Friday, November 21, 2008

New Podcast: Gendering Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut"


I am now doing a series of podcasts on applications of literary theory to image-based media, modern cinematography, and selected TV programming. In this first podcast I am using contemporary gender theory notions as well as Georges Bataille's work Erotism: Death and Sensuality to provide an example of a close reading of Stanley Kubrick's last oeuvre Eyes Wide Shut. The music featured on this podcast comes from the Salt Lake City-based band Calico.
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35 comments:

JJ said...

This is great. I'm ashamed to admit, but I've always wondered what it actually meant to 'read closely.' Bringing literature and jargon to not only those in the Humanties but also professionals in other fields is much appreciated.

Dana said...

'One is what one has to offer....' I've always thought so even though, very often, I'm reassured that it is not the case. Somehow I still hold to the former.

Nicki said...

I have been thinking much about class differences and how education helps propel one forward. There are settings, however, in which no amount of education makes up for the so-called pedigree, a-la-Victor Ziegler.

Nicki said...

And, by the way, I felt like I was watching the film when listening to this. So, that must be what close reading is..... Right?

Erin said...

I will be reading more about Bataille.

erin said...

Also like the BR logo.

will said...

The Ziegler/Bill 'close' reading is CLOSE! I think I get it now.....
Where did you find the Kubrick notes?

liam said...

whoo! that was intense. having not seen the film, i found it hard to envision the narrative, but i'm inspired to view it.

also, thanks for using the calico bits and giving us props. :)

B.R. said...

Right. It's definitely more laced and loaded with starkly literary references.
The previous pieces I created for Public Radio and intro audio were edited for academic content and only the very salient points were included.
The point was to show an example of 'close reading' while keeping to the premise of the project, i.e., a theory-informed decoding of the text.
This is a film that's definitely worth watching a few times. Many, many layers were exposed by Kubrick, the genius. 'Reading' this film while being mindful of Schnitzler's initial novella Traumnovelle which is representative of fin-de-siecle Vienna was a most satisfying literary and cinematic experience.

Sra said...

I'm an acquaintance of Andrew Shaw, who is a member of Calico, but strangely I've never managed to hear Calico play. I've only heard his other projects, The Adonis, Chanticleer the Clever Cowboy, and most recently, The Platte. Weird.

I look forward to listening to these pieces. Unfortunately my... inamorato... is sleeping (at midnight thirty on a weekend, no less!), so it shall have to wait until tomorrow.

B.R. said...

That would be an instance of close reading, right. This technique allows the reader to connect the dots and create a bigger, more comprehensive context/picture in which to house the primary text.
-Bataille has some valid ideas. Some are, well, more of a challenge. His Erotism text did prove helpful in this case, however.
-Thanks about the logo comment. The logo was designed by my very good friend and associate Camille Nelson. Among other things, she's in incredible artist.
-Intense, indeed. I remember the initial analysis being truly intense, as well. As a cinematic enthusiast, you will, for sure, react to this. It's, in my mind, one of Kubrick's strongest contribution to our bank of culture. Ah, and featuring Shostakovich adds so much to the feature.
-Calico makes good music. I'm not being biased on account of my friend being the bass player for the band. They make intelligent music and those with literary inclinations are bound to react quickly and very well to it. Do check them out on myspace to see when they're playing next, Sra.

dave said...

which other films are you reading closely for the podcast series?

Nicki said...

I can see that this is not the focus of your work here but how come there seems to be more research on male/male relationships than female/female? Like researchers like Eve Sedgwick also seem to focus more on that dynamic. What is the scholarly reason for such a preference? Is it a preference?

Nicki said...

Also, what suggestions might I get from you about stuff to read on the topic?

Silke said...

Liebe Brikena:
Ich hoffe, dass Du einbisschen Zeit hast, die folgenden Fragen zu beantworten...
1) Warum hast du dich entschieden das Werk Batailles zu verwenden
und
2) Schintzler nach, geht es hier haupsaechlich um Geschlecht? Nicht so Kontext-orientiert aber ich hab' mal versucht.... ;)
danke dir.

Silke said...

also, haupTsaechlich.... schreiben, schreiben!

Jen said...

Same question as above, which other films are gendering?
Also, why do you pick the ones you pick... What's the criteria?

Anonymous said...

liked the bass on Calico, btw....

Marie J. said...

I'm curious about Bataille too. Could you have applied Kristeva just as well?

Marie J. said...

I had Kristeva's Powers of Horror in mind, actually.
And maybe it's jst me, but this felt oh-so-Dante to me?
Am I on to something?

Dan said...

I'm wondering if Kubrick was actually aware of the sexual fluidity that Tom Cruise seems to represent for many viewers.
That Cruise/Pollack analysis was what made me think of it.

Sra said...

This was dense, but very provocative. I will need to listen to it a few more times. I've never actually seen Eyes Wide Shut, but this analysis gives me enough interest to do so. I enjoyed the discussions of power.

And I shall check out Calico live for sure.

Dori said...

agreed with sra.
thanks for this. it's amazing how much can be gleaned from a careful, close reading.
i appreciate this!
-Dori

Jane said...

I'll watch the film again and pay closer attention to it. thx. I second the others' sentiment....

Jane said...

And the logo is totally cool.....

Eva said...

Like someone else mentioned, the words 'that is so gendered' are in my regular repertoire now, too :)

Ben said...

The film should have done better with the US audience. The reason why so many have a hard time with it it's because Kubrick wants his audience 'to grow up.' This is not the kind of film to watch over popcorn.
thx for this series of podcasts.
And, I liked the bass. I hope you'll feature more music later.

Candace said...

I wonder what you thought of Tom Cruise's performance... Why do you think Kubrick tried so hard to get him to play Harford?

Candace said...

Actually, why he got them both as a couple at the twilight of their marriage.... Kubrick was quite intuitive, of course, but I'd like to see what you think.

Ana said...

This was one of the best films I've seen.
Of course, the analysis would be intense too ;)
thx, Kena!

Ana said...

This was one of the best films I've seen.
Of course, the analysis would be intense too ;)
thx, Kena!

Jane W. said...

Thanks, Bri.
I just saw that it's now on iTunes too.
Sweet.
That way I've got it on my iPod too.
thx.

Jane W. said...

And...
with the other podcasts be in the same directory in iTunes? If yes, where do they get uploaded?

B.R. said...

Some answers....
-I'm reading Dante's canto V of the Inferno.
-The film Voyager and the novel Homo Faber by the Swiss author Max Schloedorff. The L Word and the Bravo TV show Workout.
-Good question re: the theoretical preference of male/male settings. It's an even more relevant question asked of one who researches just that.....
-Yes, on Dante. And double yes on Kristeva. I would recommend Kristeva's Powers of Horror, Richard Dyer's White and, of course, Bataille.
-I do think there's something quite fluid about Cruise as a performer. There's something even more apropos about a Cruise/Kidman marriage that somehow brings the Bill/Alice dynamic to life. And I can't help but think that Kubrick 'capitalized' on that.
-All of the podcasts should be found in the same directory.
They will be posted on Friday around 5:30pm Eastern Time.

B.R. said...

And the Dante reference I consciously made a reference to was Inferno 3. Quite often I refer to Dante and Goethe, almost unbeknownst to me, but this time I was fully aware of the naked souls of hell....