David Lynch’s mind-bending mystery-drama Mullholland Drive IS a brilliant commentary on Hollywood’s machinations AND has been named by BBC Culture’s critics’ poll as the best film of the century so far. Its very roots lie in television: the film began as a failed TV pilot and was salvaged into feature-length format
Mulholland Drive’s own troubled history, and the studio politics and power plays depicted by Lynch in the film itself, hardly feel like coincidences.
SOMETHING BAD IS HAPPENING
Unravel the Mystery of MULHOLLAND Drive
Mulholland Drive (2001)is a tale of romantic affliction. The locus of desire is Hollywood and the dominant figure of desire is that epitome of universal longing: The Hollywood Actress.
The dark but lovely dream of Mulholland Drive is an extraordinary tale of love, simultaneously obsessive, murderous and utopian. It is the love of one Hollywood actress for another.
Betty (Stage name: Diane Selwyn) is the aspiring actress who falls prey to superstar actress Camilla Rhodes’ seduction.
Through the LESBIAN LENS
Viewing Mulholland Drive through the LESBIAN Lens we see Female homosexual love as sensual and dangerous and as erotic and pathological.
It is when Betty tells the director’s mother Coco (During the engagement dinner for Adam Kesher (The Director) and Camilla) that she met Camilla (who Betty lost the part to) on the set of movie: The Sylvia North Story that the latter starred in.
Betty continues , saying that Camilla has helped her career by giving her bit parts in Rhodes’ movies.
At one point during the engagement party another woman walks up to Camilla, whispers something in her ear and kisses Camilla on the lips, then looks directly at an anguished Betty:
Now we know that this is what Camilla does: She seduces less famous actresses.
Coco rolls her eyes in disapproval at Camilla’s behavior, shaking her head and patting the disposed ex lover Betty’s hand in a show of sympathy.
From Charles Baudelaire’s ode to Lesbos (Les Epaves, 1866) to Tony Scott’s vampire flick The Hunger(1983), the figure of the lesbian is adorned with toxic glamor, much as she has been used in monotonous and conventional fashion like in heterosexual male pornography.
David Lynch’s portrayal of lesbian love in Mulholland Driveis influenced by a poetic understanding of the female homosexual as an extraordinarily radical figure of modernity.
Mulholland Drive manifests by mixing the romantic narrative of a love affair with surrealism. Revealing the surrealist truths of romantic love, where sexuality and death are powerfully intertwined with one another.
The surrealist heroine of this Hollywood dream, is the actress Betty/Diane – for she is two characters (the Innocent aspiring actress and the jaded, indirect killer) who succumbs to self-hatred, murder and self-destruction.
The third act is where the viewer sees the leading and haunting main theme of Mulholland Drive: Obsession.
Betty’s TRUE reality: it is here that we are given entrance to a world that is not nearly as pretty as presented during the first 2/3rds of the movie.
This is also when the viewer has more insight into Betty’s deluded sense of reality as she stands in her dilapidated kitchen, envisioning a rapturous reconciliation with Camilla (The object of her Obsession) that devolves into villainous intent.
Lynch’s depiction of women and Hollywood could effectively be likened to expressions and understanding of character, violence and myth.
Mulholland Drive pointedly alludes to women’s ambivalent, marvelous and tortured role in Hollywood, unveiling the actress as the perfect yet dehumanized woman.
With a sweet and savage post-modern playfulness, the actress is perpetually playing a modern and surrealist character who is a repository of myths to be re-read and transfigured.
Mulholland Drive remains richly ambivalent. David Lynch relates the dehumanization of the actress to a surreal, comic and grotesque enigma.
The life of the actress is a dreadful riddle as her love story remains a ravishing and richly perplexing tragedy, where the love of Hollywood women creates a potentially utopian realm which is at once both deeply dangerous and romantic.
Finally the themes in Mulholland Drive may be viewed as a form of love which may be seen as absolute and autonomous as well as authentically feminine.