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Mulholland Drive

Directed by David Lynch.
With Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, Justin Theroux.
US, 2001, 35mm, color, 147 min.
Print source: Universal

Like Billy Wilder’s film named after another iconic Hollywood street, Mulholland Drive tells a sordid tale of the industry of illusion and its boulevards of broken dreams—but for Lynch, these dreams fold into dreams within dreams within dreams. Originally intended as a pilot for a television series, Lynch’s möbius riddle was rejected by TV executives. In restructuring it for the silver screen, Lynch crafted one of his finest masterworks. When the perky, wholesome Betty Elms lands in Hollywood for what could be her big break, she meets “Rita,” an ostensible femme fatale who is rendered identity-less because of amnesia from a car accident. Lynch’s (and Hollywood’s) dazzling dream factory sets to work with mysterious objects, startling visions, amusing detours and revelatory alterations in acting styles and character identities. The noir cracks open and gives way to a multi-toned, terrifyingly beautiful hallucination that is as much a complex reflection on Hollywood as it is an endlessly transforming psychological puzzle. Cinematic archetypes—including all versions of the female presented or rejected by Hollywood—double, reflect and regenerate into uncanny metaphors in Lynch’s subconscious minefield where the fluid layers of identity, nostalgia, desire, deception and projection could be in the minds of the characters, the audience, or a complete fabrication by dark, unknown forces behind the scenes … or well beyond.

PRECEDED BY

  • I, an Actress

    Directed by George Kuchar.
    With Barbara Lapsley, George Kuchar.
    US, 1977, 16mm, black & white, 10 min.

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