All about Carol - is this the girl?

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blu
 
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Re: All about Carol - is this the girl?

Postby blu » 30 Jul 2012

Oh bollocks. I just lost a very long post to my own cack-handedness. I will try to rewrite.

I'm taking this a bit off-topic, so I apologise and will maybe split it off, depending where thye discussion goes.

Firstly, I think that Lynch chooses his film references more carefully than Adam Sandler films, but without seeing the actual thing I can't comment definitively.

Secondly, on Shaw, I agree with some of his broad brush ideas about MD, but think he gets tied down far too literally with some stuff. It's a long time since I read his essay, but for example, he tries to directly connect the characters in MD to some of the quests of the characters of The Wizard of Oz, FAR TOO LITERALLY. In very long winded fashion he kind of achieves his aim, but to me he's bending the film (MD) a little bit (a lot) to fit what he wants. He says "well, as you can see in this scene Adam represents the Lion off on his search for his courage" or whatever, but doesn't talk or focus about the "Oz" chalk on the floor, the "turn back sign", the graffiti, or the burned female Witch/Bum behind Winkies - genuine connections between the two films.

Thirdly, whilst I have some personal issues with Shaw's essay, I have to hold my hands up to the sheer amount of effort the guy put into writing that because it's the most comprehensive (if single minded) collection of words on MD that you will find in a single document, as far as I know.

Fourthly, and this is not a criticism of you kmk, but I struggle with overtly supernatural or religious readings of this film. I am all for letting people develop their own ideas and finding their own path, and over many years I hope that I have questioned and helped and prodded people in doing that, but I remember strongly supporting a thread on IMDb some time ago, that essentially said "cut the crap and let's get down to business". The point of it was that there is too much lost time and energy either indulging or defending pet theories and personal interpretations, and that too many people appeared to be allowing the tail to wag the dog. It was one of the last times that I properly engaged on IMDb and the irony of people in their entrenched personal corners accusing others of being closed minded was too much for me, and part of the reason why I pushed for us to open our own forum. That and the horrible board software they use. I'm not saying that personal views cannot enrich insight and understanding, just that in some ways I think it's a huge misuse of energy to argue about reincarnation or some shit rather than watching the film and observing and saying "hey guys, did you notice this before?". I'm also not saying that's what's happening here. I think the last couple of weeks have been the most active for a while and some genuinely good stuff is being thrown around. This thread, for example. I don't think I've seen Carol discussed in much detail for as long as I've been participating in discussions over MD.

Fifthly, Adam should have taken up that inviation from Cynthia. I would have. ;-)

Sorry, a bit rambly. I was more focused first time around. I might re-read Alan Shaw's essay and open a discussion thread, because I don't think anyone has poked at it with any seriousness due to the length of it.

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Re: All about Carol - is this the girl?

Postby kmkmiller » 31 Jul 2012

no no no, Adam's a smart dude, knows better than to go to Cynthia's. But yeah, referencing a Sandler movie is pretty crazy and highly unlikely.

I don't know why people should struggle with spiritualism in David Lynch. I know as a film noir surrealist, the natural inclination is to rely on dream analysis to interpret his work more than, say, the bible. But we do know he does read the bible.

this is from his catching the big fish book:

"Eraserhead is my most spiritual movie. No one understands when I say that, but it is. Eraserhead was growing in a certain way, and I didn’t know what it meant. I was looking for a key to unlock what these sequences were saying. Of course, I understood some of it; but I didn’t know the thing that just pulled it all together. And it was a struggle. So I got out my Bible and I started reading. And one day, I read a sentence. And I closed the Bible, because that was it; that was it. And then I saw the thing as a whole. And it fulfilled this vision for me, 100 percent. I don’t think I’ll ever.."

And we know how Dale Cooper invokes the Bardo Thodol to help Leland reach the light. And then Coop is there hand on Laura's shoulder to help her reach the light. And then, recently, I noticed in the third segment of HOTEL ROOM, ....

Image

And if Hawk in Twin Peaks says in the Black Lodge you meet your shadow self.

And then if the first image we see in MULHOLLAND DRIVE is jitterbug dancers with shadow selves behind them, and an image of the main character smiling looking up at the light, but she doesn't enter the light, she falls asleep to dream instead (and it turns out the second bardo is, according to the wikipedia page on bardo, a dream state).... then I don't think it's undue extrapolation to delve right into the movie as a spiritual sort of thing.

Probably there's an excellent suggestion here: create a different topic thread for the dying dream interpretations, cause it could be rude of me to interject this interpretation in a thread where it has no place. If i did, again, apologies.

But I did try to stay on topic. I think Carol is a fractal of the "real" brunette, but I don't think Cynthia is. Probably just should have left it at that and started the new topic thread on what I like about the movie.

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Re: All about Carol - is this the girl?

Postby blu » 31 Jul 2012

Dude, absolutely no apologies required on your part. I'm the one rambling off the path here.

As far as spiritualism in Lynch, absolutely in some places. Twin Peaks particularly, but I just don't see it in MD.

One of the things I lost from my post first time around was an explanation of that I see MD as an inherently human story, an archetypal story and that I don't see much room for spiritualism or the supernatural in it.

I find it interesting set against Blue Velvet where David has had to argue so many times that Dorothy Vallens is not "everywoman" in the face of accusations of misogyny and mistreatment of that character ... here we have a character in Diane Selwyn that is a story told 100 times over in Hollywood. A genuine everywoman for so many people. Could you imagine being one of those girls in Hollywood, spat out into a diner, a brothel, a porn studio ... wherever, and seeing MD and just thinking "Jesus Fucking Christ, that's my life"?

Btw, I like that you keep using 'fractal' around MD. I posted this on RT quite a while ago now. Took some digging out!

http://vine.rottentomatoes.com/vine/sho ... p?t=549626

If we lose the focus of what this thread was supposed to be about, I'll move some posts, don't worry about that. ;-)

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Re: All about Carol - is this the girl?

Postby kmkmiller » 31 Jul 2012

Fractal is my favorite word, thanks!!! And yeah, i did create the other thread so I can talk about Carol in this one without interjecting too much of my own grand unified theory of the movie.

On that note, I still don't know why she says "you're so cruel to me" to Adam. That is very loaded language, and I'm sure it means something. It would be more applicable if Carol was a Diane fractal cause every one is always so cruel to Diane (as far as her own mind is concerned).

Thought I'd toss that out there.

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Re: All about Carol - is this the girl?

Postby Siku » 31 Jul 2012

I'm totally on board with the fractal thing, I don't believe in a single theory or a bottom of the rabbit hole. One of the other properties of a fractal, in addition to infinite complexity, is self-similarity. While no one part is identical to another (yep - no repetition!), every part is related to every other part and to the whole.

As to wild theories, they are fun and the fractal nature of MD lends itself to them, encourages them even, especially as we delve deeper uncovering more information, and more viewpoints. There is, I believe, one of Parkinson's laws that states that science can never conclude anything, as it endlessly proliferates:

1. Every data set lends itself to more than one theory
2. Every theory suggests more than one experiment
3. Every experiment generates more data
4. Go to 1.

He had a good sense of humour!

But I don't think the absence of a single theory negates the posibility for increased focus, as in how we might summarise the mandelbrot set: it's kinda heart shaped... it's kinda heart shaped with a blob at the end... it's kinda heart shaped with a blob and two cutouts here and here, etc. so that we are moving towards an increasingly complex, but increasingly accurate, understanding.

As to spiritual interpretations: I wasn't into them but having just watched ALL of TP for the first time, I think there are intertextual references here that allude to it: Palm(er) trees, the Sylvan North Story and most of all the little man in the curtained and windowless room. If you're looking for a caricature of the devil, the magician at club Silencio is a pretty good fit.

To me the Bardo interpretation rests on the issue of WHEN Diane is dreaming. Is it before the Lamp Lady knocks on the door, or is it in in her dying moments? If the second then the whole after-life supernatural thing becomes completely reasonable, but I'm pretty sure I've seen it argued that it CAN'T be then... But I can't remember now why that is, and have lost track of the debate on the issue.

Talking about devils and gods (and Nick is the traditional name of the devil), draws fire away from the HUMAN side to the story, which ultimately resonates with me so much more, and makes for a more powerful and more meaningful narrative, IMHO.

Good call blue:
blu wrote:Could you imagine being one of those girls in Hollywood, spat out into a diner, a brothel, a porn studio ... wherever, and seeing MD and just thinking "Jesus Fucking Christ, that's my life"?
This is REAL these are our LIVES.

Shaw's essay is, currently, the definitive text on MD, but it's not exhaustive and his willingness to stretch certain analysis (e.g. Oz), is odd given his almost wilfull ability to ignore other aspects, e.g. the clues that The Lamp Lady and Camilla are the same person, as I posted in a still-active thread here (though without any conclusion). The only other analysis of similar depth is the site and this board, plus the many other threads that were on RT. Perhaps one day there will be another text of smiliar size and scope to Shaw's essay, taking into account the many many observations and view points recorded by the site.

With regards to Cynthia, why do you think she's trouble, kmkmiller? Also, I have to disagree, I believe she IS a fragment of the Camilla Brunette - she's colour coded that way. She's offering love and refuge. And she's doing it on the phone. Phone calls are important in MD - contrast this call and what's said and meant with the content of the calls Diane would have received working as a call girl from room 16 at the Park Hotel!

I have no problem with going off topic, and moving posts might be odd, now that we've discussed the issue! But I would like more input on Carol... The reason I want to discuss Carol is that I love this scene. The connection between Betty and Adam is so powerful and so tragic, because we know it's doomed.

kmkmiller wrote:I still don't know why she says "you're so cruel to me" to Adam. That is very loaded language, and I'm sure it means something. It would be more applicable if Carol was a Diane fractal cause every one is always so cruel to Diane (as far as her own mind is concerned).


Well it was cruel for Diane to be passed over for the lead in her own life story.

I accept that there's very little information on Carol in the film. But she does occupy a key moment, the high point of Betty's career! She is singing 16 Reasons, such an innocent 60s love song, signing off with "You say we'll never part, our loves complete". On the couch, Camilla says, from memory, "This has to stop", Diane: "Don't ever say that!".

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Re: All about Carol - is this the girl?

Postby kmkmiller » 01 Aug 2012

If we look at the scene with Cynthia just for what it is, we see Adam in Park Hotel. (We've already seen Hotels used in LOST HIGHWAY and the failed HBO show HOTEL ROOM). In the previous scene this giant guy who is presumed to be a mafia thug is looking for him at his home on Mulholland Drive. His cheating wife says "he's never coming back," (what? never?) and "get lost." (interesting choice of words). During that scene we hear the music "Bring it on home," which is a Blues Song written in the tradition of singers singing about catching a train to heaven. Google "train to heaven" to see what I mean. Urge Overkill sings a song written in this tradition.

So then we see Cookie climbing up some stairs. Though it's a seedy hotel, Adam is in an elevated place. The number on the door is 16.

This is from Geno Silva in Wrapped in Plastic #57: "David is standing there with this little pot of gold paint and a brush, and he's painting the number on the door! (laughter) And he's into this number thing - it's one-six, because it has to add up to seven..."

God is Seven.

Cookie, in contrast to Coco, is dressed in white. He has a rapport with Adam. Adam says losing his money is "so much Baloney", Baloney is made out of pork. The bible says do not eat pork. Adam says "I pay you cash." There is a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the wall. Cookie goes on to say, basically, that Adam's money is good in his place, but the guys looking for him know where he is. In other words, Cookie's OK with Adam, he's not worried about getting paid, essentially Adam could stay there as long as he likes except for one thing. They know where he is and he says "Sorry" and closes the door on Adam.

I have to say all that because, admittedly, the conversation between Cynthia and Adam is pretty innocent. Without this idea of where Adam is it wouldn't make a difference what Cynthia offers him. But because I think Adam is, for the time being, safe in a place that is managed by Cookie, an offer to stay anywhere else does come with a little danger.

So Cynthia sets up the meeting with the Cowboy and then blurts out the offer to stay at her place.

Really, the only thing we know about Cynthia is those rings on her hand, that she's a brunette and, as you say, she is color coded the same as Camilla. But thing is, she is ALSO color coded the same as Coco. That's why I kind of have to draw the line somewhere on the color coding analysis. Would you say Coco is color coded the same as Camilla? Honest question. Coco is brunette and wears black and red, right? Kind of why I brought up Nikki. At what point can you have a brunette with red lipstick mean something other than another Camilla?

So you could say, all things being equal, if all we had go on was color coding, Cynthia is color coded the same as Coco. And you could say that Cookie is color coded the exact opposite as Coco.

See where I'm going with this?

So Cynthia says "you don't know what you're missing." and he says "get along little doggie." and that's where i think my interpretation of the scene gets strengthened. The "get along little doggie" line is awfully bizarre though it is within the context of cowboy idiom. But why go that far with it? Why call his assistant a doggie, Adam seems arrogant but not overly sexist or rude. What we do know is that dogs, in folklore, are most often found in hell. Whether it be Cerberus or just your average every day sort of hellhound. Lynch did write a comic strip about the Angriest Dog in the World. In WILD AT HEART Jack Nance tells Sailor and Lula that his dog barks some, then he barks and another guy creates fire out of thin air.

So that's my lengthy reading of the scene. In Lynch mythology, Park Hotel is a waiting room outside the White Lodge, to go any where else, especially to go stay with a black and red coded gold ring wearing doggie would be to give up the waiting room outside the White Lodge and stay in a waiting room outside the Black Lodge.

With that said, I do want to redirect these discussions over to the topic thread I created for the Black-White Lodge-ish interpretations of MULHOLLAND DRIVE. Yet, I did want to also answer your question, too.

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Re: All about Carol - is this the girl?

Postby kmkmiller » 01 Aug 2012

Oh I forgot, the one other thing we know about Cynthia is the other conversation she had with Adam, where she wants him to come back to the set cause every one was fired and he has to fix things with Ray, she says "this isn't like you" and Adam says he's going home.

He says "home" three times.

In the next scene Betty asks Rita where she was going.

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Re: All about Carol - is this the girl?

Postby marksman. » 03 Aug 2012

kmkmiller wrote:
He says "home" three times.



I see...so if he now clicks his ruby slippers together he goes back to Kansas!
:2up:

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Re: All about Carol - is this the girl?

Postby Camilla » 04 Aug 2012

I read somewhere that Carol is the most "normal" acting person during the first/dream half of the film, the words she uses, her mannerisms and the way she interacts with Adam are very different from how anyone else acts - don't know where I'm going with this so I'll just leave it at that. Food for thought.

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Re: All about Carol - is this the girl?

Postby blu » 08 Sep 2012

kmkmiller wrote:Basically, yeah, in the Shaw-verse Nikki could be she-Adam, Cynthia could be a brunette fractal. but in the dying dream, tibetan book of dead-verse, the importance of Cynthia and Nikki is how Satanish they look, almost humorously so. Any chance Lynch even referenced the Adam Sandler movie Little Nicky that came out a year prior to MULHOLLAND DRIVE? if the tibetan book of the dead interpretation has any merit, I wouldn't put it past him.

Heh. Weird. I know I dismissed this, but rewatching Twin Peaks recently I realised that there's a side-plot with Andy/Lucy/Dick over a young orphan who is referred to as "Little Nicky" throughout.

I still think it would be unusual for Lynch to reference Sandler (or vice versa, or both), and think this might be coincidence more than anything, but since I stumbled across it I thought I would share.

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Re: All about Carol - is this the girl?

Postby kmkmiller » 08 Sep 2012

yes. and little nicky in Twin Peaks is a pretty creepy devilish little kid.

no, i don't think Lynch is referencing the Sandler movie, i think it's just a coincidence, but a coincidence brought about not strictly by chance, but by an interpretation of the name Nicky that came about long before either one of the movies.

i'm trying to now figure out what that means in INLAND EMPIRE. the main character's name is ....... Nikki Grace / Sue Blue.

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Re: All about Carol - is this the girl?

Postby Siku » 24 Sep 2012

Camilla wrote:I read somewhere that Carol is the most "normal" acting person during the first/dream half of the film, the words she uses, her mannerisms and the way she interacts with Adam are very different from how anyone else acts - don't know where I'm going with this so I'll just leave it at that. Food for thought.

Interesting, thanks. Be great to find the context that observation was made in. :hmm:


Here's what Hulk has to say about Carol:

"[ADAM] CHATS WITH ANOTHER ACTRESS DOING HER AUDITION. SHE'S CLEARLY GREAT. HER NAME IS CAROL AND SHE LOOKS NEARLY IDENTICAL TO LAURA HARRING. ADAM POLITELY CHIT-CHATS AND SPURNS HER INSISTENCE THAT SHE GOT THE PART (WHICH SHE PROBABLY DESERVES)."

His analysis of MD isn't unusual (unusually we articulated though) and pretty much everything he says is probably familiar to you guys. So it's interesting that this mainstream commentator picks up that:
a) Carol looks like Rita/Camilla, and
b) Carol could have had the part.

Thanks Hulk! :up:

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Re: All about Carol - is this the girl?

Postby kmkmiller » 24 Sep 2012

unfortunately Hulk doesn't tie that into the themes of the movie so it's just fixating on one tiny detail to build a theory that ultimately undermines the thematic content of the movie. LOL. kidding.

remember...

"But the important thing in making a case with semiotics is that collective context is the most critical thing to use. It requires that the deduction both makes sense based on all the evidence, and thus fits into the context of everything else presented. It this last part that ritually drives Hulk nuts when people start interpreting art. Heck, there's 90 million lost theories out there that are based on one detail and go on for pages and pages without ever fitting in a larger context outside the argument (Lost "guru" Doc Jensen was particularly horrible at this). One must always be careful not to jump off the handle into meaningless extrapolation. One must constantly ask "How does this all piece together?"


A mainstream critic, Ebert, once wrote there's a blue box in Diane's nightstand drawer, so it's not all that great Hulk can point out the obvious here. As far as mainstream critics go.

I can thank Hulk when he stops taking shots at us meaningless extrapolators.

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Re: All about Carol - is this the girl?

Postby Siku » 25 Sep 2012

Lol! I'm just glad Hulk can see what I see and I'm not going mad! As to Ebert seeing the blue box in the drawer - that IS a good spot (though I suspect he read it posted on some site or other by some meaningless extrapolator or other ;-))

As to tiny details vs semiotics, are you kidding? You quote Hulk's moan but this thread is exactly that - an attempt to knit Carol into the framework or signs around her. This is a syntactic project and is definitely a semiotic approach, if we must use posh words.

I think the risk Hulk is pointing to is that we allow extrapolations from observations of this tiny detail to run rough shod over the gestalt of all the other observations of all the other tiny details.

We don't do that... do we? :whistle:

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Re: All about Carol - is this the girl?

Postby kmkmiller » 25 Sep 2012

why does it matter that Hulk can see what you see?

Everyone can see what you see.

As to tiny details vs semiotics, are you kidding? You quote Hulk's moan but this thread is exactly that - an attempt to knit Carol into the framework or signs around her.


but we haven't done that. all we've is point out she looks a little like Camilla. how does that fit into the rest of movie? (hint: I bet the line, "you're so cruel to me," has something to do with it).

This is a syntactic project and is definitely a semiotic approach, if we must use posh words.

Those are Hulk's posh words actually.

I think the risk Hulk is pointing to is that we allow extrapolations from observations of this tiny detail to run rough shod over the gestalt of all the other observations of all the other tiny details.

We don't do that... do we?


honestly, if anyone else was pointing that out, I would agree. But within the context of Hulk writing up a very boring synopsis of the movie, he manages to undermine further thought about the movie beyond his own boring synopsis. If there is anything I have learned in my old age is no matter how main stream, publishable, eloquent a writer it is, it all boils down to a certain subjectivity. Again, Hulk criticizes another writer, Jeff "Doc" Jensen for resorting to meaningless extrapolation, but what Hulk didn't see is that Jensen did a far better job of fitting details into the big picture than Hulk was able to acknowledge.

Listen, Siku. Hulk says he put together 40 pages of notes on Mulholland Drive, and he still couldn't get Aunt Ruth's name correct. And my experience with Hulk is that if I point that out to him, he will say I'm being rude to him. Hulk is for Hulk. Not for the movie.

That Hulk validates your observation only means your observation is actually pretty obvious. Sorry, but it happens to me too. Every time I come to a new realization about Mulholland Drive, I immediately think to myself "oh crap, how did I not notice that before. i bet i'm the last one to figure that out, LOL."

Now one might think, "Sheese, this dude KMK, really hates Hulk," and to a certain degree that might be right, (i'll fess up to it), but I will still suggest you do not need Hulk's validation on an observation. Not any more than you need Ebert's. You have your eyes. Your discussions on a great forum like this. We are all equals. Trust ourselves.

Besides, Ebert was wrong. That isn't a blue box in Diane's nightstand drawer. It's a blue address book. :shock: :shock: :shock:

See? Even the "experts" can be wrong sometimes.

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