tay🎃’s review published on Letterboxd:
"Hey, pretty girl, time to wake up."
Diane had once found the Hollywood sign beautiful. Naive; nothing but a wide eyed child. All she had wanted was an escape into a fairytale, so desperately, that she had never thought of the consequences. It has taken her too long to realise something bad was happening. No successful auditions, no jobs coming in, quickly running out of money...
It always felt like Camilla knew how to make people fall in love with her. She had stolen a role from Diane; Diane had started off hating her, but in the end they still quickly became friends. Soon after even more than that. Bonding over their stupid struggles of Hollywood; reading and laughing over scripts for auditions, would often end with them in bed. Being with Camilla felt safer than anything, the one escape from her one surrounding reality.
Camilla had started to teach Diane how to get film roles, but not with her acting. Auditions more often turned out as times to be touched, instead of showing off talent. Being touched, ended up being a desperate effort to make last minute cash outside of the audition rooms. This was supposed to be the escape from that lifestyle she had before, and now there was no longer her Aunts house to run off too.
She kept convincing herself she still had Camilla, even as she began to discover she didn't always have the best interests.
Adam Kesher was a hack; a director blindly following orders from a studio and calling it art. Nevertheless when Diane had found out Camilla had gotten her a supporting role in his new film she was leading, she was overjoyed, it would be her first time in a true Hollywood production. Diane knew what Camilla did with movie directors, that special skill she had taught her. She knew she had been having her way with Adam, doing what she had to do to remain on top of the movie production; Diane could usually fight back the jealousy, none of these flings were the same, there wasn't anything that could hold up to their connection. The script was junk food, but for once Camilla would not join in on the laughter.
As weeks passed, things started to crumble. Directing tips while running lines had turned into open flirtation. They were both starting to mock her. Camilla kept claiming that Diane was delusional, but why did she always make sure Diane remained on set; why did she have to watch as Adam showed Camilla how to kiss, why did Camilla keep flashing her that smile. The anger she had started to feel inside was indescribable, but she would always back down when Camilla began to say "Maybe we should stop." The thought of an empty bed felt too unbearable.
When the movie had finished production, it felt like for awhile things were going back to normal. Camilla wouldn't even say the directors name in front of her anymore, it felt like just the two of them again, the passion had returned. She drove her wild.
"We shouldn't do this anymore."
"Don't say that. Don't ever say that." She thought she could convince her to stay - make her stay. "Diane stop it." Camilla had grabbed her wrist. "I tried to tell you before... "All the malicious smiles from set were rushing back. "It's him isn't it?"
She didn't allow her to answer, she couldn't handle hearing it. The memories were enough. In the middle of shouting, suitcases and bags were thrown out the door, followed by Camilla herself. "Don't be mad!" In her red dress she tried to keep the door open, her eyes full of fake sympathy. "Don't make it like this." "You want me to make this easy for you? No. No-fucking-way it's not gonna be! It's not easy for me!"
The moment the door closed, Diane swore she was done with Hollywood; the acting, the people - everything. But the thought of returning to her old home, with her Aunt now passed, frightened her even more. There was no way she could just drop everything and leave. Instead she found herself falling into the hands of people you wouldn't expect from the surface of LA; the violent underground full of lost people who had been screwed over just like her, they felt more trustworthy than anyone she's met so far. Being touched was now a full time job, and although it was now consensual, it still never felt right. It has only felt right with one person.
For so long the passing of time had been meaningless; when she received the call from Camilla, she had no idea how long it'd been since she last heard her voice, but in that moment she still melted into Camillas words like an addict, ready to drop everything for her. Camilla wanted to invite Diane to a private party, she wanted to see her again.
"Diane, the cars waiting."
She had been picked up that night in a limo, that now looked out of place in front of her apartment. When she was being driven to her destination, it felt like the first moment in ages that the passing of time was noticeable. She thought the drive would never end, like she would simply be dropped off back at her apartment like nothing happened.
Instead the limo parked in the middle of nowhere. "What are you doing? We don't stop here." When the driver started to turn, she was prepared to see a gun - Camillas final way of getting rid of her. The driver simply said, "A surprise," and that's when she saw Camilla outside her window. The car door opened. Camilla looked beautiful, she held out her hand. "C'mon sweetheart."
The forest path was beautiful in the moonlight. Hand in hand; it felt like everything that has happened since she slammed the door shut, had been a nightmare - maybe she had now woken up and this was her reality. Was this party just for them, to celebrate their love, to reveal themselves to the crowd unafraid. Could this be a new start? She would give her life back to her in a heartbeat if Camilla asked; back to Hollywood.
"Perfect timing!" Everything shattered. Adam gave Diane a quick welcome, but once he handed Camilla her wine glass, their attention was entirely on each other. The only attention Diane had, was from Adams mother venting her frustration at her lateness. Wine glasses clinked together. "Here's to love." It felt like a sick practical joke. "Here's to love. "
The joke continued on all the way to the dinner table; she felt so out of her body that she had no idea how she made it there, who all these guests were. She was alone, and all she could see was the two of them. They couldn't take their hands off each other, he wouldn't stop kissing her - Camilla wouldn't stop looking at her. It was disgusting. Vile. They were flaunting themselves at her, making the entire night about them to prove their point. Even questions asking about her own embarrassing career, turned into more complaints for Camilla. As if Camilla hadn't gained enough, hadn't torn out enough of Dianes dignity. Camilla kissed a passing woman, leaving her favourite lipstick behind - she wasn't finished with her yet.
The rest of the room was coming to life around Diane all at once. Voices, talking, whispers - about her? Everybody was starring, she could feel their eyes on her. Nobody wanted her here. The place was full of past filmmakers she'd interacted with; she didn't want to remember, she had wanted to leave all those memories behind. Adam clinked the bell of his glass; everybody was certainly looking now. "I guess we saved the best for last." There it was. "Do you want to tell them?" Wouldn't accept it - couldn't accept it. "No, you tell me." Laughing at her, they were laughing at her. "Camilla and I..." This was all set up as her personal hell, they were preparing their final blow to her sanity. Why was everyone in the room looking at her, she wanted to stop feeling their eyes on her, she wanted to vanish, be shot dead; anything would be more merciful than this. Why did she enter the jitterbug contest. Why had she fallen in love. Her body was ready to runaway. This will be the end of everything. "...are going to be---" CrAsH.
Joe was the closest thing there was to a friend anymore. Winkies felt like more of a home than her own. This was never where she expected to end up when she first walked under the palm trees; constantly checking her back at any sound. A paranoid wreck. A vengeful wreck. "This is the girl." Joes eyes went straight for the money. "Are you sure you want this?" Camilla didn't deserve to live. Since that night, never once been conflicted."More than anything in this world." A blue key was shown to her, she was told where to find it when the job was done. She asked "What's it open?" All Joe could do was laugh.
Night's later she had heard the whispers of news. Camilla was too famous for any part of her life to be private. But the reality hadn't set, it didn't feel possible for there to be a world without Camilla, even if she was the one who pulled the trigger. She needed to find the blue key. There had never been any doubts until her final walk to the dumpster. She realized she was scared; full of god-awful feelings. She didn't want to see it, but it was there, waiting for her. It killed her. The final straw. She needed to know what it opened.
Day to day life felt like mindless phases between being awake and dreams. She often wondered how simple the waitresses lives must be, how naive they were to the world around them; it often made her envyness, fantasizing she could swap places for even one day. Anything to stop thinking about the blue key. Joe wouldn't answer her calls anymore, there were rumours he was easily caught, that the police were looking for her.
What would they think of they saw her now? They were the ones that has started this after all, sending her away to a hell called Hollywood. She wondered if they knew. When they declared her winner of the jitterbug contest, did they know the sick practical joke they were playing on her? Did they know the people she would meet, what they would do to her? The humiliation coming her way, what she would end up doing. Did they know all this time?
They kept knocking on her door, she couldn't face them yet, not until she figured out the blue key. Maybe if she figured out how to use it she could undo everything, give herself a second chance. She couldn't focus with the knocking. Why wouldn't they leave her alone. Just more time, she needed to know what it opened. She had to find Camilla again in her red dress, she needed to come back to her. Stop knocking. A line from her last script came to her repeatedly "I hate you, I hate us both." Knocking. They were laughing at her, why had they all laughed at her. They were laughing now. Something bad was happening, somebody was in trouble. They were closing in on her.
Knocking. Laughing. Key. Screaming. Searching. Trigger. Together. No hay bana. No hay orquestra. Silencio.