Mulholland Drive

Director: David Lynch

One of the most dream-like, hypnotic and erotic of all Lynch’s films, Mulholland Dr. uses the backdrop of Hollywood’s dream factory to explore his recurring fascination with the fragility and malleability of personal identity. Stepping out of a car on Mulholland Drive, a gorgeous brunette (Laura Elena Harring) narrowly escapes being killed. Meanwhile perky, wide-eyed blonde Betty Elms (Naomi Watts) arrives in Hollywood with naive dreams of making it big in the movies. As soon as she moves into her flat, Betty finds a terrified naked woman in her shower, a traumatised amnesiac who cannot remember how she got there. She calls herself Rita and, in between auditions, the selfless Betty decides to help her find out who she is.
As always, Lynch’s film is not about plot or character, but about surrendering oneself to a mood. On a superficial level, Mulholland Dr. is a generic tale of thwarted ambition and shattered dreams. But it is also a surreal exploration of Hollywood’s false allure, which is based in no small part on the idea of being someone else. People become actors, actors become the characters they play, and audiences project identities on to the glamorous people they imagine them to be. Dreams are manufactured, nothing is real, even identity itself is fluid.
U.S.A.-France, 2001. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 146 mins.

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