Cristina V. Alberto

Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Fellow in the Humanities

20042005 Forum on Sleep and Dreams

Cristina V. Alberto

Visual Studies and Film Studies

College '06

Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut: Dreamscape, Dichotomies, and Pornography

I plan to investigate how the rating system in film influences the general perception of what constitutes pornography. Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut is the perfect vehicle for my investigation, because its highly charged sexual content has generated much controversy. This film works within an explicit sexual realm, and yet does not seem to fit the genre of pornography because Kubrick’s portrayal of nudity is devoid of eroticism. The way Kubrick handles nudity in the film departs from any sort of orgiastic viewing pleasure. Eyes Wide Shut, far from being a startling display of carnal pleasures, has a dreamlike quality that inhibits a pornographic reading of the text. Kubrick uses cinematic techniques to set the characters, and the viewers, in “dream mode” so that the film becomes a realm of fantasy rather than a base, mundane, pornographic adventure. The fantasy aspect operates on both a narrative and cinematic level. There are powerful dichotomies operating within this dream-like aspect, such as wishful dream versus nightmare and reality versus fantasy.