miércoles, mayo 17, 2006

el extrañamiento


Since I’ve seen Mulholland drive by David Lynch, I’ve keep asking myself what does other people think about this movie. I’ve seen it twice –maybe three times- and I’ve renounced to find a meaning in it. I always find that I have nothing to say. I say that I don’t know. Mulholland drive is one of those movies that keep you the first time in suspense and the second time laughing. And my question is why did I have that experience? Why did I find it terrorific the first time and hilarious the second one? I will follow two kinds of approaches to answer this question. I do not have the time to explain the movie or to go into depth. I find that Mulholland drive has to do with deconstruction and reader’s response theory because of the nature of the movie.
First of all, the movie begins with a logic structure. This structure is centered in a car accident. All the characters seem to have a relation with that car accident and with the mafia from Hollywood. Until here we have what Derrida called the logic of the identity, where everything has an origin, a beginning and a center. The center is for Derrida the part where you can’t substitute the elements or the terms, there is no free-game in a structure; the center is inside and outside the structure. The center is in the center of the totality. The center of the movie is the car accident and the amnesia of ‘Rita’. The audience wants to find who wanted to kill ‘Rita’, the suspense is in there.
But at the middle of the movie, the structure changes and turns over… the characters change their name, their status while life keeps going on. The car accident isn’t the center of the movie. The center of the movie disappears. The structure changes. The audience experiences astonishment. When I saw it for the first time I asked myself: what has happened?
At this point Barthes would say that Lynch has broken up one of our myths: the necessity of an explanation and a structure. Life is structuralized by signs, all kinds of signs, and in Mulholland drive there are a lot of signs that remember us, for example, the totalitarian system, with those tiny and strange characters that repeat constantly: “This is the girl”. Or the witch that is a sort of fortuneteller. Or the guys in the café talking about a dream they had. Or the name Diane that appears in the badge of the waitress. And the guy that kills the writer in a very ‘innocent’ way. These signs seem strange. In the structure they seem like out of place, in a no-place, will say Derrida, out of the center, that will give Lynch the option to play with an infinte number of substitutions-signs in order to destroy the first structure and give the chance to another one. This way of building other kinds of meanings and also giving other kinds of structures to Mulholland drive, are essential of deconstructionist.
The way Lynch employs deconstructionism astonishes the audience. Suspense is felt the first time you see the movie. The second time it’s hilarious, because you know that nothing of that structure you want to analyse is real. There is no-center. Deconstruction gives the audience the option to mis-read the movie. There are thousands of interpretations of Mulholland drive at the internet. Everyone will give you an explanation of the movie, because we are engaged in the myth of the structure. We need to find a center to the story in order to understand it. But that is not necessary in Mulholland drive. You can watch it the way you want, give the explanation you like, even also not giving an explanation. The effect it has on the audience is of astonishment. There is no structure.
Mulholland drive gives the idea of an unstructured life. And also for interpretation. There are a lots of ways of interpreting the movie. The signs are everywhere in our life, giving us a lots of meanings. But where is meaning. That’s something that Mulholland drive doesn’t want to find out. Finding the meaning to things can be just another myth.

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