The Blue Key

mulholland drive.jpg

Ok, although we’re doing the poll thing on Troppo a lot of late (on recent popular music and children’s books that influenced us), it’s been a while since we’ve had a good old fashioned Troppo contest.

The topic is David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive. The usual prizes will be awarded for “most creative interpretation of what the film means” and “most consistent interpretation of what the film means”. Oh, and you can be as po/mo as you like, since Lynch himself says he has no idea. And feel free to apply any dastardly interpretive techniques you learnt in High School English class. The contest closes Sunday, when I will also reveal the correct answer!

RESULTS: The deserving winners are Darlene for most consistent interpretation, and Irant for most creative interpretation. Both commenters win – a year’s free subscription to Troppo!

About Mark Bahnisch

Mark Bahnisch is a sociologist and is the founder of this blog. He has an undergraduate degree in history and politics from UQ, and postgraduate qualifications in sociology, industrial relations and political economy from Griffith and QUT. He has recently been awarded his PhD through the Humanities Program at QUT. Mark's full bio is on this page.
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Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2022 years ago

David Lynch makes films, series that have a meaning?

Vee
Vee
2022 years ago

Well, if I had ever seen it.

Fyodor
2022 years ago

I take it you’ve finished the thesis?

OK, I’ll bite: the film does not have a meaning, just an objective. It’s an homage to Lesbian porn. David Lynch got two fine looking women together and decided to let his wing-wang do the thinking…again.

He ran out of ideas after he got Rebekah del Rio to play herself singing “Crying” in Club Silencio [geddit? Music in a club called “silence”! David Lynch is so phreakin’ clever!], which is the second highlight of the movie. The first highlight of course being Laura Harring’s breasts, which unfortunately is the main reason why people (i.e. men) rent this turkey.

That, or “it was all a dream”.

Verdict: overrated eye candy.

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

wrong, wrong, completely wrong, Fyodor
i have devoted a lot of time to decoding lynch movies, i saw mulholland drive 3 times and lopst highway 3 times.
it does have an interpretation that ties up all the loose ends and not just in terms of ‘it was all a dream’ though that is part of it (hint – the scene towards the end where it is suggested the woman shoots herself, the hint of a failed lesbian relationship). i worked it out after the 2nd viewing.
there is a website that decodes the entire film and it was consistent with my own reading so the fact that two people came up with the same coherent tying together of loose ends suggests that this is the objective reading. (you should be able to find the site with appropriate googling)

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

absolutely brilliant movie.
it’s been almost 6 months since I saw it. when i refresh my memory i’ll write down my reading.

Fyodor
2022 years ago

Jason,

Unfortunately, I’m as much of an egghead as you, and forced myself to work out what happened in this movie, only to realize that Lynch used the “Wizard of Oz” escape from stupid plotlines. It’s a pretty movie, with pretty girls in it, but it’s souffle built over a cheesy plot contortion. Memento is a much better movie.

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

fyodor
of course there’s a dream explanation but the trick is working out which part is the dream and which is the reality. it’s lazy thinking to just say the whole thing is a dream.
more details when i refresh my memory (at work now)

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Fyodor, I’m taking the week off. I’ve rented an air-conditioned office to work in from next week where I can happily ignore the rest of the world.

Fyodor
2022 years ago

Jason,

I’ll save you the trouble. This guy does a pretty good job:

http://www.franksreelreviews.com/reviews/mdexplain.htm

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

fyodor
actually i think that was the guy whose explanation matched mine. now you’ve gone and spoiled it for everybody!
and you’re still telling me the plot wasn’t absolutely brilliant, the way he played motifs from the ‘real’ world into the dream world?

ExistAngst
2022 years ago

Your comments link is borked because the file mt-comments.cgi has not had its permissions set correctly. No doubt you need to make sure the file is executable. Email me if you want help doing this.

Fyodor
2022 years ago

Jason,

Hey, at least the site has the decency to provide a spoiler warning, which this thread does not have, despite its revelatory intent.

I’ll back down a little and state that the plot wasn’t entirely drek. I’m simply tired of the convoluted plotlines in Lynch’s movies (I see every one, BTW, as I’m a huge fan of his early work) these days and MD was my particular “tipping point”!

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

ExistAnsgt

We quite deliberately disabled the hyperlink html tag in Movable Type, in order to deter the comment box spam with which we were previously being deluged. We still get a bit of it (because the hyperlink for the poster’s name is still operative), but the volume of spam has been reduced a lot since we disabled hyperlinks in comments themselves. It’s a bit of a nuisance, but not as much as getting as many as one spam comment every couple of seconds (which we did at one stage). I realise there are other possible solutions (e.g. A Turing code log-on script), but I don’t have the technological ability to implement them, and nor does Scott Wickstein who does most of the tech support stuff on this domain. If you were able to assist with implementing a Turing Code, however, your offer would be gratefully accepted. We’d then be able to re-institute hyperlinks in comments without exposing ourselves to a renewed spam epidemic.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

I’m with Jason btw – loved the film and have seen it on multiple occasions.

Darlene
2022 years ago

Ummm, it’s a film that is about two women, one a blonde and one a brunette and they look a lot at stuff.

Remember people asking at my old place of employment whether I had seen it.

Well, no. The verdict from them was that they didn’t have a clue what it was about.

ExistAngst
2022 years ago

Well as best I can see there are a few solutions for dealing with comments Spam. Talk to Sam ward. I doubt very much that he gets any spam because people that comment on his site need to enter in a dynamic codeword.

Another thing you can do is to rename the cgi scripts. These spam bots go in search of the word “comment”. Where ever they find the word “comment” they will attack. Refrain from using that word ANYWHERE, not just where readers see it but also where it is used in your code, and you help yourself a great deal. That includes renaming mt-comments.cgi to something else and going through your index templates and hunting down the word comment.

Another thing you can do is to install a movable type addon called “mt-blacklist.cgi”. I started using that and although i still get spam i get much less.

Anyway…. my initial comment wasnt even about putting urls in comments. It was about your complaint on the right of the main page that the link to the comments dont work. And you can fix that imediately by changing the permissons on mt-comments.cgi.

Kent
2022 years ago

All the Ubersportingpundit pop-up comments boxes have been working for me for the last week or so, oddly enough.

Irant
2022 years ago

All of you are way off the mark.

The secret to MD is to play David Lee Roth’s romantic swinging classic “Eat ‘Em And Smile” the same time as the movie and how the the tracks match up provide clues to the meaning of the movie. I did this and the first time it got all confusing with the music and the movie playing at once. The second time I tried it also was a failure. I turned the volume way down on the CD player prevent confusion so I had no idea when each track started which sorted of defeated purpose of the idea. Of course, given the the CD is only 33 minutes long compared to the 145 minutes for the movie I wasn’t keen on revisting my misspent musical youth 5 times while watching the movie. So I had the movie running in the background while surfing the ‘Net and only paid attention to the sex scences.

Hence this is why MD is an obvious homage to the Simpsons episode where Homer ingests the Guatemalan insanity peppers.

Jim Steel
2022 years ago

I’ll take a few stabs at it.

The traditional explanation linked above was the one that I first leapt to when I saw the film the second time, although I was never quite convinced that it was a dream. I thought, and prefer to think, that it was a sort of subconscious justification to herself of what had happened, that she may or may not still carry, as a way of keeping herself sane.

Alternatively (and in the spirit of Lynch I am going way too far into overanalysis), we could also give more weight to the chronological presentation of the two halves of the story. If the dream is inspired by life, why does it come later? Is he just stringing us along, or is he asking to consider a more dynamic feedback relationship between our lives and our dreams?

Of course, he might just be trying to extract us from story obsession. That was my reaction at the first screening. I tried to follow things for the 90 minutes or so, and then accepted that I would understand later, and relaxed to take in the pictures.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Here’s a clue. In the second half Diane has crooked and discoloured teeth and a few wrinkles while Betty had beautiful white teeth and a flawless brow.

Another clue – the waitress’ name tag is Betty in the second half.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Oh, and if you’re watching it again, don’t forget to count how many times the cowboy in the white hat appears (you have to watch closely) after he says “if you see me one time, you’ve done good, if you see me two times, you’ve done bad”.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

But my clues might be slightly wrong – it’s a while since I’ve watched it…

Buzz
Buzz
2022 years ago

Wasn’t this the pilot to a series that got canned halfway through filming? If so, I suspect that much of the “meaning” of the film appeared during editing rather than in the script.

Anyway, it has some of the nicest eye candy I’ve seen in while – which is no doubt why the movie was truly appreciated by myself and others. Through the power of DVD, the other bits don’t really need to mean much. I reckon the director figured that as well.

My submission for the contest: it doesn’t mean anything.

James Russell
2022 years ago

“the trick is working out which part is the dream and which is the reality”

Actually the trick is working out why we should give a shit either way.

Anyway, the meaning of it all is that “Mulholland Dr.” was a two-hour telemovie pilot for a TV series, and when the series was never picked up Lynch got a few million bucks to shoot another half-hour that wrapped up the loose ends. That’s about the extent of it.

I’ve seen it twice now and didn’t care much for it either time. Conversely, I liked “Lost Highway” a lot better on a second viewing.

Alex
Alex
2022 years ago

Jim Steel said “I’ll take a few stabs at it”.

This is the closest anyone has got yet to the real meaning.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Ok. I’ve heard a lot of people argue for the one “correct” interpretation of MD quite vehemently, and sometimes this isn’t unrelated to intellectual oneupmanship. There are also as a couple of commenters note, entire discussion boards and websites devoted to it. Having read a lot of these, I don’t believe that there is any one interpretation which is entirely consistent with the film.

I think this is deliberate on Lynch’s part. I think there are enough cues to enable people to make a reasonably obvious reading – ie dream, reflecting on a bitter relationship etc. However, I think the film is designed to resist the imposition of narrative. Added to this is the ironic style of reference to many other films and directors, which smuggles in a lot of intertexts if you like.

So what I think Lynch is actually asking us to reflect on is the way that we use narrative to make sense of our lives, but how there is always a gap between this and our actual lived experience. Another way of looking at this could be to reconceive that idea in terms of time, memory, emotion and reflection.

So I think Lynch sends his viewers off on a wild goose chase, and then makes you question why you’re wondering in the first place. Lost Highway to me is identical in aim (and similar in form).