Mulholland Dr.An Extension of Possibilities – The Psychoanalytic Path of Mulholland Drive

In the case of movies, the means to make the audience produce mental activity are light waves and sound waves, and the psychological manifestation in movies is the three-dimensional illusion and the illusion of motion. The light and sound that appear on the movie screen are precisely the human sensations that are being imitated. The stimulation of light and sound waves given to the audience is not a reflection of the current direct action of things, but appeals to the experience of the audience’s memory reserve, that is, by stimulating the audience’s audio-visual senses to mobilize the perception, awareness and thought accumulated and summarized in his memory by the flat in life through the senses, so as to achieve understanding. It can even be said that, starting from the Lumière brothers, all films are psychological films. The billions of combinations of sound, light and shadow are all guiding the viewer’s cognitive process.

In On Photography, Susan Sontag suggests: “Accepting what is captured by the camera is a way of knowing the world, but it is precisely the opposite of knowing the world, for knowledge of the world begins with a refusal to accept the world as it appears. All possibilities for generating awareness are rooted in the courage and ability to say ‘no’.” This intimidatingly new scholar is unrelenting in stating that “mankind remains hopelessly in Plato’s cave, unchanged in its old habits, still intoxicated by images that are not the real itself but only the real.” Plato’s “shadow of the cave”, through the dialogue between Socrates and Glaucon, is a metaphor for the fact that people live in a “cave” of conventional ideas, and that the beliefs and ideals they believe in are only illusions of “truth”. “The beliefs and ideals that people believe in are only illusions of “truth. Plato showed his suspicion of the subject’s senses, believing that the senses, from which all knowledge begins, are unreliable and necessarily determine the unreliability of the knowledge on which to act. Thus, every being acts as a “prisoner of the cave” on different occasions and to different degrees, in other words, we are all, in one sense or another, attacked and deceived by the “cave illusion”.

Various art forms have long been exploring the philosophical relationship between the objective world we live in and our perceptions, and Mulholland Drive is one such film – a film that questions the reality of images and the reality of perceptions, and says “no” to the possibility of perceptions. The film is a film that questions the reality of images and the reality of perception, and says “no” to the possibility of perception. When Jiang Wen talked about The Sun Also Rises, he mentioned the concept of “open cinema”, which means that within the limited time and techniques used, the art of film and television is changed from a storyteller to a guide, thus providing the viewer with an open space for their own imagination and development. In this regard, Mulholland Drive is also an excellent representative.

Let’s begin our journey of analysis of Mulholland Drive. First of all, it is strongly recommended that if you have not seen the film, it is best not to read the following. This is just an analysis of the role of dreams in Mulholland Drive from the perspective of Freud’s theory. Accepting a point of view too early will deprive you of the other rich possibilities of the entire film.

The narrative of Mulholland Drive is divided into two parts, distinguished by the small blue box being opened at about 115′ into the film. The first half follows the usual narrative pattern, which is slightly messy but easy to follow – the main story is about Betty, a young actress who comes to Hollywood to follow her dream of acting and meets Rita (from the film actress Rita Hayworth, the significance of this name will be mentioned later), a woman who has lost her memory due to a car accident. Betty and Rita embark on a journey to find their memories. Their only clues are the car accident the day before and a name that Rita happens to remember – Diane – and eventually the two find a decomposing female body at Diane’s place and begin a homosexual relationship in a state of extreme panic. The first 115 minutes of the film are interspersed with other stories – a man is scared out of his wits by a demon behind a wall, a bumbling killer does a bumbling job (killing his target but being seen by a series of witnesses and having to be silenced), and the ill-fated experiences of director Adam Kesher – and the new film’s lead actress is killed by the financiers. -The female lead in the new film was decided by the capitalist, and he had to compromise because he was made to lose everything for resisting.

The film 95′ to 115′ is the transition between the two parts. After 115′, the narrative begins to shift into confusion (and many have abandoned the film as uninformative.) Betty’s name becomes Diane, and Rita becomes Camilla. Diane is on the verge of a breakdown and finds a hit man (the dumb assassin from the first clip) and asks him to kill Camilla, who eventually ends up in a gunfight.

A brief introduction to the plot is certainly not enough to illustrate the movie’s excitement. This story, which contains a complex relationship between dreams and reality, can be precisely nested in Freud’s theory of dream interpretation.

Freud mentions an important concept, namely “identification”, in the fourth chapter of his book “Dream Interpretation”, entitled “The Make-up of Dreams”. In the case provided in “Dream Interpretation”, Freud’s dream gained a new and rational interpretation when a woman “equated” her image with a girlfriend in her dream. In the woman’s dream, both her own subjective will appeared and part of her girlfriend’s subjective will was also integrated. She dreamed that she wanted to go to the store to buy some smoked salmon for a dinner party, but just in time the store was closed. The call for take-out was faulty. This reflects both the dreamer’s own subjective desire not to give her the opportunity to seduce her husband, and her unfulfilled desire to be “fuller” internalized as the dreamer’s own desire. “It is merely replacing the girlfriend with herself, or, as we might say, ‘equating’ herself with her girlfriend.” Freud’s view in layman’s terms is that what is the subject of the dreamer’s consciousness in a dream is not necessarily the dreamer herself, but the result of the integration of multiple intentions in the subconscious. The dream self is not the real self, but a virtual personality constructed by the subconscious mind to satisfy its desires.

Obscure theories are always difficult to understand, so let’s go back to the plot of Mulholland Drive. We see that the car accident at the beginning of the film (4′) is exactly the same as the scene where Diane goes to a dinner party in 128′. The two identical passages on Mulholland Drive are the film’s most obvious hints that the roles of Diane (i.e., Betty) and Camilla (Rita) have been somewhat swapped. Everything after 115′ is from reality, and everything before that is a dream that Diane has.

Of course, it’s too far-fetched to conclude that this is the case, and it needs to be corroborated by the footage. 2′ in, there’s an odd shot – the panning back and forth, the ragged woman gasping for breath, and finally the camera planted on a pillow – that’s exactly what happens after Camilla’s death is known. This is exactly what happens to Diane when she falls asleep after learning of Camilla’s death. Everything that follows up to 115′ is a dream Diane had that night. Another example comes from the use of props. Diane knows that Camilla’s death was her own doing, so she fictionalizes it in her dream. It is not the purpose of this article to speculate on the details, so I won’t go into the rest of the evidence, you can find it as you watch.

“Diane’s dream is a mixture of complex factors – love, hate, low self-esteem, impulsiveness, regret, idealism, jealousy, guilt, and so on. These factors are mixed to form the various characters in the dream world.

First, love and the hatred that comes from love. This is the reason why Diane killed Camilla, who was her gay partner and friend in Hollywood. Diane wanted to keep the relationship but was rejected (122′). In the dream, Diane wants Camilla to be with her forever, and arranges for the dream Camilla to lose her memory in a car accident in Mulholland Drive. It is obvious that in the part before 115′, Rita is always dependent on Betty, who is in a strong position, and Rita needs her help, protection and comfort in every way. This is where the imitation is most evident – Betty is Diane’s idealized self, integrating some of Camilla’s qualities – good (as evidenced by her excellent acting), confident, unhurried, etc. Diane In her relationship with Camilla, Diane inherits a consistent sense of inferiority, which allows her to integrate herself with the powerful Camilla in her dreams for satisfaction. It is worth mentioning that the Camilla in her dream names herself Rita, after the famous Hollywood actress Rita Hayworth, who plays most of the roles of snake charmers. This shows that Diane is haunted by the great harm Camilla has done to her.

Secondly, the contradiction between ideal and reality. The silhouette dance at the beginning of the film is Diane’s standout performance (we learn later that it is a jitterbug dance, a Canadian and northern American dance). This achievement made Diane ambitious for her acting career. But after coming to Hollywood, she was on the verge of a breakdown due to her repeated failures and failures, and fell into a homosexual affair with Camilla. So the dream Betty has what Diane doesn’t have – an aunt who lives in Hollywood and left her property, and excellent acting skills (probably Diane’s acting skills are also good, but the cruel selection and a series of hints of underhanded manipulation make her never get a chance to get ahead). Diane knows she’s made a mistake and turns her real relatives, the aunts and uncles who raised her, into fellow strangers in her dreams so they won’t grieve for the crimes she’s committed. At the end of the film, Diane’s fantasy before she shoots herself is that of her grim-faced aunt and parents. unable to face the pressures of society and kinship, Diane ends up dying herself. Here, the role of imitation is reflected in the role of the aunt’s parents.

Diane hires a hit man to kill Camilla on a whim, but in her dream she wishes it had never happened. So her hired assassin turns out to be an extremely stupid fool who kills three people in a row to get away. The killer’s accomplice, the grim-faced beggar on the back wall of the Yunky’s restaurant, was the most terrifying thing in Diane’s dream. He was the one who told Diane about Camilla’s death, and probably gave her some evidence (pictures of the wreckage or dead body?) Diane thought of the beggar as a demonic being and stunned a man on the side of the road that day. Unfortunately, Diane’s wish doesn’t come true – the killer kills Camilla cleanly, and the blue box is a hypothetical existence similar to Schrödinger’s cat – it doesn’t determine what’s inside until it’s opened. When it opens, all fantasies and possibilities are transformed (quantum physics calls it “collapse”) into the only reality. Diane realizes that Camilla’s death is a fact, that all her hopes have been dashed, and that she has ended her life in her imagination.

The middle part of 95′ to 115′ takes place in an opera house. The host keeps shouting No hay banda! It is an illusion. As we all know, America is a “A Nation under God”, that is, the majority of people are religious. And Christian doctrine is an important part of the foundation values of many people. The religious scenes in Diane’s dream can be interpreted as a judgment of her own sins by the religious moral line in her mind. In Freud’s theory of consciousness, this scene can be interpreted as a “censorship”. The unconscious desire escapes the censorship in the dream state, which gives us a glimpse of Diane’s fantasy and dream. At the end of the dream, when Diane gradually wakes up, the censorship starts to repress the subconscious, telling the consciousness itself that “it is an illusion, everything is an illusion”.

Unrelated to psychoanalytic theory, the irony of “dreaming” is the biggest theme of Mulholland Drive. The film depicts the darkness of the film industry in a suggestive way – the malicious manipulation of the management, the overbearing power and money dealings, the unfair selection mechanism, etc. These problems are not only the most common in Diane’s film, but also the most common in the film industry. Such problems are also reflected in Diane’s dreams. Actors are at the bottom of the hierarchy and are passive in business. Success is dependent on people and can hurt them. In an interview, Diane’s character Naomi revealed that she wanted to give up on the film and was so depressed that she drove to Mulholland Drive to kill herself. She has mentioned several times that director David Lynch is “exploring my dark side”.

This is the end of the analysis of the film. These pale words can never summarize the meaning of this great film, but only a simple and superficial exploration of the story using classical psychoanalytic theory. To appreciate its deeper meaning, please turn on the DVD player and relive Diane’s nightmare on Mulholland Drive with David Lynch. It will certainly not be an enjoyable experience, but you will certainly get something out of it.

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