Fed up with "Diane's dream" theory

Original Poster
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 8
After 4 watching of MD and doing some reading in this forum I have come to a conclusion about the film like that :

Betty is not the fantasy of Diane like everyone accepted somehow. Besides in Lynch clues there isn?t ant statement about a dream. In addition I don?t think that the story is that fragmented as we thought. I would say instead the film?s story is based on Betty and Rita discover that the true identity of Rita is Diane Selwyn. So Rita sees that the corpse is herself (it is seen that the shape of corpse is similar to Rita for the audience), and she overwhelms with such a grim fear. She wants to cut her hair to get rid of that awful feeling but Betty interrupts and she starts to do all the things which helps Rita. She gives her a wig to release her from the identitiy of D. Selwyn and makes her Camilla Rhodes with this wig, (the name Betty has heard in Adam Kesher?s audition that day). After they have made love that night Rita starts to speak in her dream. Bettry tries to wake her up but she refuses to wake up, the dialog is like that:

Betty: Rita, wake up

Rita: No, no.

Instead, Rita invites Betty to her dream, Betty accepts:

Rita: Go with me somewhere...

Betty: Sure. Now?

Rita: Right now!

Betty enters into Rita?s dream Silencio. In this dream Rita gives all the clues to Betty so that she can write the story of Diane Selwyn and her death. In this story or film script of Betty, she takes over the role of D. Selwyn, Rita plays Camilla, waitress Diane plays Betty, pimp Joe plays a hitman. (the real D. Selwyn was a call girl like the girl at the Pink?s, in the right arm of the corpse there?s the same bruises like in the hooker girl), Coco the apartment managers as Coco the Adam?s mother.

Blue Box is Betty?s story book that she filled it fully in the Silencio, and she herself is not included in the story because se has nothing to do with Diane Selwyn?s life. And she dissapears before Rita opens the box (probably Betty awakes in that point) and she enters the true story of herself which she forgot.

And that accident at the beggining is such a terrible that it is impossible someone has survived it. But Rita somehow goes out that car wreck with only a head hit. So everything shows that Rita is a ghost, nobody sees her other than Betty.

That's my observation about MD.
Feb 11, 2007 5:06 AM
0 0
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 249
I like it! It's somewhat close to what I see but not exactly the same. I think there is much more to the story than that, but you only gave a quick summary so maybe you think so too. The similarity to what I see is that the story can be seen by viewing the film as it is, without turning it inside out and seeing it backwards as if it were Diane's dream.
Feb 11, 2007 10:20 PM
0 0
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 231
I like the idea that Rita, as an individual, is real, and that she's on a quest for identity. Every now and then, while watching Mulholland Drive, I am struck by Rita's shrewdness, and her knowing looks (the smirk she has when she enters the bedroom to announce that her name is Rita, a name she took from Gilda's poster on the wall; her unwillingness to look in her own purse or call the police or a doctor; her severe probing look to Betty as she opens her purse; her relief when Betty announces that there's nothing in the paper about the accident and that nobody's home at #12; her look of recognition when facing the Lamp Lady, etc.). Rita has always appeared to me to know far more than what she's willing to tell.

If we take Rita to be a ghost, that wanders off after the fatal accident trying to resolve things for herself, we can well understand Rita's opening of the box as a sudden realization of the truth, and the rest of the movie as the retelling of that story as per Betty's understanding. I'm really not sure why she would need to disappear, though, since her role is that of a scribe meant to record everything. But it makes sense that, having collected all the evidence, she would re-tell it, through her own eyes and interpretation, so the memory of it isn't lost.

In my view, though, in the context that you describe, four people apparently have the gift to see Rita's ghost, in addition to Betty herself, who's been appointed as the scribe: first, Diane the waitress, second, Louise the psychic, third, Coco the manager at Havenhurst, and then the Lamp Lady in Sierra Bonita. Makes me wonder why those particular people would be invested with this special ability.

I'm also curious to know what you make of the phone call to D. Selwyn: "Strange to be calling yourself. [..] That's not my voice." And Betty's look of horror and slight hyperventilation when she hears: "Hello, it's me. Leave a message..."


Personally, when I take the angle that Rita is real (yes, it happens sometimes), I consider that Betty is the ghost, a little helper in Rita's mind that she turns to and talks to because she's completely at a loss, grappling with the sudden shock of her two miraculous escapes from the shackles of death. She makes her a Diane look-alike, goes places with her and leads her subtly to help her resolve her predicament.

When Rita opens the box, she finally finds out the truth about herself: her identity as Camilla, and who it is that tried to kill her, for what motives, etc.

The reason I see for Betty's disappearance is that, having recognized the truth, and understood, all at once, the identity of the person who ordered the hit on her, Betty ceases to be sweet and likable in Camilla's eyes, and disappears from the picture.

Camilla then rewinds some of the events of the past, and putting pieces together gradually, concludes that her meanness at the dinner party carried Diane to such extremities, and feels truly sorry for that.

The merging of the two laughing figures, all made of light, at the end of the movie, then truly becomes a parallel conclusion as in the film Gilda, when Rita Hayworth says: "Isn't it wonderful? Nobody has to apologize, because... we were both such dinkers, weren't we? Isn't it wonderful?"

Welcome, whitenoise.
Feb 11, 2007 11:52 PM
0 0
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 8
I just wanted to put a new insight about MD because everybody in this forum seems like they accepted the film is based on Diane?s dream like it is a given fact. I just made a very brief summary of the basic plot from my point of view. Of course this is a multi layered movie and the complexity of it stems from there are film sets within a film set (MD). I think many people see this as dream scenes rather than acting, or role playing. For example Adam Kesher?s entering to his house and seeing his wife and poolman reminds me part of a porn movie. All the people there are like they are acting. And the fat guy who look for Adam in his house, Adam?s wife attacks him is again a part of the same porn movie.

And this Audition scene which Adam tries to cast Sylvia North story. This is a complete film set, everybody in there is acting. It is not a real audition.
(I tried to attach an image here but it didnt work)
Probably the director of this film set is Cowboy, who shows Adam how to act in an individual meeting. Diane Selwn and Camilla episode of MD is also a film which Betty plays the role of Diane. That part of MD is completely acting not real. This Cowboy is again probably the director of Diane Selwyn story. Remember that Linney brings Betty to a film set to meet her with a bright director. I think that director is not Adam but Cowboy.

This film is all about acting and film sets within film sets within film sets. Remember that Woody Katz (or Jimmy Katz) says "acting is reacting" in the audition with Betty.
Feb 13, 2007 7:41 AM
0 0
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 249
whitenoiseI just wanted to put a new insight about MD because everybody in this forum seems like they accepted the film is based on Diane?s dream like it is a given fact.
No! Not at all! As I mentioned above, I do not at all think that Diane dreams the first part of the film. I agree with you fully about that, though I still see the film a little differently. I have to leave now, but I'll respond more completely later.
Feb 13, 2007 8:44 AM
0 0
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 249
whitenoise: OK, I have more time than I thought today, so, a couple of comments. First, if you haven't seen INLAND EMPIRE yet, I predict that you will like that one a lot!

Now: At the meeting, Adam does not go along with what is expected of him so he is told: "It's no longer your film." Then he smashes the car of the Castiglianis, who seem to be the financial backers of the film. Then Ray meets with Roque and asks, "The director doesn't want her. Do you want him replaced?" Roque says nothing because it is self evident.

Next we find out that Linnie doesn't think Wally's movie is ever going to go anywhere, that Woody Katz is just doing him a favor, etc. So, presumably, so was Bob Brooker. They go across the hall to Adam's set. Here is where we come in to your comment about it not being a real audition.

The movie has been taken away from Adam, but the film company has a lot of time and money invested in this crew, so they let him go through a charade of doing the casting. That, in my opinion, on that level, is why it does not look like a real audition. (I said I didn't think Diane dreamed all this, but that doesn't mean that I think there are no dreams in the film: I think this scene is dreamed by the blonde Camilla, again why it does not look like a real audition; it is her dreaming of getting what she wants.) Now, while all this is going on, Linnie is talking to Ray in the background. Perhaps he is telling her his troubles with Adam and she is putting a bug in his ear that Bob Brooker will soon be looking for another job. In any case, we later learn that Bob Brooker directed the Sylvia North Story. He is the director who was chosen to replace Adam.

The other part of your view, that Betty is the actress who plays Diane, is interesting, and possible, but I can't imagine where it leads, why it would be part of the story. I'm not saying it's not because maybe you see it, but there are many ways of viewing MD that start to become a story and then there is no more to them and loose threads are left hanging. When I say the audition scene was dreamed by the blonde Camilla, I don't mean that I see that as just one passing event: I see that as the heart and soul of what the movie is about. So maybe you can expand more on your view of Betty as scribe. We've certainly been shown proof of her dynamic acting ability, so that fits. But why would she be Diane's story teller?

Another thought is that the idea has been brought up that the scene of Camilla on the couch with one hand curiously behind her head appears to be not real and somewhat like something from a porn movie. I can't remember where the posts about this are right now but maybe someone else can.
Feb 13, 2007 9:50 AM
0 0
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 8
well Berny, look at that scene while Carol singing ,camera zooms out slowly and we see the whole picture very briefly. I think that scene shows us it is a film set which everybody is acting including Adam. It's just an observation of mine, I don't insist but it seems to me there isn't any other dream scene than club silencio in MD. Nobody's dreaming but everybody is acting. Acting is the whole world of MD, like in club Silencio the magician looking guy tells us everything is illusion and fake. Acting is faking and that's the world in Hollywood. Everybody wants to be someone else like Rita does. And Betty is very good at being somebody else and making Rita somebody else. She is a good actress.
Feb 13, 2007 10:48 AM
0 0
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 231
whitenoiseI just wanted to put a new insight about MD because everybody in this forum seems like they accepted the film is based on Diane?s dream like it is a given fact.
I don't think you'll find many people adamant to defend one particular viewpoint. In spite of appearances, most of the time viewers take quite a bit of time to come to a conclusion about what the movie means for them, and have gone through a lot of different versions or viewpoints along the way. At least that's my case. Over time, people have come up with 27 different viewpoints on it; I feel affinity with about a half-dozen of them, but, to me, that doesn't make other viewpoints invalid.

You are right, of course, to note that there are many references to acting and movie sets. In many ways, Lynch portrays the acting process, and the scene with Woody is a striking example of that. Yet for Lynch, life itself is an act, our lives are roles that we put on and take upon ourselves to experience ("a man's attitude goes some ways, the way his life will be"). So there is also inner logic at work, I think.

I like the idea that the Cowboy directs the director, and eventually directs the whole play ("I'm driving this Buggy"). And I'd never thought of the dinner party being a scene from a different movie, where Betty plays the role of Diane. But then the movie becomes solely an allegory on acting, does it not?
Feb 13, 2007 10:52 AM
0 0
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 231
Berny RabbitNext we find out that Linnie doesn't think Wally's movie is ever going to go anywhere, that Woody Katz is just doing him a favor, etc. So, presumably, so was Bob Brooker.
I don't think Bob is doing anyone a favor by his presence. Poor Wally has to poke him in the ribs every other second to get a reaction from him, and dang his directing is, uh, hard to grasp. I wonder if anyone will ever attempt to rehabilitate Bob... Bob, maybe?

Berny Rabbit The movie has been taken away from Adam, but the film company has a lot of time and money invested in this crew, so they let him go through a charade of doing the casting. That, in my opinion, on that level, is why it does not look like a real audition.
It looks real to me, or at least, not entirely grotesque. The costumes are kitsch and funny, but the performances are delightful. Carol does a fantastic job, I love the way she runs her hand down the mike pole at the end of her song, as a sexual hint, to seduce Adam; it's beautifully acted, and has a wonderful atmosphere of the 50s to it. Of course, it's unlikely that there would be so many passersby dropping in on an audition, etc. I think it serves to heighten the contrast between the private audition in Willy's office, and the public audition on Adam's set.

Berny RabbitNow, while all this is going on, Linnie is talking to Ray in the background. Perhaps he is telling her his troubles with Adam and she is putting a bug in his ear that Bob Brooker will soon be looking for another job. In any case, we later learn that Bob Brooker directed the Sylvia North Story. He is the director who was chosen to replace Adam.
Yes, that's a dreadful possibility.

Berny RabbitSo maybe you can expand more on your view of Betty as scribe. We've certainly been shown proof of her dynamic acting ability, so that fits. But why would she be Diane's story teller?
Off context: Interesting how that would relate to Sunset Boulevard, too: Betty Shaeffer picks up a scene from one of Joe Gillis's plays and elaborates on it with him. "I think a picture should say a little something."

whitenoiseIt's just an observation of mine, I don't insist but it seems to me there isn't any other dream scene than club silencio in MD. Nobody's dreaming but everybody is acting. Acting is the whole world of MD, like in club Silencio the magician looking guy tells us everything is illusion and fake. Acting is faking and that's the world in Hollywood. Everybody wants to be someone else like Rita does. And Betty is very good at being somebody else and making Rita somebody else. She is a good actress.
That's a perfectly valid viewpoint. But then, what is it that fascinates you, if anything, in this movie, if it's but a collection of acted scenes, and a stern and severe assessment of the world of Hollywood? What does the dream stand for at Club Silencio, and who's dreaming it?
Feb 13, 2007 11:24 AM
0 0
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 249
whitenoisewell Berny, look at that scene while Carol singing ,camera zooms out slowly and we see the whole picture very briefly. I think that scene shows us it is a film set which everybody is acting including Adam. It's just an observation of mine, I don't insist but it seems to me there isn't any other dream scene than club silencio in MD. Nobody's dreaming but everybody is acting. Acting is the whole world of MD, like in club Silencio the magician looking guy tells us everything is illusion and fake. Acting is faking and that's the world in Hollywood. Everybody wants to be someone else like Rita does. And Betty is very good at being somebody else and making Rita somebody else. She is a good actress.
OK, I watched the Carol scene again. It can be seen HERE by the way. I would call it a scene in which everybody is acting including Justin Theroux ? and I believe it describes the same phenomenon except that it adds the dimension of the world in which the viewer lives and in which Justin Theroux lives as well. What we see there is a couple of tremors of reality. The first time we see it we might for a moment think that Carol is singing, until it dawns on us that it is an illusion (it's Connie Stevens) ? because dubbing in the sound is how movies are made. So it looks real until we notice that the lip synching is something that happens in the movie and not just as a result of it. I think the most convincing of such synching (though in the reverse order, sound first and image after) is that of Rebekah del Rio because she knows the song so well. Precisely the point of the film which is supposed to be the most illusory (such a thoughtful detail!).

I think that the film is about moving between abstractions of reality, one of which is that of film ? the one I think you are talking about. The dramatic high point of it is Betty's audition where we watch three different people at once (Watts, Elms, and the character in the script).

The reference to Watts is the same thing: she lives in our world. She has a number of ironic lines that refer to herself. "Strange to be calling yourself." Louise responding to her saying her name is Betty: "No, it's not!" (It is Naomi), etc.

So, again, I don't follow the story of Betty playing Diane at the party because Betty is also from Deep River, also won a Jitterbug contest, etc. Why would she ascribe this same background to her character? Again, I'm not saying there is no story there, just that I don't see it yet. What I do follow is that Naomi Watts is telling us what we just saw. Who did we see, Betty or Diane? We saw Naomi.

But I see the film within film aspects as only one of a number of such movements, others being dream within dream and memories of past lives. Maybe more, but that's what comes to mind.
Feb 13, 2007 4:26 PM
0 0
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 231
Berny RabbitThe first time we see it we might for a moment think that Carol is singing, until it dawns on us that it is an illusion (it's Connie Stevens) ? because dubbing in the sound is how movies are made.
I honestly think that the entire audition is made in playback, for body language: Adam is choosing his lead actress purely on looks, shunning character.

Berny RabbitI think the most convincing of such synching (though in the reverse order, sound first and image after) is that of Rebekah del Rio because she knows the song so well. Precisely the point of the film which is supposed to be the most illusory (such a thoughtful detail!).
Always looked to me like she was singing live. I'll have to check again.
Feb 13, 2007 9:17 PM
0 0
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 1
spiff06 knows where it's at.

It's all celluloid. When making films, nothing is real. It's all created to look real. We all know that this is a film about making a film. Nothing is what it seems and no character is what they seem.
The beautiful thing about this film is that Lynch left it wide open to interperatation. You can believe that Diane, Betty, and both Camilla Rhodes are all the same person and are just stages of Diane's spiral into the corruption of hollywood. Or you can believe that it's part dream, part reality. You can believe whatever you'd like. There is no wrong answer.
Mar 19, 2007 12:18 PM
0 0
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 117
Certainly everyone is entitled to have their own interpretaion of this movie but I would suggest that there are very good reasons why most people have come to accept the "Diane is dreaming" construct as the best way to explain this movie. IMO just because Lynch has not stated one definitive explanation of his movie does not mean it is open to ANY explanation that can be dreamed up. Consider that MD is like a maze with one true solution and selecting between 'Diane's dream' and 'Not Diane's dream' is like chosing irrevocably, between a path to the solution or not, as the case may be. I am still reading articles that explain things about Diane's dream that I find new, fresh and most importantly complete. Whenever I read any other theories they are usually very pedantic, lack any sort of cohesive structure of symbols or motiffs and most vexingly, they almost never account convincingly for eveything that happens in the movie.

My view.
Apr 29, 2007 6:47 AM
0 0
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 10
I agree with Lancespearman. Some real thought and substance can be found in some non-dream theories. But ultimately, non-dream theories leave too much unexplained while dream theories can account for most everything. I have a hard time swallowing the idea that there is no significance to the start of this movie with a POV of a head sliding to a pillow (Diane's pillow) nor of how drastically everything changes after the Cowboy says, "Time to wake up".

If the story opened with the word "action" or even "silencio" I'd be more accepting of the theory it is all a movie. But we know that's how the story ends.

[QUOTE=Lancespearman]Certainly everyone is entitled to have their own interpretaion of this movie but I would suggest that there are very good reasons why most people have come to accept the "Diane is dreaming" construct as the best way to explain this movie. IMO just because Lynch has not stated one definitive explanation of his movie does not mean it is open to ANY explanation that can be dreamed up. Consider that MD is like a maze with one true solution and selecting between 'Diane's dream' and 'Not Diane's dream' is like chosing irrevocably, between a path to the solution or not, as the case may be. I am still reading articles that explain things about Diane's dream that I find new, fresh and most importantly complete. Whenever I read any other theories they are usually very pedantic, lack any sort of cohesive structure of symbols or motiffs and most vexingly, they almost never account convincingly for eveything that happens in the movie.

My view.[/QUOTE]
Apr 30, 2007 4:46 AM
0 0
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1
I think when someone is dreaming, that person is in the dream, either as a participant or as an observer. That person must be the at least an observer to carry on a dream.

If the first part of the movie is Diane's dream, there shouldn't be the scenes of Rita got in the accident, walked to Aunt's Ruth place, or at the end when Rita got the blue box and Diane disappeared.

If the first part of the movies is Diane's illusion, it may work.
May 2, 2007 6:34 PM
0 0
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 5
I agree with the dream theory, Rita does not exist, Diane dreams her into being because she is in love with Camilla, but in the waking reality, Camilla is not het girlfriend anymore and Diane is in denial. Rita is the part of Camilla that loved Diane, in other words, Diane's perception of Camilla's love, but Rita is Diane, too. In the dream this woman is not Camilla, she is Rita because Camilla is only in the outer world, Rita is Camilla filtered through Diane's pained psyche, which is dreaming. The love story inside the dream is successful (despite the efforts of the mysterious Company and the Cowboy, which could be an oniric symbol of fate), in contrast with the love story outside. The sad thing about it is that the dream is meant to crumble away, while the harsh reality will still stand long after Diane has woken up. Her dream is a structure made out of what Diane has seen in her waking moments.

The way I interpret it, Rita ends up being Diane herself in the dream (but not quite) because that's a symbol for love, you and the loved one are somewhat intertwined, and paradoxically, you love while you're isolated in yourself, you never enter the mind of the other person. I think that's the beauty of the movie, you never grasp the whole meaning in words.
May 9, 2007 10:21 PM
0 0
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 8
I think I started to believe in dream theory too after I made some other readings in this forum and figured that Lynch's main obssession is dreaming.

Well, I have the right to change my idea right?
May 17, 2007 4:08 PM
0 0
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 5
i think its possible the whole movie is composed of dreams. But I'm not so sure its just one person's dreams.
Jul 8, 2007 12:05 PM
0 0
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 249
risingphoenixi think its possible the whole movie is composed of dreams. But I'm not so sure its just one person's dreams.


How would it work with more than one dreamer? Who would be dreaming and what would the story be?
Jul 8, 2007 9:04 PM
0 0
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 8
Berny RabbitHow would it work with more than one dreamer? Who would be dreaming and what would the story be?

I think the first part is totally real except Dan in the diner. I think that it is Rita's dream when she is sleeping under the table. But everything else is real and the second part of the film is actually Rita's dream. She almost got killed twice, once at gun point and then in a car crash, she saw a dead body, and found a new girl friend. I would have some pretty ****ed up dreams too. If all that happened in the space of 2 days
Jan 19, 2008 10:39 PM
0 0