Books and Movies Reviews

Eyes Wide Shut and Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey

In the late 1970s, filmmaker Stanley Kubrick discovered a short story by psychologist and philosopher Arthur Schnitzler called Traumnovelle, or “Dream Story”. Penetrating into the precise mechanisms that govern human desire, emotion, and fantasy, the story caught Kubrick’s imagination, and became his pet project that he would devote the rest of his life to, along with the unfinished epics “A.I.” and “Napolean Bonaparte”.Unfortunately, AI is being produced as I type by Steven Spielberg.This may sound all great to the average moviegoer, but Kubrick’s true vision was to analyze whether or not a computer that thinks and knows it is real has the right of citizenship or civil rights.Does “I think therefore I am” apply to artificial brains as they do real one’s?Kubrick’s version would of been beautiful.But Steven the Great is making it, so it will be an over-sentimentalized feel-good Hollywood epic instead of true art.Man, I wish Darren Aronofsky or even the Coen brother!
s could have directed AI, oh well, that’s another essay.
Back to EWS, It was once imagined as a comedy starringSteve Martin (Kubrick also made, in my opinion, the funniest political satire ever made, Dr. Strangelove.), the story eventually was made into a screenplay for a modern couple in New York, and shortly thereafter Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman devoted themselves to the project as actors. The years that followed would be the creation of Kubrick’s final masterpiece, finished only hours before his death in March of 1999. It was called Eyes Wide Shut, a tale of a modern man on a nightmare journey of self-discovery, of a modern couple finding a new level of emotional enlightenment, and of the fine line between dreams and reality.
In “Traumnovelle”, a young man named Fridolin walks the streets of a snow-covered Vienna in the late 1800s. In EWS, the setting is modern day New York, and the couple we are introduced to are named Bill and Alice. Dr. Bill H…