Wednesday, July 1, 2009

No Sex In The Champagne Room

Eyes Wide Shut(1999)
Directed By Stanley Kubrick

"Pioneer of aerodynamics(little Eiffel, little Eiffel) they thought he was real smart Alec (little Eiffel, little Eiffel) he thought big they called it a phallic (little Eiffel, little Eiffel) they didn't know he was panoramic."-Frank Black of The Pixies, "Alec Eiffel "
Tom Cruise has the most castrating day imaginable. It functions that way, because nothing happens to him.He freaks out, because Nicole Kidman, his wife, has a fantasy about another man.What shocks him most about this fantasy of hers, what we can see from his later behavior, is that he has no fantasies of his own, only a bland flirting, stray glances, and routine.So he concludes after a few moments when he makes his first attempt to complete a self-redeeming conquest.From then on he lives in a world, for the rest of the movie, that is sexually charged, and always misleading.He just has one awkward, shot down in flames, or wtf episode after another, culminating in a late night mansion costume ball/meeting for impotent free masons (a secret by invitation only orgy for the rich and famous who hide their faces in cloak and masks), and more banishment.In between, he nearly sleeps with a prostitute who has A.I.D.s, meets a late night tailor who pimps his daughter out to Japanese businessmen, is propositioned by a patient who says she's been secretly in love with him for years, and during a party with his wife, has to attend to the host's coked-up, unconscious guessed it, prostitute. The world beyond the walls of monogamy is a strange and terrifying place.Stanley Kubrick sex comedy, yep, its just that he's got an odd sense of humor, like Clockwork Orange odd.
And a ruthless, depressive, clinical eye for satire. Just imagine "Ladies Night" playing loudly, every time Cruise is on the street, and it all falls into place perfectly. Stanley Kubrick's hyper-sexualized imagery highlights Tom Cruise's sexual anxieties, appearing omnipresent in all his encounters, but never materializes into anything but bizarre and ephemeral Kafkaesque episodes of rejection, repulsion, attraction, and near-miss disastor.The sex in the film though is never tangible, it is only there to observed as virtual. I don't mean computers, by virtual, but immaterial , conceptual , anaesthetised, and none-threatening.
It's a gross distortion of the safe sex era, and a slyly nightmarish update to "After Hours", Martin Scorsese's " night on the town gone awry; the anti-Christ to "Ferris Bueller's Day Off".
If you need a greater image of sterility in action, compare the posh refined orgy performances here, to the sweating indiscriminate fucking of "Short Bus", to see the difference between unabashed hedonism, and an aging and desperate attempt at recreating a proxy of hedonism and youthful vitality.Alex Jones, in a documentary about contemporary political activist/conspiracy theorists, "New World Order", said he "doesn't believe the Washington Monument is a giant phallus that allows the free-masons who secretly run the government to absorb and transmit the powers of the universe to their genitals, and recharge their Global Power network......but he believes They believe it."
Why do so many powerful men cheat on their wives, note I didn't say have open relationships or mistresses, but "cheating", which then requires public confession?
I need not list the senators, governess, and celebrities by name.
It seems less a need to for honesty (which would only go so far as the spouse), but a need for public recognition. An unconscious drive to be nude, or unmasked; to be punished.
The transgressive injunction is not valid without witnesses, because the reason for it's display, contrary to the spontaneous physical compulsory aspect of his experiences, Cruise's pre-fabricated lusts are social and not personal. His need for status, belonging equally in the gazes of the men around him who pass judgement as do the hysterical witness list of indechiperable women, and from both he receives his sadomasochistic lashings of guilt. It's the illusion of lust where it doesn't exist, and it serves as a kind of social norm preserve, insulating reality with a mummified layer of exaggeration, the way a penis may remain erect long after the corpse is dead. It's essentially a high art Viagra commercial, I guess is what I'm trying to say. "Eye's Wide Shut" is also why Kubrick is one of the great American satirists. This is one of Kubrick's best films and unfortunately for us all his last.
I think my friend Jeffery Meyer said it best in his single sentence review of the film "Greatest film ever made about fear of baldness, and also the greatest Christmas film since Die Hard. " Nicole Kidman's character is relegated in the film, to match that of her husbands perspective of her a series, imaginings and suspicions, while her real state of feelings and motivations remain always inaccessible.The same theme explored in more non-linear form but crystallized at the end of David Lynch's "Lost Highway's" in the penultimate line of dialog, from Patricia Arquette, "You will never have me?" "Eyes Wide Shut" is complex, beautiful, and sterile as a Dr's. office.

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