#8 Post by Mr Sausage » Sat May 28, 2011 3:41 pm

kidc85 wrote:And, of course, Dan is also a witness to Diane's crime, so having him confronted (and killed?) in her dream version of events by 'an abstraction of her festering guilt' turns it from being a non-sequitur into an integral scene.
Even more integral since the scene is about being forced to confront the awful thing that plagues you, making it a subconscious reminder of what Diane is so desperately avoiding in her dream.

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Re: Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)

#9 Post by knives » Sat May 28, 2011 3:46 pm

kidc85 wrote: MD appears so well thought out, I'm tempted to believe Lynch had a twist like the second act of the movie planned for the tv show too.
Well it always seemed like a parody of those Aaron Spelling shows so it would be natural for one of the seasons to end on a note like the movie does. I've always viewed the second segment as Lynch throwing as many of his ideas for the final season of the show into the film as possible while it still remaining coherent. Of course this makes me long for a miniseries version of the movie so that a few of those strands could be even better developed.

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Re: Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)

#10 Post by R0lf » Sat May 28, 2011 10:51 pm

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Another interpretation of the homeless person behind Winkies is it points to Camilla having been killed in the hit and that is where they dumped her body. It follows on from the indicators with the blue key and the white van being in the traffic when Betty is coming in from the airport. In this interpretation the initial scenes that take place more from Rita's perspective each time she falls asleep are the awareness of her death beginning to come through. You could also take the end of the movie where the homeless person has the blue box as a literal indication they are Camilla who has it earlier.

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Re: Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)

#11 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:16 pm

There's at least one scene from the unaired pilot version that's on YouTube (namely the espresso scene), and comparing it to the feature film (as seen on the DVD), I've noticed that there's quite a bit of cropping going on both vertically and horizontally. Obviously expected - TV was all 1.33:1 in 2001 and the feature is widescreen - but it is interesting to see how he had to rethink the framing for each shot.

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Re: Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)

#12 Post by Roger Ryan » Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:50 am

Having seen the TV pilot, I can say that Lynch improved virtually every scene through re-editing and/or sound design for the feature. I would also add that it wouldn't surprise me if he shot the pilot with a possible European theatrical release in mind (as with TWIN PEAKS) and was careful to keep the frame open for a potential 1.85:1 cropping.

One shot showing the jewelry box floating in the overflowing sink in Adam Kesher's house, which suggests that Kesher's wife and the pool guy have been trying to clean the pink paint off of the jewelry, should have stayed in the theatrical film in my opinion (it's a good laugh). I also really liked a second appearance by the detectives where they discuss the doctor who won't stop laughing at the critical condition the limo driver is in, although I can see why this scene would be eliminated. It's also interesting to note which new scenes were inserted into the first half of the pilot to prepare for the theatrical film's finale; the scene where the man describes the dream of seeing the horrible face behind the Winkies restaurant is one of them.

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Re: Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)

#13 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Apr 05, 2012 12:35 pm

Roger Ryan wrote: It's also interesting to note which new scenes were inserted into the first half of the pilot to prepare for the theatrical film's finale; the scene where the man describes the dream of seeing the horrible face behind the Winkies restaurant is one of them.
YES, I was thinking how crucial and brilliant that scene was when I saw the film again last night. (More so when you think about where it's been placed within the narrative continuity.) It shows the extent to which Lynch re-evaluated the entire concept and reinterpreted all of that material into something else.

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Re: Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)

#14 Post by R0lf » Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:35 am

The other revealing thing from watching the pilot is they replaced the voice on Diane's answering machine with Naomi Watts' voice in the movie.

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Re: Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)

#15 Post by oh yeah » Fri Apr 06, 2012 2:10 am

I must admit, especially since learning more about the film's origin as a TV pilot, a lot of the framing in the first 3/4th looks a little off, with characters having very little headroom. A minor quibble, I know, but it sticks out to me whenever I watch. Overall I've come to prefer Lost Highway, which feels like the more cohesive, purely cinematic effort (I like to think of them as basically sister films, being very similar and yet very divergent in lots of quite specific ways).

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Re: Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)

#16 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:09 am

Hard to see how Mulholland Drive could ever be impurely cinematic, but it is assuredly less cohesive than Lost Highway. I've always attributed Lost Highway's cohesion (with its circular, self-contained structure) to Barry Gifford. Lynch, for all of his use of cross-referenced symbols, isn't usually so concerned with that kind of structural rigour, mostly preferring open, fundamentally inexplicable universes in which a lot goes unresolved. The structure of Lost Highway is likewise founded on a more explicable and coherent psychology than Lynch usually favours. This is not to say that Lynch's understanding of human psychology in general is incoherent (on the contrary, he has an enormous sympathetic understanding of his character's mental spaces--for instance, how precisely he captures the contradictory effects of Laura Palmer's life-long sexual abuse); it's more that Lynch is fascinated by the irrational and the inexplicable, and usually founds his structures/worlds on mystery and irrationality. The psychology driving Lost Highway's structure, while irrational, is nevertheless explicable and contained; we can identify where it comes from (dissociative identity disorder brought on by extreme stress).

That's not true of Mulholland Drive, which, while founded on a dream with many clear referents to the reality informing that dream, does not try to explain how or why this dream works as it does. It offers no psychology of dreams; the whole process is still, at base, inexplicable, and for the most part driven by an emotional and therefore irrational mix of desire and memory and wish and whatever else. At the bottom of Mulholland Drive's dream is the unconscious mind, and the movie makes no attempt to illuminate any of its fundamental processes. It's all a mystery.

That's all part of why I think Mulholland Drive is a more beautiful and piercing movie than Lost Highway (still a major film). Its more freewheeling and unconstrained structure allows it a greater range of emotion. Lost Highway is intense, but its emotional content is mostly limited to a few key feelings.

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Re: Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)

#17 Post by oh yeah » Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:38 am

By "purely cinematic" I meant that Lost Highway naturally doesn't have the TV look that the first 3/4th or so of Mulholland sports due to its origin. Yes, definitely agree that Gifford's involvement is likely why LH is I think the most carefully structured and "neatest" of at least Lynch's more inscrutable and surreal films. Even though that other collaboration of theirs, Wild at Heart, may seem at first glance a bit messy, narratively it's a good deal more cleanly plotted than much of Lynch's work.

I must disagree with you on which film is essentially "all a mystery," though, as I feel that applies much more to Lost Highway than to Mulholland. While the dissociative identity explanation for LH makes good sense on paper, I find it doesn't quite work satisfactorily with the entire film, especially while simply watching it -- like there's several curious puzzle pieces here and there that just won't fit the theory. Whereas, on the other hand, MD's dream theory (i.e. that Diane Selwyn more or less dreams everything up to... well, when she wakes up) basically fits the film like hand in glove, and whenever I read other, more esoteric takes on the film I just can't quite suspend my disbelief and "see" them onscreen.

Lost Highway does seem to imply that Pete's section is just a fantasy or projection of the supposedly** crazed killer Fred's unstable mind; yet I don't think this is anywhere near "conclusive." For me, the film seems more of a pure experience in sight and sound, a sort of mental roller coaster or "simulation test" of what it would be like to be inside the brain of someone who is utterly "deranged" as the Bowie tune in the credits puts it. Because the film is so deeply subjective and untrustworthy in POV, I think the demarcations between fantasy and reality are much less clear than in Mulholland; and the relationship between certain characters (for example, the Mystery Man and Fred - is he helping him, hurting him, stealing his soul -- what exactly is the MM's motivation?) remain rather ambiguous to the end, whereas in MD most everything works pretty well as pure dream language reflected back at itself in the jarring final "reality" portion of the film.

Mulholland Drive is certainly more varied in tone than Lost Highway, and with a lot more humor and, especially, heart and sympathetic characters as well. In these respects it is the better and more likeable film, but I simply find the sumptuous hyper-noir aesthetic and sheer horrific, demented "ride" of Lost Highway to be preferable, even though (or maybe, in a way, partly because) it lacks that warmth and empathy. For better or for worse, depending on one's taste, LH feels like very possibly Lynch's most unrelentingly dark picture -- almost completely lacking the wrenching sentimentality and sense of hope that tends to characterize the endings of even quite grim films like Fire Walk With Me and Inland Empire (arguably Mulholland Drive as well).

**I qualify Fred's status as crazed killer because I actually don't think the viewer has conclusive proof that Fred Madison really did kill Renee the night after Andy's party, all by himself. I think there's just as much a possibility that the Mystery Man did it, or the Mystery Man coerced Fred into killing her and then recorded him agonizing over her mutilated body, as we see in the final videotape. (If one is to follow this last reading, then the Mystery Man becomes a sort of BOB-like supernatural being feeding off the violence in people, making Faustian bargains with them and having the power to create doppelgangers and swap souls as we see with Fred's strange transformation into Pete -- a veritable "get out of jail free card" if there ever was one :wink:. With all this in mind, then, Lynch's comment that Lost Highway takes place in the "same universe" as Twin Peaks starts to make more sense).

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Re: Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)

#18 Post by R0lf » Fri Apr 06, 2012 6:09 am

I think the common belief that Mulholland Drive is based on a dream is where people come undone. I think this has come from the idea that the opening scene of the movie depicts Diane falling asleep but the movie seems to present a lot more evidence that the opening scene actually depicts the moment Diane dies.

Coupled with the evidence later on in the movie that Camilla actually died in the hit it seems more reasonable that the main theme of Mulholland Drive like a large variety of Lynch's work is actually about purgatory and redemption presenting an optimistic outlook where the characters come to peace with themselves.

Reading both halves of the movie as each character coming to terms with the intertwined circumstances that lead to their death makes for a more meaningful reading in my opinion.

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Re: Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)

#19 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:55 pm

oh yeah wrote:While the dissociative identity explanation for LH makes good sense on paper, I find it doesn't quite work satisfactorily with the entire film, especially while simply watching it -- like there's several curious puzzle pieces here and there that just won't fit the theory.
It's not really a theory. David Lynch confirms the dissociative identity aspect in Lynch on Lynch.

What pieces don't quite fit? I know there are things here and there which are open to a bit of interpretation (ie. the precise identity of the man in black), but for the most part you can understand what they basically represent or what they are revealing. Reality is always breaking through fantasy in Lost Highway--in fact the entire movie is there to explain just what Fred did the night before the movie proper begins. It more or less all works out. Lost Highway is a kind of hell: the eternal repetition of one's own sins. Except it's the hell of being trapped in your own mind.

At the same time, Mulholland Drive is filled with aspects that have a less precise origin, like the cowboy, why he has to appear twice or three times, or why the dwarf in the wheelchair, and what exactly is the nature of the whole organization, or what the man behind Winky's really represents or does, and why a blue box of all things? There is this whole vast set of machinations at the film's heart that make no rational sense and have no real explanation, but are tied up with the mixture of emotions at the heart of Betty's story. The psychology at the centre of Lost Highway's structure is coherent, it has a name and an identifiable set of behaviours. The unconscious mind is at the heart of Mulholland Drive, and it doesn't have that same identity.

I guess it's obvious that I disagree with the "she's dead" theory. But even so, if true, Lynch clearly thinks sleep and death are pretty similar states, so it's really a distinction without a difference.

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Re: Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)

#20 Post by Roger Ryan » Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:11 pm

R0lf wrote:...but the movie seems to present a lot more evidence that the opening scene actually depicts the moment Diane dies.
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I'd say there is more evidence that Diane is in some kind of drug-induced stupor at the film's beginning than anything else. To interpret the opening scene as showing the death of Diane is to ignore the very obvious "falling into the pillow" visual cue which represents the entry into sleep/dreams as well as the "time-to-wake-up" moment about an hour and forty minutes later. The final quarter of the film is clearly divided between Diane ruminating on her circumstances after waking up and flashbacks which show us the true nature of the events leading up to the present moment. While her subconscious mind was able to construct an elaborate fantasy during sleep in an attempt to relieve her guilt, her fully alert state (after sobering up with coffee) allows her no escape and she commits suicide as predestined in her own dream. If Lynch allows for any optimism at the end of this film, it's in the suggestion that Diane achieves peace in death and possibly a metaphysical reunion with Camilla.

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Re: Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)

#21 Post by R0lf » Fri Apr 06, 2012 8:58 pm

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But the elaborate fantasy takes place after the time she spends in her apartment ruminating. The time spent in her apartment shows Diane dating Camilla, Diane breaking up with Camilla, Diane ordering the hit on Camilla and then committing suicide. The first part of the movie on Mulholland Drive starts with the hit (where I say Camilla dies) and then the next day Betty is driven in from the airport at the same time it is established in the second part of the movie Diane commits suicide. This is further established with the white van in the traffic on the way from the airport. Again it is established when they go to Diane's apartment and find that she has been dead a number of days.

The blue key in the second part of the movie is given to Diane to show that the hit was carried out on Camilla. Camilla has died and does not know why. When Rita finds the blue key it opens the box and leads to her discovery of the circumstances that lead to Camilla's death.

After the hit they dumped the body behind Winkies. The bum is Camilla's dead body and that's why she has the box at the end of the movie.

Club Silencio shows a singer fall over (dead?) while the music keeps going. Why shouldn't this be offered as a literal explanation of the whole movie? Especially as after both characters come to peace with the reasons they died they move on. Betty/Diane disappears after resolving her relationship with Rita/Camilla and Rita goes on to open the box which tells her why/how Camilla dies. At the very end the movie confirms this explanation again by cutting back to the club with the blue headed lady saying "silencio".

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Re: Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)

#22 Post by Roger Ryan » Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:43 am

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R0lf - Given we're talking about a Lynch film, it would be silly to insist on only one interpretation and I am intrigued by some of your suggestions. The generally accepted view is that MULHOLLAND DRIVE presents two versions of the same story: an idealized, Hollywood "dream land" version and a more realistic, unglamorous version. Many of the details remain unfixed, as Mr. Sausage points out, and I believe that is what opens the film up to so many different interpretations.

The demarcation line that is the "time-to-wake-up, pretty girl" moment is not as important to your interpretation as it is to mine. We see one version of the character Naomi Watts plays before this scene and another after. The suggestion seems to be that the first version ("Betty") is a delusion or a dream version of what Diane would like herself to be. The second version is the reality that she has "woken up" to. Given that Diane will shoot herself through the roof of her mouth at the film's end, I have a hard time believing that the labored breathing and the slow descent into the pillow at the film's beginning is meant to represent this suicide. Also, since "Rita" is the idealized version of Camilla, Diane can manipulate her in the fantasy version to be who Diane wants her to be. But Diane is not able to completely insulate her subconscious from the reality of her actions, so "Rita" uncovers the truth of what Diane has done through the course of the dream. When the truth has been uncovered, Diane awakes and must confront the unpleasant fact that she has had Camilla killed out of jealousy.

By the way, given that MULHOLLAND DRIVE takes place in Hollywood and concerns movie-making, I see "Club Silencio" as representing a cinema, a place where a group of people will gather in silence to witness something that has been "pre-recorded". The entire "dream" portion of the film (if we can accept it as that) is the movie that Diane would like her life story to be. Of course, we're watching Lynch's movie as well and I think he reminds us of that by having the blue-haired lady conclude the film with the word "silencio". When I saw MULHOLLAND DRIVE in the cinema upon first release, the audience was indeed left in stunned silence as the end credits appeared!

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Re: Sight & Sound Poll 2012

#23 Post by Black Hat » Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:08 pm

What am I missing about this film? Is it the hot chicks? Cause yeah it definitely rates high there.

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Re: Sight & Sound Poll 2012

#24 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:04 am

If you have to ask, you'll never know

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Re: Sight & Sound Poll 2012

#25 Post by Black Hat » Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:28 am

Meh, it's not even close to being the best Lynch film.

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