Comments for Analysis of Eyes Wide Shut – Part Three

Part Three is here.

Having moved the body of the post to html, am restoring for the comments on the section.

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Juli Kearns

Juli Kearns is the author of Thunderbird and the Ball of Twine and Unending Wonders of a Subatomic World (or) In Search of the Great Penguin. She is also an artist/photographer, and the person behind the web alter of "Idyllopus Press".

15 thoughts on “Comments for Analysis of Eyes Wide Shut – Part Three”

  1. Fantastic insight. Very interesting read. I must have seen this movie a couple dozen times and each time i watch it i notice something new. Same goes for 2001 A Space Odyssey. (Eyes Wide Shut and 3 Days Of The Condor are two movies i always watch during the Christmas season).
    Stanley Kubrick was undeniably an absolute genius. His films engage its viewers on so many levels. The film industry and the art world lost one of their pillars when he passed away. Every time i see one of his movies i always think about what we might have created beyond the classic films he had previously made. I miss Stanley for all his quirkiness and sideways way of looking at life and story telling. He was truly and interesting and brilliant artist.

  2. One always notices something new with each watching, one reason his films are so compelling, always move unveilings to be had. Just looking again at the photos above (how many times have I watched this movie) I was seeing things I’d not previously observed.

  3. I connected this scene with the Japanese men and under age girl with the end of Kubrick’s film Lolita. She was talking to her ex lover (stepdad) about who she ran off with. another adult man who she said had a beautiful japanese philosophy of life but he soon kicked her out when she refused to do an adult picture with the freaks who stayed at the ranch he brought her to. Her being a child with sexual relations to Peter Sellers and talking about him having a Japanese philosophy of life, it made me think of this scene in eyes wide shut.

  4. I was reading a study of the Denver Airport murals and they made mention of the “Asians” being depicted as ignoring the goings on around them in the murals. I only mention it because I watched this movie a week or so ago and was considering the “where the rainbow ends” whilst looking at the murals and noticing the prominent rainbow, which brought me here.

  5. Have you come to any firm conclusions as to what “where the rainbow ends” means? Seems obviously connected to sex somehow but there is certainly more to it.

  6. This could be in my own dirty mind, but I feel like Kubrick intentionally loaded the mise en scene when Domino and Bill meet with tons of sexual puns (which EWS is loaded with, see Jeffrey Scott Berstein’s EWS analysis).

    Here’s what I see, in order of appearance:

    -XXX Video
    -LIQUORS store (lick hers?)
    -HARDware store (plus the phallic looking hammers and other tools displayed in the window, plus phallic graffiti on the building
    -As the camera tracks Bill leftwards I read HOTEL as HOT, then HO, etc. -The camera even flinches at LOTTO STORE so that only “ORE” is seen (making me think, “Whore”).

    Lastly, can’t forget the extra in the yellow jacket who can be seen through the Lotto store window at screen right, who thrusts his hips exaggeratedly just before Bill and Domino enter her building.

  7. I’ve only read what would amount to a couple of pages of Berstein’s analysis so haven’t seen that part. This may be there, but the sex, to me, is going to be a gloss for other meanings. When I see the hammer in the hardware store I return to thinking of the “nails in the back of my neck” and what does a hammer do but pound nails. Bill walks by the hammer just before meeting Domino so what I see is the hammer as another instance of “nails in the back of my neck” (the Yalies) right before his meeting Domino across the street from the XXX place that will later be a Nail salon. My rationale is that it’s apparent that Domino is a prostitute, so why expend the energy making puns to do with it?

  8. I would have liked to see further elaboration on the ‘If I was Italian he would have answered me in Italian’ part. I feel this way all the time in Québec. I have felt this way in Norway . . .it many places where English is viewed as a common denominator and, hence, not belonging really to native speaking Anglophones because it is used and thus belongs to everyone in the world today. Any thoughts?

    1. Only that Bill is in a kind of alternative reality in which much is elusive and that this phrase comments on the situation and not only his difficulty but the audience’s difficulty if they take things only literally.

  9. Juli.

    Maybe. Before I pretty much objected to the alternative reality interpretation (even though I can see that this film is working on many levels – social interaction, conspiracy, elite) but with these interpretations here, with how it is shown that stuff is moved around all the time, even the masked ball participants aren’t the same (I always noticed her breasts looked different, but I didn’t realize that it was a different woman altogether, the woman that is brought to the masked Bill just before the Mysterious Woman shows up «oh, here you are!» right before his ‘trial’).

    1. When I say alternative reality, and that the film can’t be taken literally, that doesn’t mean it isn’t meant to be a representation of reality. It’s not that big a leap to take in approaching this film, or a film like “The Shining”, when you consider the function of symbolism/metaphor/allegory in fiction. Much of the fiction out there, which is intended to be seen as a real life story, is certainly not that and not at all representative of reality. It’s highly artificial and filled with the impossible, and yet the artists communicate it as being real life and people easily accept it as such through suspension of disbelief and also a kind of wish fulfillment. Kubrick has crafted this film, as with “The Shining”, so that the audience begins at the level where they can read/see it as only a real life story, but obviously the visuals then relate their own sub-story when one begins to pay attention to them, and Kubrick has left enough confounding and curious elements to catch one’s attention with visual elements not fitting in with a straight surface story. These can function as hooking the audience and drawing them in more deeply. Such as the fact that Bill is traversing the same streets over and over again, and Kubrick even makes this obvious to us finally with the reflection of the diner by the Sonata Cafe in the Rainbow window. That is a long scene and those reflections are observed repeatedly. They weren’t accidental, and are the first clue that most people have to look again at the settings, what is going on visually. Then, when you really watch, you find, indeed, that Bill is traversing these same streets over and over. He had been told at the beginning that he misses much, which also speaks to the audience in their missing much of what is going on by not really looking at the particulars and finding the surface story to be enough. But even if one only sticks with the surface one still, for instance, gets a meaningful story of relationships and Bill having believed he knew all there was to know about Alice when there were sides to her that were unknown to him.

  10. 1.The Yalie Hooligans come-off as gays trying to be butch.
    2. Xmas lights combo of green/red/orange/blue/pink are conspicuously repetitive from scene to scene.
    3. Everyone Bill encounters by chance are completely “there” for him – compliant, unhurried, accommodating. Almost like bad acting. I interpret this as an attribute of Bill’s living in a dream. Mulholland Drive draws liberally from this aspect of EWS.
    4. Alice is a champagne girl, very comfortable at Victor’s party. Bill drinks beer. He seems out of place in their own spectacular apartment. Being a GP, Bill probably couldn’t afford it, so who’s bankrolling the couple?
    5. I enjoy the MK ultra theory. Alice speaks like she’s heavily sedated most of the time. What gives?
    6. Marion and Carl? They are a complete knockoff of Kidman and Cruise. The script has a V.O. with Bill musing of having Marion as his mistress and how he’d have her use darker lipstick.

    I can’t wait to finish this series, idyllopus, Genious! Thank you so very much.

    1. 2.) Yes, Kubrick uses differences in the Xmas lighting to mark off “territories” in the film. Sometimes it’s the all white lights. Sometimes it’s the colorful combo you describe. He carries this all the way through into the end scene.
      3-5.) For me, with Kubrick setting Bill and Alice so they are each looking out on dissimilar skylines from the dressing room window, I go with a kind of anti-realism route in cinematic storytelling wherein I don’t look for certain types of explanations for particular behaviors or happenings. 6.) Marion and Carl are kind of dopplegangers of Alice and Bill.

      Thanks for the nice remark, Rob.

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