This last weekend I woke up with a distinct urge to rewatch Lynch's Mulholland Drive, which is very odd in itself because while I constantly wake up with music in my head, I never have it with movies. And then when I was reading the paper 30 minutes letter there was an article about Naomi Watts with the obligatory "Then along came David Lynch's Mulholland Drive. And then Nat at the Film Experience does a completely random entry about the movie. I believe it was all a big cosmic sign telling me to watch it again for the millionth time. And by millionth I mean some number over 30. That's still a lot.
But, then, I was thinking about David Lynch and Inland Empire and then back to Mulholland Drive and then throughout his entire film repertoire and I was amazed at how well he directs women. I'd put him behind perhaps only Pedro Almodovar as a male director who seems to be able to direct them best.
This entry, however, isn't fawning over Naomi Watts or Laura Dern or any of his other leading ladies such as Isabella Rossellini or Sheryl Lee or whoever, it's about the ladies on the fringes of Mulholland Drive. There are a whole swag of them who aren't Watts or Laura Elena Harring. And because not enough people give them love, here they are. **contains some spoilers if you somehow haven't seen this yet**
Jeanne Bates as Irene - As the mysterious Canadian woman with the chesire grin. She quite clearly represents Betty/Diane's innocent past. A sort of destillation of her hometown (Deep River, Ontario) into one woman. "We'll be watching for you on the silver screen!"
Ann Miller as Coco Lenoix - The largest of the supporting characters, screen legend Miller is a hoot as the pitying abortion-metaphor using apartment manager (and, er, Adam Kescher's mother apparently).
Lee Grant as Louise Bonner - My favourite of these small miracles is Oscar-winner Lee Grant (where did Lynch find her at?) as the... mystic neighbour Louise Bonner. "Something bad is happening" indeed. She gives me the willies.
Lori Heuring as Lorraine Kescher - As a woman who turns her infidelity into a criticism about her husband - "what are you doing here?" she asks as he walks in on her having sex with Gene the Pool Man - is deranged, but a hoot.
Rena Riffel as Laney - This is Rena Riffel, folks. RENA freakin' RIFFEL! If you don't know who Rena Riffel is then you'll get no perverse enjoyment out of her being there. But, boy, Rena Riffel! I was so psyched when I found out that was her.
Rita Taggart and Michele Hicks as Linney James and Nicky - The high-priced casting agent and her blase assistant are two of my favourite characters in Mulholland Drive. I'm not sure why Taggart isn't a Patricia Clarkson or the like, it's very unfortunate because I like her in everything I've seen.
Lisa Lackey as Carol - Perhaps the most unaffected and modern performance by any woman in the film. Despite lipsyncing to Connie Stevenes, Carol speaks like a normal person and doesn't seem to be channeling anyone or any time period.
Melissa George as Camilla Rhodes/Unknown Mysterious Lesbian - I made up that slash name for her, but it's true! George doesn't say a word - she does lipsync to Linda Scott and whisper into Harring's ear - but she gives off this amazing mysterious vibe that you can totally understand why Diane would think she is a part of a big conspiracy.
Joanna Stein as Woman in #12 - As, I think, a disgruntled lover of Diane, "Woman in #12" is quietly intense.
Rebekah Del Rio as Herself - Del Rio performs a spanish-language version of "Crying" and it is one of the most powerful musical moments you'll ever see either in a musical or on stage or anywhere.
Cori Glazer as Blue-Haired Lady - As Club Silencio's resident balcony occupant, Glazer says one word to break her stoic viewing face. "Silencio". It ends the movie on a haunting and perplexing note, although if you think about it it's really just one big massive joke on David Lynch's part. "It's all an illusion" indeed.
Gosh, that movie is amazing.