Mulholland Drive (Discussion)

Well, a bunch of us “idiots” got together to watch and discuss this film. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.

There are certain films that I don’t understand very well after the first viewing, yet I sense there may be hidden treasures that would make the film meaningful and excellent. Sometimes when I decide to analyze such a film, I discover that the film didn’t merit the time and energy I put into understanding it. That is NOT the case with Mulholland Drive. If you enjoy watching and solving puzzling movies, I encourage you to spend the time doing so on this film. I believe you will be rewarded for your efforts.

Those of you who are interested in discussing the film, please email me or post here.

I think there are two ways of proceeding in this discussion (but I’m open to suggestions). The first way is to have a discussion about an explanation of the film. Is there an actual story in the film, and if so what is it? Most of the idiots who participated in the face-to-face discussion have a pretty good idea of that, so talking about it with us would spoil the fun of solving the movie. Therefore, those of you who haven’t come up with a solution can talk about it, while those that have, can facilitate and assist the discussion. Part of the reason I loved this film so much was that I came up with a general solution on my own. I encourage those who are really lost to try come up with an explanation on your own first. It’ll make the film experience more enjoyable. If people really don’t want to do this, I can post an explanation (which we can talk about) and jump to the second part of the thread.

The second way of discussing the film can be to talk about the meanings, intention and symbols of the film. After figuring out the general story of the film, the film may or may not have deeper meanings or messages. For this part of the discussion, I would ask people to submit at least three questions regarding these themes, and we can explore them online.

5 Responses to “Mulholland Drive (Discussion)”

  1. Chris

    I’m excited to read this discussion. I like the movie a lot, but saw it a long time ago, and didn’t make a serious effort sequence it or otherwise figure it out. It was just so beautiful and drew me in; it kept creeping back into my mind over the coming week after seeing it.


  2. Reid

    Well, I hope more people who haven’t figured the film out participate in the discussion. I really don’t have much to say–as I don’t want to spoil the fun–except to answer questions or perhaps offer some small hints. Bushido, where are you?

    Max, Marc, Tony and anyone else, I encourage you to take the time to breakdown the scenes to try to determine what really happened in the film. Writing the scenes down helped me get the general idea of what was going on. That and watching it about four times! I’ll try to post a list of the scenes (with my own titles for each) for those who think it may help.

    I also recommend watching Blue Velvet, Lost Highway and Twin Peaks (if you have the complete series on VHS). I also recommend Eraserhead if you’re – . To me, Mulholland Drive is the culmination of all of these films.

    I also think it would be helpful to watch and understand films like Last Year at Marienbad, 8 1/2 and Contempt (all worthwhile films in their own right, unless you absolutely can’t tolerate art films). Understanding these films will help you understand and appreciate Mulholland Drive a lot more.

  3. Mitchell

    I’m sure that’s true, but for those of you who haven’t seen any of those films, as I have not, it’s still quite a good flick.

    It’s just a really interesting movie, even without trying to “figure it out.”

  4. kevin

    Aha. I finally got back online, wandering soul that I am. Thanks to Reid & Larry, Mitchell & Penny for hosting & letting me join their film fest. (Good crab roll, btw.) Reid, I’m still not sure if I buy the “Satan’s minions” theory, but I’ll think about it the next time around. It makes me laugh and get the shivers simultaneously, tho.

    The movie also made me wonder if anybody’s read anything written about identifying this distinct branch/genre of film emerging relatively recently, i.e. the “memory” non-linear narrative. (Eternal Sunshine, Memento, Adaptation, Usual Suspects.)I’m sure others could recall more.

  5. Reid


    I agree that the film is interesting whether you figure it out or not. But I want to emphasize to Marc, Chris, Tony and others that I truly believe there is something to figure out. It is not just a surrealistic film that strictly depends on individual interpretation.


    I’m glad you enjoyed yourself. I haven’t read anything about the films that deal with memory in the way you talk about. It would be interesting t discover if this is a trend, and if that trend means something.


    Remember I’m not totally sold on the “Satan’s minions” theory. And let’s get it straight: it’s not “Satan’s minions,” it’s “The minions of the Nightmare man.”

    I actually heard another theory that is interesting and that you make like more. The theory is that the grandma and grandpa are people that actually rode on the plane when Diane first came to LA. They represent Diane’s promise, and they come back at the end to torment her, symbolizing how far Diane has failed.

    I think I’m getting a better understanding of the meaning of Club Silenzio, too. The club represents the power behind Diane’s dream-fantasy. There is no band, but the magician can create music anyway.

    When Camilla says, “Silenzio. No Hay Banda,” while sleeping restlessly, this signifies that the dream fantasy is starting to break down. Going to the club is a further step in that direction. We see that music can be generated without musicians, which signifies that Diane can be a great actress; she can save Camilla and win Camilla’s love–even though these things are not true.

    Before the magician disappears, Diane (not Camilla) shakes rather violently. This further indicates the erosion of fantasy.

    Finally, Rebekah Del Rio sings a Spanish version of Roy Orbison’s, “Crying.” Here are the lyrics:

    I was all right for a while,
    I could smile for a while
    But I saw you last night,
    you held my hand so tight
    As you stopped to say “Hello”
    Ah you wished me well, you couldn’t tell

    That I’d been crying over you,
    crying over you
    Then you said “so long”
    left me standing all alone
    Alone and crying, crying, crying, crying
    It’s hard to understand but the touch of your hand
    Can start me crying

    I thought that I was over you but it’s true, oo so true
    I love you even more than I did before
    but darling what can I do
    For you don’t love me and I’ll always be

    Crying over you, crying over you
    Yes, now you’re gone and from this moment on
    I’ll be crying

    I thought that I was over you but it’s true, oo so true
    I love you even more than I did before but darling what can I do
    For you don’t love me and I’ll always be

    Crying over you, crying over you
    Yes, now you’re gone and from this moment on
    I’ll be crying

    crying, crying, crying
    Yeah crying, crying, crying over you

    The song is apt given the situation, and the fact that the girl sings it Spanish. Camilla also speaks Spanish, and this signifies (to me at least) that Diane cannot hold back the fact that Camilla is actually dead and that she, Diane, had her killed. Clearly the song upsets both her and Camilla.

    After the song, they receive the blue box. The blue box (Club Silenzio is also blue) is the place where the fantasy-dream exists.

    When they return back to the apartment, I read the disappearance of Diane as her getting ready to return to the real world.

    We see Camilla uses the blue key to open the box, and she gets sucked in. The blue key here refers to the actual blue key the hit man gave to Diane, which signifies the murder of Camilla. Camilla getting sucked into the blue box signifies that the fantasy is partially a way that Diane is dealing with the terrible truth. In the blue-box (Club Silenzio) contains the dream-fantasy, provides the magic to sustain the dream-fantasy.

    Ultimately, I believe the “Nightmare Man” is behind it all. After Diane kills herself, we see images of Diane and Camilla smiling. Before that we see the Nightmare Man.

You can add images to your comment by clicking here.