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Thread: The Dual Nature of Diane's Dream - (Dave H.)

Betty & Rita = Light & dark side of Diane

I believe I've arrived at an integrated theory of the dream. I could be wrong, but I'm just not yet able to find significant holes in it. I’m aware of two major interpretations of MD:

  1. That the purpose of Diane’s dream is that she wanted to be Camilla and also wanted to own Camilla – for Camilla to be dependent on her – in essence to switch roles. In this formulation, Rita is a reinterpretation of Camilla primarily in body, but is more like Diane in soul/mind.

  2. That the purpose of Diane’s dream is her wish to split off her dark/evil side (in the person of Rita) from her light/good side (Betty). So in reality, Betty + Rita = Diane. But in Diane’s dream fantasy, Diane becomes Betty, assuming she can cast off Rita – and keep them "divorced" (although this eventually fails).

Anyway, this theory is not really an integration of two purposes of roughly equal importance. The second theory is by far the most important one that points to the central purpose. The first becomes a part of the second by simply being absorbed by it. And note that I said the second theory "points to" the central purpose. Yes, even the second theory isn't the overriding purpose - but it puts us on the way to it.

Ok. Diane does not expect to be rid of her dark half. So she wants to reconcile with it - cometo terms with it - accept it fully as a real part of her - in other words, to live with it to the fullest extent possible. Because it's really herself. But there's more. Diane believes that the only way to fully accomplish this is to fall in love with her dark half - really herself - the rest of herself. But she needs more - she needs to have it - Rita - love her back. When you think about it, this is all natural enough. I mean, Diane simply wants to love herself (Betty plus Rita). This is something that as human beings we all want to do - in fact need to do.

Now, Diane is Betty in the dream, as she views her good side as dominant (mistakenly, we'll see), although it's "latent" in real life. She does not know until the end of the dream, that Rita - her dark side - is the true dominant side. You might wonder that if the purpose of Rita in the dream was not to represent Camilla, why does Rita look like her? To make Diane's dark side as attractive as possible, making her easier to fall in love with. For reasons I'd like to discuss later, I believe Rita is the bum - just all dressed up and made lovable. It was no random choice for Lynch to have cast a female in that (the bum's) role. Note that, other than Diane, only two individuals ever handle the blue box (which I think somehow represents Diane's soul): Rita and the bum.

Dan (the dark-haired guy at Winkie's), is the only witness to the evil act of Diane's (in a deeper sense, he's actually a witness to Diane's dark half in action), in witnessing the transaction with the hit man at Winkie's. Diane can't repress her act, nor her dark side, even in the dream (she's actually trying to reconcile with her dark side in the dream, in the guise of the bum all dressed up - as Rita). But on a more superficial level, if she can kill Dan off, she can at least get through her dream easier, pretending that her dark side isn't that bad. Thus, she kills off the only witness to it; then proceeds to gradually "cozy up" to her dressed-up dark side (Rita) with the hopes of a reconciliation with it; an acceptance. The result is that Diane will love herself.

Diane/Betty needs Rita's expressions of love for her in order to become really whole again. Diane believes that she somehow has to fall in love with her dark side - really herself. But she believes - knows - that this is not enough. She sees her dark side as a separate "entity" as well. And as a separate entity, it/Rita would have to fall in love with Diane-as-Betty as well, for Diane to become whole: The "dark" would still "exist", but no longer as a separate entity - it would be absorbed by the dominant Diane-as-Betty. As a whole being, finally in love with herself, Diane believes that not only would her suicidal depression naturally abate, but her latent powers (that she truly believes she has) will naturally emerge and shine (e.g., talent, self-confidence, lovability, attractiveness, etc.). And in real life there is much truth to this idea.

Later on, in a scene from the reality part of the film, Camilla calls, but Diane doesn't pick it up right away. The answering machine repeats the message "Hello, it's me. Leave a message". This shows that in the dream, Betty is actually calling "herself" (i.e., Diane) while trying to discover Rita's identity. It really seems as if Diane's dream presents two aspects of herself, Betty and Rita, calling Diane in what looks like an attempt at self-identification.

So, the key scene in the dream is in bed, where Rita does not return Betty's expressions of love for her. And this is precisely where the dream starts to go out of control and come apart. After they make love, we see their faces merge (camera shot of them in bed). It becomes clear, though, in the whole context, that what's happening is that Betty is being absorbed by Rita. Note that right after this, Betty starts to lose control and become dominated by Rita as Rita practically drags Betty off to Silencio. Note Betty's facial expressions on the journey to Silencio: For the first time she's lost, frightened, out of control. More like Diane. Finally, back in the room after the discovery of the blue box Betty is the first to disappear, as she becomes completely absorbed by Rita.