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Now Look!

As this weblog's name shows, I'm a Kubrick lover. He was a great director and artist. His movies are the best ones I've ever seen and the last of them, Eyes Wide Shut is his best work. This writing is about the first ten minutes of this movie. I wrote it in Persian for a friend and she translated it to English and allowed me to publish here.

Now Look!

The movie “Eyes Wide Shut” is mostly about the way we look at life rather than betrayal and cheating. The movie is about events that happen around us and the only reason why we haven’t really thought about them is because we didn’t think they would happen. The real theme of this movie is about paying attention to our surroundings. Throughout the movie, the main character adapts a different point of view of the society and people around him than he used to have.

The movie starts with the scene of Nicole Kidman, playing as Alice, dancing while she undresses until she is totally exposed. After this scene, the screen turns black immediately and then the title of the movie “Eyes Wide Shut” is displayed. This quick and clever display of striptease quickly attracts the audience’s attention and makes sure that they give the movie all of their attention. Within the beginning moments of the movie, the director lets the audience get a feeling of what the movie will be telling. In addition, this unique start plays the role of an alarm that conveys the audience and the main character to be more aware, which is something they will understand better as the movie goes on.

After the title, the movie is followed by the scene of Tom Cruise, playing as Doctor Bill Harford, getting ready for a party. In the first dialogue of the movie, he asks Alice where his wallet is. This simple dialogue between the doctor and his wife demonstrates their most distinguished characteristics. The audience can immediately notice the absent mindedness and the distraction of Doctor Harford, and on the other hand the awareness of his wife Alice. This awareness is once again revealed in the following ten minutes when Bill is talking to two younger and drunk women while Alice is watching him the whole time without him knowing. At the same time, Alice herself is dancing with a total stranger and puts herself in his arms right in front of her husband. In a way this is really Alice betraying Bill. Alice permits herself to do what she desires with other men behind her husband because she watches her husband’s moves carefully. While we never find out the truth, what might have been Alice’s relationship with other man while he was married to Bill changes Bill’s life.

The basic dialogue of the missing wallet in the beginning of the movie also tells us something else about Bill’s character, and that is his dependence on women and the effect they have on his life. Throughout the movie, this dependence is shown by different women who have effected and altered Bill’s life.

The next important dialogue and scene in the movie is in the bathroom, where Alice asks Bill if her hair looks okay. Without taking a look, Bill says that it looks great and in response Alice says that you didn’t even take a look. This dialogue is one of the keys to understanding focus of the movie which is about how much attention Bill really pays to his surroundings. Bill exits the bathroom, and Alice looks at herself in the mirror. The scene ends when she takes off her glasses and after a final look she says “I’m ready.” If we consider the glasses a way to look at life, taking them off is a way to show that change in the way you look at things.

Another scene is when Alice and Bill look for their daughter and her nurse so they can say goodbye to them. In this scene, Bill asks Alice what the name of the nurse was. Alice tells him the nurse’s name in disappointment, as if she thinks that he is obliged to know what her name is. This is another hint for understanding Bill’s lack of knowledge in his own personal life and how distracted he really is. The dialogue between the parents and the child during their goodbyes show an ideal relationship between them, a relationship unlike the one shared by the parents themselves. Discipline and peace is demonstrated in the movie as the daughter politely asks her mom if she can watch television past nine. However, just the thought of Alice betraying Bill is enough to ruin this peace and calm for bill.

In the scene where Bill enters the party and the following conversations between him, his wife, and the host of the party, you can once again see how unaware Bill is of what’s around him. The hosts tells Alice that she looks beautiful, which is something that the nurse had said to her earlier in the movie. If we consider the scene in the bathroom, we can infer again that Bill does not pay much attention to what’s around him, like his wife and how she looks.

Another key element of this movie is the loneliness of Bill, and the events that follow in the movie are a personal path that he has to follow alone. This loneliness is displayed in one of the scenes when Alice and Bill dance. After the dance, Bill wants to go talk to the pianist, but Alice says that she has to go to the bathroom. Later on we find out that Alice didn’t really go to the bathroom, which shows Bill’s loneliness. On the other hand, Alice’s dance with the stranger and when the pianist quickly leaves Bill adds to the element of loneliness.

This movie puts Bill in a path for him to learn to look at the world differently, no matter how much hopelessness this path brings him. Bill learns to see, and the ten minutes in the beginning of the movie are the introduction to this education.

+ August 12, 2006 1:07 AM

such a great translation! wow

I really liked the way you had analyzed the beginning 10 minutes. It is indeed a brilliant film, and full of details to think about. and Leva is right, the translation is perfect.