The Colors of Mulholland Dr.

For the first time, I watched Mulholland Dr. with someone else. It’s quite a different experience as I was able to hear some other insight besides my own and we both were drawn to the color scheme and how a certain few colors were shown more prominently than others. Specifically (in order of occurence): red, green, black, white, blue, and purple.

Variations of red and green appear in what I estimate to be in 85-90% of the scenes presented. This isn’t like Eyes Wide Shut where the colors used, specifically the red and blue in said movie, have little to no variation in hue or saturation. Here, the reds and greens range in hue and saturation from the trademark red curtains and the pillars at Winkies or the red and green pool chairs at Adam’s house to something duller like the walls and furniture of Betty’s apartment in the beginning.

One of the most interesting uses of black and white is in the bathroom of Betty’s apartment in the beginning. When she finds Rita/Camilla in the shower, pay attention to some of the wall furnishings. It looks like a black fencepost with a white sky. The jagged edges is a subtle nod to the Red Room from Twin Peaks. Then you have Adam wearing all black finding Gene in bed with his wife; Gene is wearing white.

The use of blue is more or less subtle in some cases. Betty wears blue underneath her dress. The more obvious uses of blue are the key and box as well as the blue-haired lady at Club Silencio and the blue lighting in said club.

And then there’s purple. As I had mentioned in my Fur review, whenever purple is shown on screen, most of the time someone will die. When Betty and Rita search for Diane at the apartment complex, Betty becomes entangled with some kind of purple finger-like flower. When Betty auditions, someone has light purple on their clothing as well as a purple book on the desk. Hints as to what’s to come?

Other than purple, I am still working on the color symbolism on both this and Eyes Wide Shut. If anyone who has seen the movie has their own theory on the colors, let me know in the comments below.

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