Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Eyes Wide Shut Redux

There's a scene in Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut which succinctly and economically epitomizes the very essence of a certain kind of domestic life and one might say happiness. Nicole Kidman is on toilet as Cruise enters their bathroom. To the viewer of the movie, the sight of a glamorous star in such a pose is startling. Actually, it’s one of the most essential points of the movie, one of whose themes might be the old saw of familiarity breeds contempt. For if you look at Eyes Wide Shut as a kind of diptych between the world of everyday domesticity and the kind of sexualization that quotidian relationships tend to squelch, then it becomes evident that this seemingly innocuous interlude, that could easily have been a throwaway, actually contains the germ of Kubrick's idea (actually based on Arthur Schnitzler's 1926 novella Dream Story)—which is to present the turbulent world of unconscious fantasy though the lens of every day reality. "New Yorkers Still Go to the Bathroom and For Some It's a Must," was the headline of an 80's Village Voice humor piece parodying the rituals of cocaine use. Eyes Wide Shut is worth seeing, if only to underscore the fact that ephemerally beautiful creatures like Nicole Kidman must go to the bathroom like everyone else. 

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