OBS! Spoilere for Eyes Wide Shut!
Stanley Kubricks Eyes Wide Shut er omsider tilbake i DVD-hyllen (hei Bård!), og jeg kom i tanker om en post jeg skrev for et par-tre år siden til en mailingliste jeg frekventerer. (Posten var svar til et annet listemedlem, som blant annet hadde kommentert hvor brutale han syntes en del andre Kubrick-filmer var.) Jeg har fremdeles ikke sett filmen om igjen, men det har jeg tenkt å gjøre på et eller annet tidspunkt, og kanskje tenker jeg mer, høyere, lavere eller annerledes om den da. I mellomtiden: her er mine nesten tre år gamle tanker om filmen:
I liked “Eyes Wide Shut” a lot. My husband is really into Kubrick’s movies, and I have seen most of them (and plan on seeing the rest). I have no problem understanding that the violence in “A Clockwork Orange” can put people off – it is a very brutal movie, emotionally and intellectually. Not pleasant to watch, and according to my DH, it gets worse/more harrowing with every viewing. There is a reason for the brutality though; it’s not mindless or only there to disturb, there are some very important issues there. “Full Metal Jacket” is also a very unpleasant and very brilliant movie IMO. It shows you how war and/or a fascist regime (like an army at war) can break down everything that is good or decent or even individual in a person. “The Shining” didn’t seem that brutal to me, although it is kind of disturbing – perhaps because this is more of an “entertaining” movie than “Full Metal Jacket” and “A Clockwork Orange”.
“Eyes Wide Shut” is IMO the most “positive” movie Kubrick has made. At least it ends on a potentially positive note, with the feeling that it is possible to solve the problems and work through the issues presented in the movie. It is also the only movie he has made (that I have seen) that does not exclusively deal with men and male issues – it has several strong female characters, and the main character’s wife is presented very well – but I still think the main theme of the movie is male sexuality, in a very broad sense, including jealousy, relationships/marriage, fantasies, trust/honesty/faithfulness, promiscuity, even violence. My husband said initially, when we got out of the cinema, that the main theme was “extremely weird stuff in people’s heads under a thin veneer of civilisation” and I answered, “yes, that’s what I said, it is about sex”. :-) It was also interesting to notice the similarities with “American Beauty”, which we watched in the same week, and which also is a movie dealing (among other things) with male adult sexuality in connection to relationships and families.
“Eyes Wide Shut” presents a modern man, a kind husband and good father, who is proud of his enlightened modernity, proud that he has “transcended” the old-fashioned male chauvinist traits, and prides himself of being faithful to his wife, of managing to control the desire he still feels for other women. When he discovers some of the hidden, darker layers of his wife’s sexuality (including the strong desire she has felt for other men) he is shocked into exploring some of his own hidden dreams and desires, and discovers that he is not quite as “civilized” or simple or monogamously inclined as he had believed. Most of the movie describes his one night’s journey into the “underworld”, the dark and sinful backside of the clean, modern world he thought he knew. In the end he returns to his wife and “confesses” what he has seen and what he has discovered about himself. She seems to see this as a chance to better and strengthen their relationship with a new kind of honesty and a better understanding of what is really going on between them.
I think the movie is a very good presentation of the problems many modern men have with finding their place in society and in a relationship, and with building up a sort of new male persona or a new male pattern, that can integrate the darker, more “primitive” sexuality with the enlightened, civilized consciousness and the wish to be in a stable relationship, to be a good husband and father. At least these are some of my thoughts almost a year after seeing the movie. I might see it differently when I watch it again.