Monika Bartyzel writes about Mulholland Drive for the current installment of the Cinematical Movie Club. Bartyzel’s essay uses the postmodern theory of Jean Baudrillard, Frederic Jameson, and Jacques Lacan to explain the movie. I would like to extend Bartyzel’s discussion by offering some other points of view on the film.
Mulholland Drive is not a favorite of screenwriting gurus. In particular, Linda Seger expressed disdain for the film in her book Advanced Screenwriting: Raising Your Script to the Academy Award Level. In that book, Seger criticizes a lot of more offbeat films, but she reserves a special ire Mulholland Drive, which for her embodies what she calls “The Condescending Stance”:
“Some writers figure that they’re so much smarter than the audience that they write deliberately obtuse films to stroke their own egos. In their minds, they’re superior to their audience. They think that their movies always work and that any percieved unclarities, not the writers’ art or craft.
Why can’t anyone figure out
Mulholland Drive? Is this a good thing, that it never adds up in spite of so many moments of brilliance? Some critics and audience members loved the fact that it seemed like a puzzle. We’ve been watching movie puzzles for years, and are mesmerized by their complexity. But even the critics couldn’t put this puzzle together in a coherent way. The pieces didn’t fit to create a whole.”“