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Foreshadowing, Ritual and Symbology in Film, #397 with Jay Dyer
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Jay Dyer discusses his book, Esoteric Hollywood: Sex, Cults and Symbols in Film. We take an in-depth look at Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut and Clockwork Orange; Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby, The Ninth Gate and Chinatown; The Manchurian Candidate and The Parallax View, as well as television programs The Lone Gunman and G.I. Joe, with special emphasis on predictive programming, mind control and the influence of the military and intelligence on Hollywood productions.

(Republished from Guns & Butter by permission of author or representative)
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  1. Anon[233] • Disclaimer says: • Website


  2. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says: • Website

    The significance of the Christmas theme in EYES WIDE SHUT? It may have something to do with the nature of Jesus’ birth. In some ways, the foundation of Western Civilization is a ‘cuckold’ story. Joseph finds his virgin wife pregnant with ‘another man’s’ child. He is deeply upset but has a dream in which he is assured that Mary shall give birth to a special child(a starchild), maybe child of God or something. Joseph’s Dream(in which he is visited by an angel) is key, and Eyes Wide Shut is based on Dream Novel, a modern neo-paganist take on the theme. But then, Christianity was a fusion of Judaic monotheism and Greco-Roman paganism. In pagan myths, the gods often visit mortal women who give birth to semi-divine beings like Heracles and Achilles.

    Anyway, Tom Cruise’s character has a ‘Joseph’ moment. Now, his wife isn’t pregnant with another man’s child but the account of her obsession was as if she was visited by a god for whom she was willing to sacrifice everything. It wasn’t just carnal but mythic and ‘spiritual’.
    I don’t think Bill(Cruise) would have been so upset if she merely said she has sexual fantasies about other men. What really upsets him is that her passion for this other man was beyond human. She didn’t just lust for him. She worshiped him as a god. And it is that mytho-spiritual aspect of her confession that really unnerves him. He understands human biology. Men and women lust for other men and women, even married couples. But his limited imagination never understood the mythic dimensions of love, which is like the mysterious monolith and stargate that so totally freaks out David Bowman. It’s a power beyond power, beyond the infinite. His wife didn’t just say “I had the hots for some other guy”, which he would have understood. She said that she worshiped another guy; she felt feelings for him that she could never feel for Bill, a mere pitiable mortal, a child in comparison.

    And in the movie, it’s as if Bill is looking for something equivalent in emotional experience. He isn’t looking for mere sex or to get even with his wife. He is subconsciously searching for sexuality as spirituality, a fusion of body and divinity.
    And he thinks he found it when the woman at the orgy offers herself as sacrifice to save him. Just as his wife said that she was willing to give up everything for one night with the naval officer, it’s as if the woman at the orgy was willing to sacrifice her life to save him. She loved him that much. Thus, maybe her feelings for him had the element of myth. (Christianity is also about sacrifice, i.e Jesus sacrificed Himself for humanity.)

    Anyway, the strangeness of Christianity is it’s a religion of purity of faith founded on infidelity. Mary had a child with someONE other than her husband Joseph. (Joseph is able to tolerate it only because an angel assured him that God done it. Otherwise, it would have been grounds for Mary getting stoned in public.) And Jesus and Disciples were Jews who betrayed the Jewish community.

    But then, any new thing that commands loyalty must betray and break from the Old. It’s like Nicole Kidman’s confession was both about purity/faith and betrayal/infidelity. It was unfaithful in that she’d felt such strong feelings for another man. But her devotional love for handsome naval officer was so total and absolute that it was a kind of faith(to a god).

  3. Anon[382] • Disclaimer says:

    The ‘fuc*’ ending of EYES WIDE SHUT is perfect coda not only for Kubrick but Cruise(as youngish actor) whose first big break was RISKY BUSINESS, the catchphrase of which was ‘what the fuc*’. Granted, the problem of Joel is RS is he takes the motto to heart and really acts it out. He figures ‘what the fuc*’ and rolls the dice. In EWS, upon hearing his wife’s confession, Bill cannot let it go with ‘what the fuc*’. He keeps searching and searching, like he’s looking for the holy grail or something. But in the end, no amount of searching, aching, agonizing, or intellectualizing will solve the problem. In the, it is what it is and life goes on. So, ‘fuc*’ is just a vulgar way of saying ‘just live’. It may be banal, but there is no escape from the banality of life.
    And in a way, it may have been a self-deprecating sentiment on the part of Kubrick who was a lifelong seeker of significance and meaning. And of course, his fans pored through his movies, studying frame by frame, for profundity… just like Bill Harford seeks and seeks the truth. But there isn’t any in the end. There is just the nakedness of life.

    Also, the ‘fuck’ ending of EWS is just another variation of Kubrick’s final word on the world throughout his career. THE KILLING ends with money blowing in the wind. It’s a ‘fuc*’ moment. All that plan, and this. In PATHS OF GLORY, the power rules, and there was nothing Kirk Douglas’ character could do. The soldiers got fuc*ed. Quilty in LOLITA just got shitfaced and turned to murder. The sophisticated European became a killer ape. His fault was he made too much of Lolita. She was really just a tart, and he drove himself mad with his dream of her. DR. STRANGELOVE ends up the world get fuc*ed big time. Let Power pursue its own logic, and humans are apes again. CLOCKWORK ends with Alex as beast once again with nothing on his mind but image of rape and fucking. BARRY LYNDON follows a man of ambition but in the end, he is fuc*ed and doesn’t care anymore. The writer in THE SHINING comes to a deadend in the maze. And FULL METAL JACKET ends in a ‘world of shit’. That’s what the world is. Shit. The soldiers, though of an advanced civilization, are apes with guns. Then, it seems only logical that the truth at the end of EWS is most banal. And yet, it is the journey that is important. Even if Bill and Alice’s realization of truth is same as ‘boing’ of Beavis and Butthead, they went through some interesting emotional heavens and hells to end up back on earth.

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