Idea's on Kubrick's EYES WIDE SHUT & Lynch's Mulholland Dr.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by ShawnCoghill, May 28, 2002.

  1. ShawnCoghill

    ShawnCoghill Stunt Coordinator

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    Just would like to know peoples ideas of Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut and Lynch's Mulholland Dr.,not on wether or not there good,,but ideas on meaning.Compare and Contrast there use of Dreams.
     
  2. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    I like both movies. Ive never been part of the crowd that thinks any of Eyes Wide Shut happens in a dream, but I do believe everything up to the opening of the box in Mulholland Drive is a dream.
    As far as Eyes Wide Shut goes, a movie I thought tried to tackle alot of the same ideas was Vanilla Sky (which I also liked).
    I think EWS plays pretty straightfoward. The only unanswered question I can think of is how the mask got on Bills pillow. Was it put there(by the guy following Bill maybe) or did Alice find it and put it there?
    I think EWS was Kubricks movie about commitment(and the consequences of your actions).
    MD is about obsession(What Diane believes to be love).
     
  3. Matt Stryker

    Matt Stryker Screenwriter

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    An excellent deconstruction of Mulholland can be found here:
    http://www.salon.com/ent/movies/feat...sis/index.html
    After reading most reviews and rewatching the film, I'm not convinced that any thing is real except perhaps the very end (masturbation to suicide)
    .
     
  4. ShawnCoghill

    ShawnCoghill Stunt Coordinator

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    I personally think that perhaps in EWS that some of Cruises' adventures were dreams, perhaps a jealous reaction to hearing Kidmans telling of her lusting toward the navy guy,perhaps a way of retribution,maybe living out some of the things shown,and dreaming the others,The blue hot windows perhaps play a role in distinguishing real from fantasy,I felt the film had 2 main colors as back drops,Blue and Yellow,and perhaps these colors open the door to which is real and dream. I have seen EWS several times,and its hard to say,and open to interpretation.I think MD plays in several levels,I believe the opening with her getting off the plane is quite unreal.I believe in reality she came with big dreams,and had her break stolen away,all crap breaks loose.I need to watch MD many more times to look at the changes,I noticed several,but I know there are many more.
     
  5. Luc D

    Luc D Second Unit

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    Eyes Wide Shut absolutely is a dream film! It's just a little more subtle about it. Everything after the confrontation with his wife can be seen as Dr. Bill's fantasy/dream. It most certainly is not straightforward. I wish I could go into it now but I don't really have time. I will have to come back to this thread a little later.
     
  6. Jeremiah

    Jeremiah Screenwriter

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    I never once thought EWS was ever a dream it is more about fear than dream.
     
  7. Bill J

    Bill J Producer

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    I never thought that Eyes Wide Shut was a dream either.
     
  8. ShawnCoghill

    ShawnCoghill Stunt Coordinator

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    I've heard several people say they didn't think EWS meant for any of ,Cruises' character, Bills adventures to be in dreams,or simply in thoughts,and many here are saying that.When EWS first came out I heard MANY people including critics state what I had already thought,that portions of Bills adventures were fantasy's,or dreams,I think there are many ways to look at EWS,and perhaps none wrong.But for those of you who Without doubt think Bills adventures were all 100% real,I would admonish you to take another look.Im not saying your wrong,but take a viewing looking at the film as if you thought it was dream oriented.You may see things differently.
     
  9. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    As soon as Dr. Bill leaves the apartment on that fateful night after his spat and disturbing conversation with Alice, the viewer is intentionally thrust into a dreamscape where the boundary between "reality" and fantasy is blurred.

    Know anything about New York? Stanley Kubrick sure did. And anyone can tell you that the New York streets traversed by Bill in that masterful film bear little resemblance to the real thing.

    Eyes Wide Shut is about denial and imagining the worst. It is about dreams.
     
  10. Luc D

    Luc D Second Unit

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    Well I have a bit more time so here are excerpts from a paper I wrote last semester where I adapted Todorov's literary theory on the Fantastic to The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut. It's a bit long, sorry...

    .................................................

    "Todorov identifies the fantastic as a place or world that appears familiar, yet certain events which take place within that world have no rational explanation. The fantastic is that moment of hesitation a person would feel in a situation where the laws by which we understand our world are broken. This person must then face the possibility of a supernatural (or perhaps simply unexplainable) event . In this situation, Todorov suggests that three conditions must be fulfilled. The viewer (if we apply it to the cinema),

    '… must be compelled to consider the world of the characters as a world of living persons and to continually hesitate between a natural and supernatural explanation of the events. Second, this hesitation that the viewer experiences may also be experienced by a character in the film, one who is most often the central character. Therefore the viewer’s reactions to events are often reflected in the central character.' "

    ...

    "If the fantastic truly represents a breach in the recognized order of things, then “it constitutes a shock between what is real and what is imaginary” . Based on this general idea we may already begin to see how Kubrick was interested in what Michel Ciment refers to as “a transgression of codified normality” . The most glaring examples of this use of the incomprehensible from The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut can be identified as Jack in the picture dated new years’ 1921 and the remarkable coincidence of Bill’s reality and Alice’s dream. Ciment goes on to accurately describe a viewer’s thought process when confronted with such incredible events where we are eventually led to the acceptance of the supernatural as the only form of explanation. This form of narrative confusion leads a “Todorovian” analysis to conclude that both The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut work in the form of the “Fantastic Marvelous”. In this sub-genre the narrative allows little choice on the viewer’s part but to accept the supernatural. These are the types of narrative closest to the pure fantastic for the very reason that story events remain unexplained, unrationalized and therefore suggest the existence of the supernatural ."

    ...

    "There is the ever-present matter of establishing that The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut truly are works of the fantastic. Not much of an argument needs to be made for a film like The Shining, which is at its base form a ghost story. However the case becomes slightly more complex with Eyes Wide Shut, which is deceitfully ambiguous as to where it belongs. Much of the confusion over this film has to do with the fact that viewers may have a hard time accepting the story as a waking dream. If the viewer misses out on this convention then the narrative will appear to be rather nonsensical at times. If viewed properly as a dream story then the need to rationalize the events becomes secondary to the dream’s logic. Yet this isn’t sufficient enough to warrant Eyes Wide Shut as a fantastic film and so what will perhaps help in this argument is relate both films in terms of the important fantastical elements they share."

    ...

    "Typically, the setting for a fantastic film is of a perfectly self-contained world. It may look like ours, but the key aspect is its isolation from what we would consider to be the rest of the “real world”."

    ...

    "In comparison, how is the world of Bill Harford in Eyes Wide Shut isolated? The story events take place in New York, a city of ten million inhabitants. Still, given this fact Kubrick still manages to turn the city into a self-contained world in much of the same way as he did in the Shining. The New York City of Eyes Wide Shut does not look real. Its streets are essentially deserted, the stores, even with all their meticulous details, are obvious forgeries and perhaps more striking is that many important locations in the film (such as the Sonata Café) are apparently within walking distance of each other."

    ...

    "Eyes Wide Shut manages to create a sense of claustrophobia while still having to deal with one of the world’s largest cities. Most noticeable is how Bill only frequents a handful of locations during his “odyssey” and in fact, revisits them upon his investigation. In each case, the physical space of those locations is made evident by the use of repetition. By familiarizing the viewer of those locations we begin to forget about the rest of the city. Moreover, the fact that Bill is being followed during his “investigation” and can’t seem to find any way of escaping his stalker within the city becomes a point of high tension and claustrophobia. This, on top of the repetitious nature of Ligeti’s Musica Recirata II, further contributes to how Bill is haunted by the previous night’s events."

    ...

    " Another neat trick employed in both films have to do with how the films were exposed. By looking carefully you will notice how many shots of windows are completely “blown out”, or overexposed."

    ...

    "...Eyes Wide Shut also makes use of this perhaps in a more explicit manner. Clearly noticeable in almost every single shot that has windows is the presence of an overexposed, eerie blue light. For viewers who do notice it, the effect makes for a unmistakably non-naturalistic feel, which contributes to the notion of “the waking dream”. Similarly, much of the space in the film is treated in the same way. The light exposure in the film does call attention to itself from the Ziegler’s party and onward. There is a recurring motif that includes Christmas lights in the film and from that very first scene there is a distinctive, unnatural glow to how those lights are burning. This is a clear stylistic choice that is put to use often to not only cue us in to the dreamlike state of the film, but also to render the background to the level of abstraction, and thus trapping Bill Harford in an unrecognizable space and contributing to the kind of isolation mentioned earlier. The most striking example of this comes when Bill visits Nick Nightingale at the Sonata Café. Once Nick divulges the incredible nature of his next job (the orgy), Bill’s attention is fully concentrated on what he’s hearing. Up to this point, the scene made use of a more traditional shot/counter-shot strategy, but as soon as Bill learns more we have a new frame composition that is slightly inconsistent with the rest of the scene thus far. In a chest up shot of Bill, the shift is a slight departure from the normal counter-shot, but what is in stark contrast is the change in the level of depth. Although the scene prior to this is not shot with deep focus, we still get a sense of the space behind both characters. However, once Kubrick changes the composition all of that depth is lost and all we can make out behind Bill are abstract balls of multicolored light consistent with the Christmas light motif seen thus far in the film. This abstraction of the space emphasizes Bill’s isolation. He is trapped by his curiosity, his desire, and his course of action from that point on will lead him onto a dangerous path."

    ...

    "The moving camera in Eyes Wide Shut needs to convey the feeling of this “waking dream” idea that has been referred to already. Kubrick manages to generate the impression of the fantastic, perhaps not in the explicit sense of the supernatural as in The Shining, but as an inexplicable, ambiguous story world where one strange coincidence follows another. The use of the Steadycam is supremely important in this sense during the infamous orgy sequence in the middle of the film. During Bill’s walk through the mansion, we have what would normally be point of view shots. Yet the unnatural fluidity of the motion, combined with the theatrical presentation of the sex acts removes much of the raw eroticism one would expect in such a situation. Thus the viewer feels removed from what is shown. Like those witnessing the orgy first hand, we are frozen, watching these incredibly beautiful women “perform” for us. The dreamlike feeling of the sequence is further amplified by the slow dissolves that connect one room to another. These types of transitions, which Kubrick has generally avoided in much of his work (except, curiously enough, for The Shining), functions as a way to slow down the editing and make the viewer even more reluctant to accept this world as being one in which you can be sure of anything . On a side note, it is important to mention that in both films the camera movement in question is only identified with both Danny and Bill . This consistency is important in shaping Danny and Bill’s involvement and relation to the fantastic world and allows the viewer a chance to identify their role within that space."

    ...

    "Several themes come up in Todorov’s theory that can directly correspond to some of the thematic elements of Kubrick’s films. One has to do with the self, and refers to the work of Gerard De Nerval who examines the inherent duality of the world in the works of the fantastic. The multiplication of personality of which he speaks has to do with the notion that we are many persons on the mental state, and that the evolution from the mental to the physical is but one possibility . The issue here is this idea of the double and the transition from mind to matter. These two concepts are clearly at play in both The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut."

    ...

    "Eyes Wide Shut cannot benefit from a wonderfully inventive performance such as the one delivered by Jack Nicholson in The Shining. The character of Bill Harford is meant to be a more subdued, “normal” family man. He is essentially a “pathetic remnant of what should be an energetic participant in the world” . So the mirroring, or doubling is considerably subtler, especially in terms of how the characters are conceived. The most obvious example comes forth in the scene immediately following the Ziegler’s party where Bill and Alice kiss and fondle one another in front of a mirror. Interestingly, Alice seems uninterested in her husband’s advances and seems more engrossed in her own reflection. One can question this look as a form of doubling in terms of who it is that’s actually doing the staring, Alice the loyal housewife or her reflection, which suggests the more malevolent, sexually aggressive woman? This, of course, can be interpreted as a kind of foreshadowing of the confrontation scene where the happy marriage and family life is turned upside down by Alice’s confession about her attraction to a navy officer. Bill sees a side to his wife he had never encountered before. This crucial moment sets him off onto his dream like quest for which he will remain trapped in for the remainder of the film. The doubling in Eyes Wide Shut, more often than not, comes in the form of repetition and strange, unexplained coincidences, which are all conditions of a dream state .

    "The first example we have of this coincidental/doubling and repetition comes with the Marion Nathanson scene where her surprising declaration of love for Bill eerily parallels his own wife’s avowal. As a kind of comic twist, Marion’s fiancé looks remarkably like Bill. Other examples range from being explicit to being incredibly subtle. The costume shop where Bill rents his outfit (which amazingly enough fits in with the rest of the costumes worn at the orgy) is called “Rainbow Fashions”. This is in direct reference to the two models at Ziegler’s party who wish to take Bill “beyond the rainbow”. Milich, the owner of “Rainbow Fashions”, offers Bill the opportunity to do just that by supplying him with the necessary tools to infiltrate the Somerton estate. On a subtler note is the use of language, where Bill constantly repeats what others are saying. However, the most striking use of doubling is the incredible parallel of Bill’s reality of the orgy and Alice’s dream whose events almost explicitly reflect what happened at the Somerton estate, down to the fear of humiliation by being nude in front of a crowd.

    Bill himself is a double character. He is constantly lying while using a friendly facade in order to get what he wants and flashes (quite ridiculously) his medical license as way to gain entry into places and information he would normally not have access to . He is moderated by what could be seen as two different personalities, one is the dependable family man, the other the jealous husband who is guided by his most primal sexual desires."

    ...

    "If the film is understood correctly as a waking dream then it becomes apparent that all of the “dream’s” elements are inserted into Bill’s subconscious mind. The opulent mansions, beautiful models, unique color scheme and references to things such as “rainbows” are all alluded to prior to his wife’s confession. Thus the creation of this dream world becomes a clear rendering of the “mind to matter”. Everything can be explained through the “dream logic” mentioned earlier which also serves to elucidate the strange way in which Bill becomes the center of attention for the entire duration of his quest. The film’s point of view subjectivity becomes that much more understandable once this is established in the viewer’s mind. Many of the film’s ambiguities can now be at least partly rationalized in a manner that The Shining’s use of confusing subjectivity never allows, such as the Room 237 sequence where point of view seems to be shared by Hallorann, Danny and Jack."

    ...........................................

    I think part of the reason so many people are turned off by this film is because they watch it with a literal eye. You can't blame them, so much of Eyes Wide Shut defies natural reasoning. So I'm saying that for the film to truly work you have to look at it as a "waking dream". It seems as though it is the only way in which the film's incomprehensible elements fall into a recognizable, logical pattern.
     
  11. ShawnCoghill

    ShawnCoghill Stunt Coordinator

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    That last paragraph is what I was saying,Truly,Thanks for the input.[​IMG]
     
  12. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Luc: May I ask what grade you received for your paper? JB
     
  13. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    " And anyone can tell you that the New York streets
    traversed by Bill in that masterful film bear little resemblance to the real thing."

    Thats because it was filmed on a set in London instead of NYC. When we see the second unit photography, the location stuff its definitely NY. I never looked at it "not really looking like NY" to be a indication it wasnt really happening there.
    I did notice the bluelight effect. But much of this film has a soft glow. The party for instance in the beginning as well was lighted in a interesting way.
     
  14. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Jon, I know the film was shot in the U.K. What I'm saying is that the mean streets of New York are not like the ones Bill walks as he encounters Domino, nor when he seeks out the costume shop. That sort of thing. During one screening, a buddy of mine born and reared in the Bronx kept saying over and over, "That's not the way New York is!" I responded, "That's the point!"
     
  15. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    Jack:

    I agree with you about "the point" of the New York streets. I've had this argument with a friend of mine ever since the film came out. He's convinced the movie is just being "lazy" with its recreation of New York on the set. My point is that Bill is out seeing New York as he "wishes" (dreams?) it were - clean streets free of excessive garbage and traffic, gorgeous prostitutes willing to do anything for him (has anybody ever seen what most real NYC streetwalkers look like?) and a "badge" (his "doctor's ID card") that gets him access and acceptance everywhere.
     
  16. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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  17. ShawnCoghill

    ShawnCoghill Stunt Coordinator

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    As I have said before,all of you who withoutadoubt think EWS does not incur dreams in Bills adventures,take another look ,like Holadem is going to,with an open mind, I am not stating you non-dream-believers are wrong,just take a closer look. There are many things in my opinion that endeavor to show Bills Adventures as a dream,for instance one thing you might look at and think about is Bills encounter with the women who's father just died,and Bill visits late at night,could this perhaps be a subconscious attempt for Bill to prove to himself that women can lust after him as well,without even having a relationship with him,in the same way Kidman lusted for the Navy man,who she did not know either? Is he trying to "level" the playing field,so as prove hes not inferior to this "other man"?
    MANY QUESTIONS
     
  18. Ryan Jameson

    Ryan Jameson Stunt Coordinator

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    Shawn: Do your own homework!
     
  19. ShawnCoghill

    ShawnCoghill Stunt Coordinator

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    ? what the hell u talkin bout?
     
  20. Bryant Trew

    Bryant Trew Second Unit

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    I REALLY liked EWS. I just thought that it was a beautiful exagerration of irony in a marriage. You had two people who had the "perfect" life. Young, attractive, stinking wealthy, etc., but their marriage really was on the rocks. There was so much missing in their marriage, and they were living the relationship superficially. Hence the title - Eyes Wide Shut. Eyes Wide Open would mean that the see everything. Eyes Wide Shut, to me means that they thought they saw everything, but saw nothing at all. Living a lie, etc...

    For MD, I thought that the beginning of the filmed showed where the hired killers were taking the brunette starlett to a party and basically screwed up the murder. The brunette is totally wrecked from the car accident, and her memory is really screwed up. What happens up to the blue box are her jumbled memories and thoughts on what had happened + bits and pieces of what the blonde perceived had happened. Seeing her dead girlfriend triggered much the reality jolt. From the blue box forward, you get to see what really happened. The lesbian affair gone bad, the jaded lover, the desire to kill her and then the suicide.

    Very cool movie indeed!
     

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