Dreams of Desire 6 (Mulholland Dr.)


David Lynch plays tricks with time, memory and identity in the utterly mystifying yet completely bewitching Mulholland Dr. One of the few film-makers who can genuinely be classified as a Surrealist, Mulholland Dr. heady blend of atmospheric neo-noir, twisted Hollywood fable, mind melting strangeness and one of the most convincing dream narratives since a certain Alice fell down a rabbit hole defies categorization or rational comprehension, but therein lies its beauty.

After their initial intrepid investigations to discover the true identity of Rita (Laura Elena Harring), who is suffering from amnesia after a car crash, take on a darker turn with the discovery of a decomposing body in Diane Selwyn’s apartment, Betty (Naomi Watts), in an effort to calm Rita persuades her to put on a wig which turns her into Betty’s doppelganger. Shortly afterwards Betty will tell Rita to take off the wig when she comes to bed. Betty’s ego wishes to transform Rita into herself in the outside world but to remain other in the bedroom so that her desire is not sorely narcissistic, which would in the end be just a convoluted form of masturbation.

Towards the end of the film, in surely the most heart-rending scenes of attempted auto-eroticism in cinematic history (not that the competition is particularly stiff) Diane/Betty will, through her tears try to achieve a momentary forgetfulness of the self, but even this temporary release isn’t forthcoming. The dream of success and love had, as dreams have a habit of doing, turned into a nightmare which there is no escape from, waking or sleeping. Because the looking-glass of the unconscious always shows us who we really are, no doubt darkly, no matter how much we try to avoid looking into that particular mirror.




22 thoughts on “Dreams of Desire 6 (Mulholland Dr.)

  1. i’ll have to see this. I never saw Lynch either. After Lost Highway I was like oh I don’t get it I give up even though I liked Blue Velvet. I didn’t watch Twin Peaks either because it was just too much time to invest and later on when I watched it I felt like the expressionist acting was too dragged out. (It was so dragged out it reminded me of bad Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman episodes which are so painful to watch.) As for Bergman, have seen Wild Strawberries, the one with death playing chess, and the Virgin Spring. Need to review them. Watched the Virgin Spring recently again, just incredible. (I think that’s the name). He’s excellent.

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    1. I agree about lynch… Blue velvet was excellent, twin peaks was too mannered, as for lost highway and wild at heart they were bad beyond belief… Just when I had almost completely given up on the maker of eraser head out comes mulholland dr. Where for once the madness makes for a heartbreak of a movie. As for Bergman love the seventh seal, virgin spring and above all persona, the hour of the wolf is an excellent horror movie from him as well

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      1. I’ll have to see that, thanks! (The Hour of the Wolf). Had not heard of it. Believe I saw Persona but don’t remember plot. i remember the film about mother and daughter, mom was pianist and controlling, didn’t like that one…

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      1. Lynch does a great job with, “Mulholland Drive”. Just as you think you have a handle on everything, whoops, no you don’t. The film has that Old Hollywood thing going on, which is a perfect back drop for the story to unfold.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh that’s weird. Dune is one of my favorite books so I had high hopes for the movie (back when it first came out) and I did love it but it hasn’t really stood the test of time. I watched it this past winter. But Isabella Rossalini is just amazing in BV.

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