My explanation of Mulholland D.

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My explanation of Mulholland D.

Postby Coffee Cup » 31 May 2015

The first thing I believe is that the Jitterbug contest did actually take place in Diane’s life. It’s probably the only thing in life that Diane was good at. Therefore, she uses the Jitterbug contest in her dream as a way to get the whole thing rolling. Betty is created in Diane’s dream. Like Diane, Betty was also in a Jitterbug contest.

All of the events that take place in Diane’s dream also took place in reality. But in the dream, Diane changes the details of those events. The outcomes of those events are the same in both, but the details are designed to hide what really happened to Diane in reality. By doing this, Diane doesn’t have to experience all of her feelings, mistakes and failures that led her to become unsuccessful and miserable in Hollywood.

In other words, she found a way for reality to take place while silencing all of the hurtful memories, failures and mistakes she made.

If you read the back of the original VHS tape for this movie, it says “She found the perfect mystery.”

What could that possibly mean? What is a perfect mystery?

The perfect mystery is a mystery where no part of it gets solved. There’s a reason everything happened, but those reasons have been disguised or remain a mystery.

Diane dreams up fake reasons for everything that happened to her. It’s designed to hide the truth and create a perfect excuse for everything.

So, with that in mind, let us consider the car crash.

In reality, there was a car crash but Camilla was not in the car. Diane’s parents were killed in that car crash. This is the first instance where we can see that reality has been altered to hide the truth. After her parents die in the crash, she had to go live with her grandparents. She was sexually abused by her grandfather. Her grandmother knew about it, but told no one and also told Diane to keep silent about it. Diane did keep quiet about it and held that silence inside her for a long time (Probably until she met Camilla). The only person she was going to tell was her Aunt Ruth who lived in Hollywood as an actress. Unfortunately, Aunt Ruth died before Diane was able to tell her. Ruth willed Diane some money. Normally, that money would have gone to Ruth’s brother or sister (Diane’s mother or father), but they died in the car crash so Diane ended up with the money. Diane took the money and ignorantly decided to hit Hollywood and follow in her Aunts footsteps by becoming an actress. Diane’s failures in Hollywood led to Camilla’s murder and Diane’s suicide.

In Diane’s dream, there is also a car crash. But instead of her parents being in the car, the woman who Diane’s feels ruined her life is in the car (Camilla). As a result of the crash, Diane (Betty) becomes a rescuer of Camilla inside her Aunts fancy apartment. In reality though, Camilla rescues Diane from prostitution after her willed money runs out, helps Diane get a job at Winkies and becomes her roommate at Sierra Bonita while they both pursue a dream of becoming a Hollywood starlet.

And the movie just continues on and on this way from scene to scene until we see the red lampshade.

In the next major scene with Betty, she auditions for a movie. But instead of being a lousy actress, she’s the best thing they’ve ever seen. Again, the event has been altered to avoid the truth.

Then, she goes to audition for The Sylvia North Story, but notice that she doesn’t actually audition because in reality there was only one audition, not two. In the dream, she can’t get the lead role in that movie because of the Castigliani brothers. In reality, Bob Brooker just didn’t think she was any good. It’s important to note in this scene the eye contact between Adam Kesher and Betty. Lynch wants you to know that when Adam first sees Betty, he realizes that she is the perfect gal for the part. That’s exactly what that exchange is trying to tell you. It’s the highlight of Diane’s outlandish and bizarre customized dream that has an excuse for everything. She dreams herself into exactly what type of person she wishes she was. Adam sees the perfect girl for the part (Betty), but there is nothing he can do about it. He is not in control of that lead role. It had already been decided that Camilla would take the part. Again, reality has been altered to hide the truth.

In reality, Camilla was actually good at acting and that’s why she got the part. But in the dream, it has nothing to do with her talent…..it's the Castigliani brothers. Diane creates the brothers to shelter and hide the hurtful truth that she’s not good at acting and that Camilla was better than her.

In the next major scene with Betty, her and Camilla sneak into an apartment and find a dead body. But of course, this is just another alteration of reality because Diane has no idea who the dead body is or how she died. Lynch cleverly has Camilla act out in horror because Diane knows that Camilla is the dead body and that Camilla is seeing herself dead. In reality, that’s Diane and Camilla’s apartment with Camilla lying dead in the bedroom. Diane hired a hit man to kill Camilla. He snuck through the kitchen window at night, raped and murdered Camilla then left a blue key somewhere so that Diane would know it’s done. Diane pretended to discover her dead body at home and called the police. Investigators had been questioning her ever since.

Then we have Club Silencio where we learn three things. First, Diane has a lot of bad memories and secrets wrapped up inside her. She has kept silent about a lot of things for a long time. Those memories terrify her. That’s why she trembles in her chair. All of the things she has kept silent about are slowing coming back to her as the dream ends. Second, sometimes people can do a very, very convincing job at hiding the truth. I doubt there has been a single person who saw this movie and remembered the message, “It’s all a recording” when Rebekah Del Rio came to the stage and then fell to the floor as the tape continued to play. That performance was quite convincing. Third, Diane realizes she must wake up from her dream and remember reality. The blue box is the connection between Diane and her reality that many I’ll memories haunt her life. Betty and Camilla go back to the apartment, but Betty disappears as Diane begins to awaken from the dream. Camilla is the last character in the dream and vanishes as Diane wakes up.

Then we have the red lampshade.

This is Lynch’s turn to tell the story. After you see the red lampshade or the ashtray, this is Lynch’s clue to let you know he is showing you reality. He is showing you Diane’s story. But in Lynch’s version of Diane’s story, the details of those events are again changed. However, unlike the dream where the events are designed to hide the truth behind Diane’s feelings and memories, the events are designed to highlight and emphasize her feelings and memories. Tricky huh?

This is where all the abstractions come in. It’s important to realize that the events being shown to you in these scenes did actually happen, but they did not happen in the way they are being shown to you (Just like in Diane’s dream). However, the way Diane ends up feeling as a result of those events is the way she actually felt. Lynch is required to show you these scenes in this way or else you’re simply not going to understand why Diane feels the way she does. He can’t just show you a dinner scene at Adam Keshers house where he proposes to Camilla. He has to make it cruel, secretive and hurtful so that you can understand Diane’s feelings. Was there a dinner party? Yes. Was it surreal, cruel and secretive? No. Did Diane feel devastated as a result? Yes.

Was there an event where Adam Kesher captures Camilla’s heart in a vehicle on the set of The Sylvia North Story while Diane watches helplessly? No. But did Adam’s relationship with Camilla grow strong while they filmed together on the set of that movie? Yes. Did Diane end up feeling hurt and helpless as a result of that relationship? Yes.

Was there a hot and saucy sex scene at Sierra Bonita where a topless Camilla says “You drive me wild” right before delivering the news that their relationship should end? No. But did Diane and Camilla form a sexual relationship in that apartment whereCamilla did eventually tell Diane she wanted to break off the relationship? Yes. Did Diane end up feeling angry, betrayed and hurt as a result of the breakup? Yes.

To me, there is no real deep, underlying truth or message to Mulholland Drive. Lynch has given us some clues to help us understand the story, but it’s not like this movie is his ingenious and cleverly disguised masterful interpretation of The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland or some meaningful event we all know of or took place in his life. I think many of us would find great joy in making a discovery like that. I don’t believe it exists.

Basically, Mulholland Drive is the story of Diane Selwyn. But instead of just showing you the events of her life as they actually took place (Which he quite easily could have done), he first shows it to you in the form of a dream where reality is altered to hide the feelings the main character. Then he shows it to you again where reality is altered to emphases the feelings of the main character. He wants you to know that no matter how hard you try, you cannot hide from who you really are. You can fool people by hiding your fears and keeping your deepest secrets silent, but those fears and secrets will ultimately come and find you if you don’t face them yourself.

If you want me to explain any of my interpretations of other scenes, please ask. I’m happy to share my thoughts on this intriguing and mysterious movie.

Coffee Cup

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Re: My explanation of Mulholland D.

Postby Siku » 22 Jun 2015

Hi Coffee Cup, thanks for taking the time to post such a long and thorough examination of the movie. i think your approach and observations are spot on, although, for my money, you don't go far enough.

Coffee Cup wrote:Diane’s parents were killed in that car crash... She was sexually abused by her grandfather. Her grandmother knew about it, but told no one and also told Diane to keep silent about it... The only person she was going to tell was her Aunt Ruth who lived in Hollywood as an actress.


Can you tell us how did you arrive at these conclusion? I like them, and the back story you are creating for Diane is plausible, but is it just speculation?

Also, you don't really mention the Cowboy, or Blonde Camilla. Aren't they important characters?

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Re: My explanation of Mulholland D.

Postby Coffee Cup » 22 Jun 2015

I put Diane's parents in the car crash because it explains a couple of things:

1. Why Diane had to live with her grandparents
2. Why she ended up with the will money from Aunt Ruth.

It also goes along with my theory where everything that happens in the dream also happened in reality, but the details have been changed. In reality, there was a car crash. There must be some significance to the crash: her parents were killed in it. Diane changes the details to create Rita.

As to the Cowboy, I see him as reinforcement in Diane's dream that Adam had absolutely no control over who gets the lead role in the SNS. The fact that we see him later in the film when he wakes up Diane, is more of an abstraction than anything relevant. He's just a character in the dream who not only wakes up Diane, but also informs anyone watching the film that everything up to that point has indeed been a dream. Beyond that, the scene at the coral doesn't fit well into my theory which states that what happened in the dream also happened in reality. Did Adam take a drive up to the coral? Possibly. But what details were changed? I don't know. I have the same problem with the scene downtown when Adam gets the news from the Castigliani brothers that "This is the girl." I believe that Diane either created the Castigliani brothers, or used them in her dream to provide the reason why Camilla got the lead role. As to what actually took place in that scene during reality, I don't know.

Still though, after Diane wakes up from her dream, everything we see is an over-dramatization of what happened to her in reality. Were seeing reality, but not in the way it actually happened. Every scene is custom built to emphasize the way Diane feels (Felt). I believe the same but opposite theme is present during the dream. In her dream we also see reality, but it has been altered or manipulated. Rather than emphasizing her feelings, Diane has suppressed them.

As to blonde Camilla: Still confused about who she is and what happened to her, she has found a dead body. In fear that she is somehow tied into the death of this woman, she feels the need to disguise herself in case anyone is looking for her. In the sink, she cuts her hair, but Betty has the idea to use one of her aunts wigs to change her hair from brown to blonde. Along with that, Diane gets to make Camilla more like her. In reality, Diane was jealous of Camilla and wanted to be like Camilla. It's just another instance of Diane changing the details of reality. Instead of wanting to be like Camilla, she finds a way to make Camilla like her.

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Re: My explanation of Mulholland D.

Postby Coffee Cup » 11 Sep 2016

I've watched the movie numerous times since starting this thread. I haven't come up with any new theories.

I'm still convinced that the first half of the movie is simply Diane's dream. All of the characters from Diane's life are in the dream, but she changed their roles in order to hide reality and point blame onto others for her failures in Hollywood. Here's what I mean:

In the dream, Diane's grandparents aren't her grandparents; they're just some friendly people she met on an airplane. Diane's Aunt Ruth isn't dead; shes off to Canada to star in a film. Adam Kesher's mom isn't Adams mom; shes the landlord at Havenhurst. Camilla isn't a talented actress; she's a person suffering from amnesia who needs Betty's (Diane's) help. The money willed to Diane isn't will money; it's some mysterious cash lacking an explanation. (The Castiglione brothers?) Bob Brooker isn't a top-notch director (Who didn't think much of Diane); he's an aloof moron sitting in the corner. The lamp lady isn't Diane's ex lover; shes just one of the tenants of Sierra Bonita. The dead body lying in bed isn't Camilla; it's an unidentified woman. Even Diane herself isn't Diane; she's Betty.

The whole first half of the movie is just an elaborate dream. It's like one big giant lie about what happened to Diane in Hollywood. The truth is too painful, so she twists it all around in the dream to hide it. All of Diane's feeling are hidden and suppressed.

Then, in the second half of the movie, all of Diane's feelings are finally revealed via over-dramatized and abstract snippets of reality. We get to see all the reasons why Diane created the dream.


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