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Threads: MULHOLLAND DR. In My Mind - (Alfred Romo) | MD dream a la "Owl Creek" & "Jacob's Ladder" - (anastasiaM) | Purgatory Bardo Thodol Interpretation - (kmkmiller)

Dying dream/Afterlife theory

The bulk of the film takes place after Diane has committed suicide, as her head hits the pillow in the opening scenes, we enter Diane's afterlife where she constructs an idealized scenario of her journey from jitterbug winner to movie star. She will now haunt Hollywood until she truly faces up to her guilty past and is redeemed, therefore transcending through the black lodge world and into the white lodge - heaven.
Diane’s death-dream reworks aspects of her waking reality into a new fabric that "cleans up" the stains of her real life. Camilla forgets who she is, thus having the chance to remake herself as a caring decent person. Diane reclaims the innocence and sheer joy that she had before becoming corrupted by the “Dream Place” of Hollywood. The "villain" of Diane’s life, Adam Kesher, gets his comeuppance, and gets stuck with Camilla’s other lesbian lover, recast in the dream as Camilla Rhodes.
Arriving in the Los Angeles airport (city of angels!) Betty is guided by Irene and company, these two people are her guardian angels who basically take Diane from her life in Hollywood into the afterlife. These spiritual guiders are mentioned in numerous religious texts and are commonly held to be true in many cultures. She is basically the walking dead. Spirits who cross over with, either unfinished business or before their time or from suicide, instantly become what are known as "Earthbound" spirits. They are neither in our realm nor the proper realm of the afterlife, but between realms where, as entities, they are stuck in situations that left the most impact on them in traditional life. Evidence: 

  1. Diane is dead, an angel, living in the city of Angels (los Angeles).

  2. Camilla crosses "Sunset Blvd." and the camera pans up to the street sign. Sunset Blvd. is a movie Lynch has referred to as his favorite film. Spoiler!!! It is a movie that is narrated by a person who also is already dead, and it describes how he came to be killed. (There are many homages to Sunset Blvd in Mulholland Drive, including Lynch's use of the same car Norma Desmond came to Paramount in in Sunset Blvd.)

  3. Camilla arrives in Aunt Ruth's apartment. We see Aunt Ruth leaving with suitcases as Camilla arrives. Aunt Ruth, we learn later, died earlier. So it makes sense that Aunt Ruth would be passing through before Camilla, who died later. 

  4. Likewise, Diane arrives in the apartment AFTER Rita/Camilla. Because Diane had Camilla killed, and then killed herself, it also makes sense that Camilla would "arrive" before Diane. 

  5. Other dead people are seen in Hollywood during the movie, specifically the entire audience at Club Silencio.

  6. The corpse on the bed in Diane’s Apartment at Sierra Bonita Apartments. Although Diane’s death dream would have happened in the moments just before actual death, and so her body would not be bloated and rotted like the corpse, at this point in her dream, days have already gone by. Diane is finding her own body, and is seeing the decay that is even then beginning its inexorable process. 

  7. Hollywood is Hell!There is a poster that reads "Hollywood is Hell" affixed to a telephone poll. Betty and Rita pass it on their way to Club Silencio.

  8. The Club Silencio - even Rebekah Del Rio is called "LA LLORONA DE LOS ANGELES." (The Crying Lady of the Angels). People who have crossed are often referred to as "angels" or "guardian angels," depending on who is referring to them. Rebekah del Rio sings, and falls over, apparently dead, but her voice continues. This signals to Betty and Rita that their bodies are also dead, but their voices/spirits are continuing. After they realize they are dead, they have the "key" to moving on in the afterlife, and they both disappear. 

  9. The Cowboy - for all you twin peaks/true Lynch fans you will have noticed how the cowboy is a spirit entity and part of a lodge. Did you notice when the cowboy appears to Adam, the electricity in the light overhead dimmers and flickers? Remember the televisions/fans/cables in Twin Peaks - when a lodge spirit is nearby it alters the electrical charge of its surroundings.

  10. The bum is actually Diane. I think it's Diane's corpse, the rot in her soul. "He's the one that's doing this," says the Man With A Dream in the beginning, but it's not a he it's a SHE (the bum is played by a woman, Bonnie Aarons). Diane is responsible for her afterlife, regardless of what form her superconsciousness takes.

  11. When people die - or are about to die - or facing some kind of life/death pseudo-state (be it past or present or future) in Lynch movies, they're washed with that eerie blue light. It quite reminds me of the "light at the end of the tunnel" - but blue.

As an Afterlife experience, Mulholland Drive has NO unresolved issues. The Cowboy, The Castigliane Brothers and Mr. Roque’s Studio are pieces of Diane that topple Adam and his overbearing control. The Black Book known as "The History of the World" is full of the review of Diane's life. Even popular religions indicate a "Book of Life" to be dealt with when we cross over. The phone calls are internal to Diane, alerting various parts of herself to situations that need resolving. David Lynch has never dealt directly with dreams. It's not his style. - (smapty/cuttingedgenyc/Alfred Romo)