(USA/FRA - 2001)
Directed by David Lynch, which received two Oscar nominations (Best Director and Best Original Screenplay), two Golden Globe nominations (for the same categories) and won Cannes' 2001 award of Best Director, Mulholland Dr. isn't just a film: it's an experience. After watching it for the second time, and being left speechless once again, I might say my views changed a bit - now it looks even more like a masterpiece.
There are many interpretations to the film, and one of the reasons why I loved it more this second time is exactly because, on the first, my own interpretation was quite simplistic and narrow-minded. Now, I caught so many things that had passed unnoticed and blew my mind that I suddenly realised the real masterpiece-factor about Mulholland Dr. is the multiplicity of particular Mulholland Dr.'s David Lynch allows us to create.
The plot develops around a car accident in Hollywood, which leaves Laura Harring's character spotless and bruised - she can't remember her own name (and I'll keep it as a secret for now, using the actress' name instead). In fiction, memory loss has always been an interesting resource for controversy, but, here, it is just a small fraction of a series of twistings and symbolism.
After the opening scene, Laura breaks into a small apartment, to where Naomi Watts' character, Betty, an aspiring actress from Deep River, Ontario, moves in order to try and get her big screen role. It is quite unsettling to see how friendly Betty reacts to the presence of a total stranger in her aunt's apartment, but maybe it's because she's so excited about living in Hollywood (and Watts' performance is so powerful you can almost taste the excitement), she cares about nothing else...
Laura's character's got a purse, and, presumably, inside that purse there's a lot of money. But there's also a blue element which will be crucial to the development of the most accepted theory, which divides the film into two parts. As much as I like this theory for the explanation it provides to many symbols, I think it is still too linear.
After some brief awkward conversations, the girls go after Laura's true identity, and things go on following that headline with usual thriller elements, adding a not so clear or totally random scene every once in a while. Most of these scenes only make sense after you watch the film and think about it for a minute. You'll probably need more than one, though.
There's a point where you'll think "hmm okay, this is where I'll start to figure things out", but don't expect the film to serve it all on a plate for you - it won't. The truth is, Lynch will keep playing with your mind, with revelations, flashbacks and twists through a cinematography that oscilates (and that might be a tricky feature as well) between brownish, deep shadows, for the interiors, clear, simple white light for exteriors and monochromatic, foggy blue, for special occasions. Some scenes are a true delight for the eye, and I could barely feel the 146-min lenght of the film.
As said before, many see Mulholland Dr. as a film divided into two parts. Others say it works better as a looping (and everyone has a preferred point to start/end it). There are others, still, which believe the parts come all out of order and you'll need to pull them together, like a puzzle. I, particularly, gave up on trying to give it a final answer: I find much more fun to discuss it, to read and think about it in different ways - all of which can be true, since there's nothing proving otherwise. After all, that's one of the beauties of art: the possibility that you, through your personal experience and impressions, give meaning to it.