EYES WIDE SHUT (1999) Part 2 —Thus Spoke Stanley Kubrick


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On this week’s annotated deep dive, The Cultists present Stanley Kubrick’s final film 'Eyes Wide Shut' (1999). An incredibly faithful adaptation of Arthur Schniztler’s 1926 Austrian novella, Traumnovelle (“Dream Story”), (albeit set in a contemporary 1990s New York), Eyes Wide Shut remains a timeless dreamlike odyssey of paranoia, jealousy, (in)fidelity, occult desire, and institutional critique. Infamous for both its status as the final offering of one of the most exacting and perfectionist director’s in cinema, as well as being the longest consecutive shoot in the history of film making; EWS was further plagued by conspiracies surrounding Kubrick’s death five days after the film’s completion and the alleged unveiled messages hidden in its frames. Even without all it’s outside baggage, the film makes a lot of demands. Stuffed with references and allusions from Ovid to Zarathustra, Eyes is a film that is incredibly complex considering the base premise is Tom Cruise goes on a two-part dark night(s) of the soul breakdown through the lusty cult-infested New York streets just because his wife once wanted to fuck a sailor. In other words, this one is going to be a long one, but Kubrick makes it worth it.

Deep Dives Include: production history; comparisons with the film’s “Dream Story” (1926) novella source material ; the Gustav Klimt color pallet; the meaning behind those neon Eros/Thanatos street signs; secret societies and other occult inspirations (from the Freemasons, to the Illuminati, Hellfire clubs, and Alister Crowley); Ovid’s Art of Love; what it means to “reach the end of the rainbow”; and how the film’s seemingly abrupt and hollow end comes straight from Friedrich Nietzsche’s “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”.... (Bonus: We also watched the two other film adaptation’s of Schnitzler’s Dream Story that came before, and one in particular gets Crazy).

Episode Safeword(s): “the morning after”

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