chapter  5
22 Pages


DE S P I T E I T S R E P U T A T I O N as one of the most enigmaticof all David Lynch films, there has been a striking array of critical responses to Mulholland Drive (2001). For many critics, it is a film exploring the complexities of desire and the dissolution of identity, so one best approached from a psychoanalytic or post-structuralist perspective (Cook 2011; McGowan 2007: 194-219; Schaffner 2009). Some have argued that we should undertake the painstaking work of decoding the film’s complex and confusing narrative structure (Hayles and Gessler 2004). Others have dismissed this hermeneutic approach, claiming that Lynch’s film is a surrealist experiment that defies interpretation, disorienting the viewer by dismantling narrative form in favor of cinematic style (see Chion 1995; Hudson 2004).1 Martha Nochimson combines elements of both approaches in reading the film not as a divided dream/reality

narrative concerning the traumatic relationship between two actresses but as a metafilmic exploration – permeated by Jungian archetypes and cosmic energy metaphysics – of Hollywood’s destruction of cinematic creativity, the terrible fate of “the girl” (the female star) expressing “the fate of the industry itself” (Nochimson 2004: 166).