(Note: this piece originally appeared on my (TW) Tumblr as part of my Informalities series, on 02 October 2015).
I’ve written before about the illuminating practice of revistation–of re-watching, of re-reading, of re-playing–and discovering new layers to works as you gain in years and experience. Few other films have improved upon revisitation as much as David Lynch’s 2001 masterpiece, MULHOLLAND DRIVE.
When I first saw the film, I hated it. Couldn’t figure out a single thing going on, couldn’t make heads or tails of just what, precisely, the hell Lynch was going after. After that first viewing, the clamshelled film sat in a variety of moving boxes as I meandered from place to place, life to life, career iteration to career iteration, the grand illusion of my youth, that I had figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up, mercifully shattered and splayed across all forms of burnt bridges and decimated post-apocalyptic wastelands, like Cleveland.
A few months ago, I revisted MULHOLLAND DRIVE and could not find a scintilla of the issues that led me to despise the film upon my first viewing, finding instead a surreal, terrifying beauty of lost souls and broken dreams scattered across the fever dream-SUNSET BOULEVARD-vision of Los Angeles that Lynch so ably hurls upon the screen, an unforgettable tapestry of weird and wonderful characters that pull one another in directions only Lynch could craft.
Revistation is all about looking at works without the preconceptions and predjudices you held from the first viewing and looking upon it instead with new eyes, a beginner’s mind, as if you’re seeing it for the first time. If you can do that, you often find your disdain was unfounded, that you weren’t ready for the work when you first encountered it. When you’re ready, the work finds you again; so it was with MULHOLLAND DRIVE, now one of my favorite films.