Driven suspense


Doc Films patrons sat in wonder Saturday night before writer-director David Lynch's surrealist masterpiece, Mulholland Drive. About 40 people attended the 9:45 p.m. showing, the second of the night. They filled the room with gasps, shrieks, chuckles, and finally applause at the movie's mixture of film-noir, psychological-thriller, and art-house genres.

Mulholland Drive loosely follows aspiring actress Betty Elms's (Naomi Watts) attempt to help Rita (Laura Harring), whom Betty finds hiding in her aunt's apartment, recover from amnesia. As the mystery of Rita's past thickens, illusions abound, names change, and causality halts. The film opened in 2001 to critical acclaim, including a best-director award for Lynch at the Cannes Film Festival, but ticket sales fell flat. Since then, however, Mulholland Drive has developed a cult following. Devotees, some of whom were no doubt present at Doc, watch the film over and over again, searching for clues in the apparently nonsensical and bizarre plot developments and images, wondering, "What do the ashtray and red lampshade mean?"

Ethan Frenchman, '08

Photos: The Castigliane brothers (Dan Hedaya and Angelo Badalamenti) tell director Adam Kesher (Justin Theroux) "the way it is" over a cup of espresso; Betty feels out Rita's memories at Winkie's diner.

Movie stills courtesy Universal Pictures

August 17, 2007