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Can anyone explain David Lynch's new movie Mulholland Drive

01:00 Mon 07th Jan 2002 |

A.� Director David Lynch has invented his own genre in film-making with productions such as Twin Peaks, Lost Highway, Eraserhead and Blue Velvet. His latest offering Mulholland Drive has been hailed "a masterpiece" by critics and he shared the Best Director's gong at Cannes.

Mulholland Drive started out as a possible television series for ABC but was dropped amid rumours of differences. it's a very densely plotted view of the seamier side of Hollywood, described by many as the first truly great cinema experience of 2002. On� the surface, it's the story of Betty (Naomi Watts), a naive young actress who heads for Hollywood seeking her fame and fortune and becomes caught up in� a mystery involving amnesiac Rita (Laura Elena Harring).�The film then launches into familiar Lynch territory - it switches from quirky to confusing as Betty disappears to be replaced by a grungy lookalike Diane Selwyn; Rita turns out to be someone else entirely (Camilla), is apparently romantically linked with Diane and there's a host of surreal events involving smiling pensioners and a blue box that holds the key to everything - or does it

Q.� Critics say it's a metaphor for the decline of Hollywood - is this true

A.� One theory put forward is it reflects the current state of LA. While Betty and Rita may represent film's golden era, Diane is the flipside - from the opening sequence, she is a jitterbug champion whose hopes and dream for success have been dashed by an uncaring industry. Lynch's portrayal of the Tinseltown tycoons could reflect his own disillusionment with Hollywood, or reflect his disappointment that Mulholland Drive wasn't picked up for the small screen.

Other theories put forward suggest the entire film is an extended dream sequence/fantasy. This is thought to be the most plausible explanation among critics on both sides of the Atlantic. Given that Watts turns in a dazzling dual performance as both Betty and Diane, the whole thing suggests that having her apparently disloyal girlfriend (Harring) murdered for cheating on her with film director Adam (Justin Theroux), Diane's guilt-ridden imagination goes into overdrive, culminating in a storyline which sees her as a fresh-faced youngsters trying to solve the mystery of the amnesiac Rita.

Q.� Why are his films always so black

A.� Lynch made his mark exploring the dark secrets of suburban America. It's been 15 years since Blue Velvet - which starred Kyle MacLachlan, Laura Dern and Dennis Hopper - was released. The film allegedly came straight from Lynch's own fantasy "of sneaking into a girl's bedroom and hiding through the night", and some critics said it was a miracle this small-town nightmare ever saw the light of day. It was Lynch's own vision of hell under the surface of surburban USA and as a result he was Oscar nominated and Hopper - as the psycho-romantic-obsessive rape monster Frank Booth - got his first rave reviews in years. It's said to be his perfect movie.

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By Katharine MacColl

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