IreneJeanneBates

Irene'sCompanionDanBirnbaum


Sex

 

Female

Quote:

"Remember, I'll be watching for you on the big screen."

 

Sex

 

Male

Quote:

"Betty, it was so nice meeting you … all the luck in the world."

Age

Early 80s

Age

Early 80s

Address

L.A. Airport

Address

L.A. Airport

Occupation

Pensioner

Occupation

Pensioner

Family

Old man

Family

Irene

Relationship

Betty, Diane

Relationship

Betty, Diane

Doppelganger

Camilla?

Doppelganger

Adam?


Irene being inspired by Erinyes? - (darklite)

The Erinyes

The Erinyes

"Erinyes" (The Furies) were the Greek goddesses of remorse and represented the terrible spirits of vengeance and punishment. They lived in the depths of the hell and they pursued inexorably the criminals. Parallels:

Old couple haunting Diane

  • Three goddesses clad in soiled gray robes (Irene wears gray)

  • They pursue the wrongdoers until they are driven mad and die, often driving them to suicide, but never killing them themselves (Diane is pursued, driven mad, and commits suicide)

  • Their ripping claws made their torment relentless and horrible (Irene and her companion hold their hands as if they had claws during their torment of Diane)

  • Their brass wings made escape impossible (Irene wears what could be a brass broach in the shape of a wing)

  • The only known account of the Erinyes being referred to in the singular is in Homer's "The Odyssey" (In Jean-Luc Godard's "Contempt", they are struggling to make a film based on "The Odyssey")

  • The close phonetic similarity between Erinyes (pronounced "i-rin'ee-eez") and "Irene".

Related theories: Making deals with the devil | Fate & Reincarnation


Manifestation of Diane's moral

Why does the elderly couple emerge from the paper bag that the monster has placed on the ground? It’s because, in their miniaturized forms they have "emerged" from the blue-box. Just as part of the secret in the dream "leaked out" in the form of the triangular shaped key – these two little people are something from Diane’s Deep River Ontario past. They are part of her superego, or conscience. Those in our family, whom we get our morals from become internalized into our sense of self, and become part of our conscience. 
Diane's neighbor has informed her that police were looking for her. Then at night as the knocking takes place her "conscience" slips under the door to come at her. Diane certainly cannot answer the door, as the first thing the police are liable to tell her is that Camilla is dead! The blue-key is sitting on the coffee table, but she can’t acknowledge what it really signifies because it is too horrible. Remember Diane at this stage would rather slip into a daydream about her lover Camilla, than remain in reality.
Those two little daemons of conscience then pursue her down the hallway, growing as they do so, and she runs from them, horrified of finding out the truth. In the room she clearly knows exactly where the gun is and quickly, before the second secret can be revealed to her, ends it all. The final images of the film show us that in the sleep of death Diane is finally where she wants to be. - (Bill)


Jitterbug judges

Old couple at the Jitterbug contestI get the feeling that this couple is a part of Diane's superego in overdrive. They induced so much pride in Diane after winning a small-time dance contest, that she foolishly went against the odds and tried to parlay that into a Hollywood career. Perhaps the couple is a projection or amplification of the judges who showered Diane with compliments about her dancing. Diane then took these compliments to a grandiose extreme. When she faced the harsh realities of Hollywood (being one of many starving actresses who fail to be accepted into the realm of the superstars), her dream imploded on her. Manifestations of this implosion are a failed relationship and failure to realize her 'potential' as an actress. When Diane is at her wits end in the final 10 minutes, it is fitting that this couple (the reason she ended up in this mess) are there to drive her to take the life that they helped to ruin. - (KShermock)


Parental figures

Her parents may have died when Diane was young, and Irene and the older gentleman were based on the grandparents who raised her. With "parents" born two generations before, I bet such a child would have issues and unrealistic expectations of how easy it would be to succeed. And before her suicide, in the moment of her greatest desperation and psychosis, Diane would have matched her feelings with the way the thought of her grandparents made her feel at that time. - (Trichome)


Old couple in limo"Another example of Diane's refusal to accept responsibility is revealed in an odd scene early in the movie that is part of Diane's dream. Betty has just arrived in Los Angeles with an elderly couple, Irene and her companion. As Betty takes a cab to her aunt's apartment, the couple are shown in a limousine laughing, eyeing each other knowingly, while Irene slaps the gentleman on the leg three times. They have the look of two people who have just pulled off a great gag or scam and gotten away with it. This couple is never identified, but they are seen with Diane onstage during her Jitterbug contest win in Ontario - the win she used as a stepping stone to get to Hollywood. When things didn't work out the way Diane had hoped, she concludes that she was the victim of some scheme by the seemingly kind couple.

Diane believes she's done everything right, played by the rules, yet outside forces have conspired against her, resulting in her failure - even to the point of her belief that the elderly couple who accompanied her from Canada set her up for failure."

Wrapped in Plastic #57


Classically, Irene and her companion represent some sort of parental figures to Diane - moral centers who would instill and drive her guilt for committing a monstrous crime. Their representation though is also mirrored by society seeking justice and hence would be the “two detectives” seeking out Diane and bringing her to social justice.
However, there is another way to look at Irene and her companion. They could represent the longevity of a relationship; where a couple is together for so long, they can even share a joke without speaking. The limousine scene in Diane’s dream where the two are laughing with each other without speaking word supports this notion. The couple still could be parental in nature to Diane but also represent the end result of a true long term commitment. Something Diane can not get with Camilla. - (jschroeder)


My guess is that Diane ran away from home to escape her parents/grandparents. Given the name of her town (Deep River) basically means "deep water" I think there is a suggestion that she was "out of her depth" or otherwise in trouble there. Coming to L.A. in reality hasn't worked out (to put it mildly). So in her subconscious, she tries to put everything right, saving Rita, having a perfect relationship with her, having Adam ruined, having her relationship with the old people be perfect. At the end, the old people are chasing her and terrifying her because they are a symbol of a crushing reality rushing back in. That's why they are coming out of the box which is opened with the key - the key signifying knowledge of Rita's murder. At that point it is too late, and she can't keep up the idyllic dream. She can't stay in L.A. because "those detectives" are on the trail, and if she does go back home it will be an admittance of failure, and to an unhappy environment. At that point, suicide seems the only escape. - (NxNWRocks)


Maybe the couple are some slim metaphor for the false kindness Betty has found in L.A.; i.e. being kindly on their journey and initially wishing her well, but as soon as she turns away - they almost seem to be mocking her with their eerie smiles. They represent the evil of the city and in the end they come to taunt her.


Abusive tormentors

Although she tried to repress the memory of the abuse, Diane's relationship with her grandparents never recovered, and she did not feel loved by them. But when she got older, something happened that helped to produce a new and more pleasant dimension to their difficult relationship. When Diane was a young adult, she won a Jitterbug contest in Canada. Her grandparents were very happy about this and they seemed to suddenly believe in her again. It was as though she could win their love back as long as she was a star. They even encouraged her to pursue her dream to go to Hollywood. 
But the images in the beginning of the film that show the grandmother and grandfather characters being loving and supportive in the Jitterbug scene and in the airport scene may have been misleading. Since Diane distances herself quickly from these figures and never revisits them after Betty arrives in the fantasy, their relationship to her was ambiguous at best. And their bizarre laughter as they left the airport without Betty hints at a more sinister reality in their relationship with Diane. And this means that the Betty persona's innocence was just an oversimplification of her traumatic history. Those two sweet old people were false memories of parental figures who were actually her abusive tormentors. And in the end we see that her mind is descending back into the fantasy to tell her that their true nature has now been uncovered and they are coming for her again. Their connection to the incest theme is more obvious here because a bed is involved. Diane's attempt to repress the reality of the past trauma (child abuse) was a complete failure. - (Alan Shaw)

Related: The Magician and the blue-haired Lady present Diane's grandparents


Adam and Camilla

Adam and CamillaOld coupleWe see the old couple grinning maniacally in the limo. Not only do they look like two people who have just set a trap and are reveling in a bit of revenge, they are also reminiscent of Adam and Camilla laughing uncontrollably at the party as they try to make their announcement. Remember their announcement led directly to the scene where Diane hires the hitman. Also notice the similarities between Adam's glasses and the old man's glasses.

Finally, at the end of the movie the monster behind Winkies sets down a paper bag. Inside the bag we see the blue box, some raw meat (death), and a beverage can's tab (something's been opened …). Then the old couple crawl out of the bag. They are on their way to Diane's to seek vengeance because she had them murdered. They - are Adam and Camilla. - (fornus)

Theory: The old couple represent Adam and Camilla


Trivia: Jeanne Bates (the actress playing Irene) also played Mary's mother in "Eraserhead". She passed away November 28, 2007, aged 89.


Threads:
The tiny old people may not be parent-figures. - (Rochas)
Just what IS going on in that limo? - (blu-riven)
Adam and Camilla Strike Back! - (fornus)
Something I didn't understand - (FilmFoo) Laughing in the Limo
Grandparents definitely exist - (BOTWOOD)

Related:
Sexual abuse

Jitterbug Contest