“David Lynch has been working toward Mulholland Drive all of his career, and now that he’s arrived there I forgive him for Wild at Heart (1990) and even Lost Highway (1997). At last his experiment doesn’t shatter the test tubes. The movie is a surrealist dreamscape in the form of a Hollywood film noir, and the less sense it makes, the more we can’t stop watching it.” – Rogert Ebert, 1999, Chicago Sun Times
Mulholland Drive began life as a pilot. When it was rejected, David Lynch added scenes and turned it into a movie. From the moment of its release, that origin tainted it, “proving” that the movie made no sense at all. I’ve also heard people posit that any time Lynch felt in danger of losing the audience, he just threw in some lesbian sex. It’s his big joke, filming gibberish that leaves people talking about it even fifteen years later.
But while David Lynch has refused to offer an explanation, while insisting that it tells a coherent story, he is not about letting his audience figure it out for themselves. And I don’t mean offering an interpretation, I mean figuring out the coherent story Lynch is referring to.
I travelled to the reservation alone to say goodbye to my Tota before she died. In Uncle Nicky’s room, I found his movie collection. Inside the DVD for Mulholland Drive, I found a card.
David Lynch’s 10 Clues to Unlocking Mulholland Drive:
1. Pay particular attention in the beginning of the film: at least two clues are revealed before the credits.
2. Notice appearances of the red lampshade.
3. Can you hear the title of the film that Adam Kesher is auditioning actresses for? Is it mentioned again?
4. An accident is a terrible event… notice the location of the accident.
5. Who gives a key, and why?
6. Notice the robe, the ashtray, the coffee cup.
7. What is felt, realized, and gathered at the club Silencio?
8. Did talent alone help Camilla?
9. Note the occurrences surrounding the man behind Winkies.
10. Where is Aunt Ruth?
After reading that card, I crawled into bed and popped the DVD into my laptop. With those clues floating somewhere in my mind, what had always been fascinating and inscrutable unfolded in front of me like a perfect piece of origami. If you never have gotten to the core but you’ve always wondered, I highly recommend it.
And if you’ve always wondered what the fuss is about David Lynch and you want to start at midnight on Saturday at an Art Theater in Coral Gables, then you should just enjoy the ride.
What: Midnight Screening of David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive”
Where: Coral Gables Art Cinema
When: Saturday, May 14th, at 11:45pm
How: $7 and this list of clues in hand
Who: You, my friend. You.