When the screening of Mulholland Drive Tuesday 29 in Weis Cinema was over, you could definitely say that the general feeling of auditory (and a huge auditory there was) was that of confusion. Surely, the acting was funny, pictures beautiful, and love-making scenes looked great, but what was all that about? There is a sort of films which people are quite used to, with all the story turned upside-down in the final few minutes -- take Usual Suspects, Memento or Sixth Feeling. Such twists are very useful in boasting box-office sales [not sure if itĎs right expression]: you watch Sixth Feeling second time to see how the trick worked, you probably watch Usual Suspects once more for the same reason, though the twist itself does not give much additional† interest (but the good gangster-movie remains). You watch Memento again and again, and every times it gets less interesting, the logic gets straight, and thereís not much good in after all -- only David Bowieís song is still as awesome as it was (believe me, I watched the movie more than dozen times).
It is different with Mulholland Drive. Things fall apart in the final scenes, and even if you wanted to make sense of it, in the end you just give up and say: now this was a funny movie with childrenís horrors and some good music. Or: itís a pity they didnít let Lynch make a good TV-series, weíd be glad to see another Twin Peaks, but thatís a recycled material we have here, a document against stupidity of TV-producers, and nothing else.
This would probably make you never want to watch the movie again. But -- if you watch it second time, there are good chances youíll solve the puzzle in the end, and ass it is always with puzzles, it looks very obvious when solved. Making this kind of puzzle was not Lynchís intent when he started making what finally became this movie. There was a pilot made, about 1.5 hours long, and it was rejected by producers. Thereís an anecdote that what they particularly didnít like was a very close shot of a piece of dogís shit; but we could also suppose that the idea of Hollywood turning into such a nightmarish place just didnĎt work for them. Anyway, this pilot was shelved for some year, nobody would ever know about it if Lynch would not get an idea how to turn it into a movie.
The solution of this filmís puzzle is in no way hidden. The tagline says ĎA Love Story In The City Of Dreamsí. Now, this is mere logic:
In the city of dreams how are the characters differentiated?
-- There is one that dreams and ones that are dreamed.
What kind of love stories happen in the city of dreams?
-- Such in which the dreamer unconsciously dictates the dreamed.
When does the dream end?
-- When something happens that makes the dreamer unable to dream anymore.
Just a couple of simple suggestions, such as one saying Ďwhen you die, you see dreams in which you can see your own dead bodyí, and you will get as clear picture as there could be. And in fact it is not occult sciences or numerology that you have to be skilled in to understand the movie, but gender studies, sexual psychology and such things. [sounds so-so]
What is interesting is that Lynch didnít intend it to be solved this way when he shot the first part of film. That could be a (pseudo) occult film if it would make it into the television. The feeling of throbbing between two worlds is so upsetting here because it is Lynchís own experience that went into it. It is so hard for us to understand that what we see is dream because Lynch didnít know it was when he made it. What he had to do was what† most skillful psychoanalytic would hardly be able to do: to reconstruct the reality from the things which suddenly turned out to be a dream. Not that the waking world proved to be in any way more pleasant than the world of dreams, but, though we canít say that we could not get better thing if ABC had not rejected this project (we just donít know what could we get), there is no doubt† that Lynch made best of the circumstances he was put in, creating a masterpiece in which he displays powers he would probably never display if not forced into doing so.