Mulholland Drive Me Crazy

Not wanting to spoil my viewing, I waited until after the screening until I read J.J. Murphy’s chapter on the film and its unique narration.  Now I wish I hadn’t waited.  I spent the first two thirds of the film (probably until the club silencio sequence) waiting for the different threads of the film.  The diner scene really got me…I’m sure that got some kind of sub-conscious Pulp fiction thought process going in my mind so I struggled for the majority of the film waiting for the pay-off of interconnected narration which never came (at least not in the Tarantino sense).    That being said, I can still say that I enjoyed the experience of watching the film.  There were sections of the film where my lack of understanding allowed me to simply enjoy what I was watching in the most basic way.  I became fascinated by scenes like the lip-syncing audition, the cowboy’s appearance, the pool-man affair, and the club silencio scene simply in an emotional, visceral way not immediately connected to my investment in the narration.  Lynch, like Tarantino, succeeds with these scenes of quirky humor and musical interludes despite the narrative complexity.   In my mind, Lynch did exactly what he wanted to do; he got me.  He used established conventions and ideas and turned them inside-out, playing with the viewer’s comprehension of his film.  This not only allows ambiguity of interpretations (as most films do) but of simple comprehension as well.  I, like many other people, couldn’t resist hitting ‘the tubes’ and doing some online research of the film when I got home and despite my desire for an answer, I wasn’t surprised to find a large number of different explanations.  The film breeds it.

The fact that Mulholland Dr. was half-produced as a television series and half as a feature film is something so unique it becomes hard to make sense of.  We brought up some of this in class, such as use of well-known actors in very minor roles.  But this production split is such a huge influence I was surprised it is not mentioned more often in many of the theories about the film.  It’s such a unique story that I suppose there are really very few other works to compare it to.  I keep thinking about the Singing Detective and how that six hour series could have been condensed into a two hour film.  Would that be possible in order to still have the film make sense?  I’d like to think that maybe this is why Mulholland Drive is so uniquely confusing and narratively complex, but is it really that atypical of Lynch’s other work and style?  I know Lynch doesn’t want to explain the film outright and I appreciate that because I think it would take a lot away from what he did.  But I would love to hear an in-depth interview that at least addressed some of the problems or changes that occurred due to the bizarre production history.  Either way, I’m sure the second time I see this film will be an entirely different ‘experience’ which is something that certainly can not be said about every film.

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