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Eyes Wide Shut - 15 Years Later

I rewatched Eyes Wide Shut in full last night for the first time, I believe, since its release. A visual masterpiece beyond compare. Every shot a revelation. Even though I’ve seen it before, I have a new respect for Kubrick’s mind for photography, pacing, tone - his obsessive attention to (and sharpened attunement to) detail.

(Spoilers ahead. Duh.)

It’s notable here that he directed photography so closely that he credited his ostensible DP, Larry Smith, simply as “lighting cameraman” - that is, a skilled technician working to execute an auteur’s precise vision.

Even though I liked it back in the day, my 13-year-old brain couldn’t appreciate this depth of style and form at ALL. I simply wasn’t equipped. Absolutely breathtaking use of sudden cuts away from a reaction, as in the scene-exits of the second visit to Rainbow Fashions or Victor Ziegler’s monologue - or aggressive pulls in on a chilling image, as in several stunning moments of the much-discussed orgy sequence. (The only tangible criticism I can give the film is on a slight overuse of crossfade scene-transitions in the first half or so, which could have been a circumstantial concession. I do also wonder what considerations of editing and post were decided in the latter stages, after Kubrick’s unfortunate death.)

Speaking of things I couldn’t grasp at 13 or 14, it’s such a tragic, convincing exploration of the lust and wanting underneath every human exchange, no matter how grave. The seemingly minor Alan Cumming (ha) scene drives this point hard (ha ha). Overall, the film seems to follow thematically and philosophically from Eraserhead, which Kubrick had once called his “favorite film.”

Back when I first watched this, I had no frame of reference for drug states, sex, relationship dynamics, even the city - at 29, it has a whole new texture of realness and believability, from the grit of late-night Manhattan to the frustrations of communication right down to the stupid fucking logic and comic self-sabotage that can come with smoking too much.

This leads me to a quick aside - there is something unnerving and perfect about the city-street scenes. They all feel boxed-in and contained, conspicuously like a studio set. Every street seems to end in a T intersection, closed off from the world at large, in ways that appear impossibly circular - a note that I doubt was incidental considering the great pains of precision taken at every turn in the making of this film. This feels weirdly appropriate as we follow Dr. Bill Hartford, a character that I believe has been sometimes derided as a boring victim of only his own privilege and self-obsession, but who reads to me more as an endearingly naïve man who exists in a world of wealth and indulgence into which he actually doesn’t fit at all.

When I saw Eyes Wide Shut in a theater during its initial run, the conversation in the room was loud, and the anticipation palpable, in a way that is unlike ANY other filmgoing experience I’ve ever had to this very day. Despite that, popular media has failed this film. It’s not in the least some debauched, amoral shock-romp. To the contrary, it’s a morality play about how pathetic and powerless the individual can be before pervasive, inescapable forces: wealth, power, institution - and worse yet, his or her own base, animal longings; the insatiable hunger and wanting for sex, money, status.

In short, it’s about how lust poisons everything.

Perhaps ironically, last night I actually meant to watch Oldboy (the original, cuz come on) for an aspirational stylistic refresher as a filmmaker. The torrent hadn’t finished, so my date and I put this on instead. Eyes Wide Shut has almost literally the opposite pace and tone of Oldboy, but I walk away now feeling equally that it’s a gold standard to aspire to.

Mulholland Drive, Le Mépris/Contempt, Oldboy. Twin Peaks, maybe Alien and Blade Runner. There are very few pieces of media that see me physically jumping out of my skin with excitement. This one did, from literally start to finish.



On second viewing, Frozen has the same third act as Maleficent.

(Spoilers ahead, obviously.)

1. Newly re-magick’d ingenue gets locked away;

2. Misguided troops storm castle and fight the misunderstood supernatural heroine’s just-created monster;

3. Re-cursed ingenue will die unless she receives “true love’s kiss” (exact phrase);

4. Crucial plot twist is that the act of true love which saves her is not a romantic gesture from a man but comes from a familial relationship with a female elder.

Very interesting to note. In both cases I admire the feminist spirit in setting women’s relationships with each other as the primary relationships of a film (also notable in Brave), and in defying our conditioned expectation for a female lead’s redemption or rescue to come from a male suitor.

That said, it’s a little disappointing to watch this again after having seen Maleficent and realize there’s such a distinct plot structure reiterated, re: the whole twist on “true love’s kiss,” which - while in both cases well executed and tasteful - comprises the emotional core and take-away of each film.

On the other hand, it’s interesting to note that even as crucial an element of Frozen as that is, I watched Maleficent just a couple months later and didn’t draw the parallel at all. So maybe I’m lazy, or maybe that’s good on them?

S.



stefanoblack said: What is tumblr *for*, anyway?

Me 2008: I really don’t fucking know. Seems kinda pointless. I should probably figure it out.

Me 2009-2011: LMAO OMFG WTF WAS I THINKING THIS IS THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE

Me 2014: What? Go away, I’m doing shit.



this thing that happens

Middle-aged man in a B&N starbucks
reading The Essential Superman Encyclopedia
in a place like this you see people at their
best

focused on what interests them
maybe a comforting childhood fantasy
“No X-Ray Vision? No Problem!” it says,
promising answers

another, maybe older, man reads Michael Moore
they are not home
in a dark living
room

fighting with their wives
judging their children
steeped in regret
or maybe they are
but it’s all right
this happens to all of us.



submissivelymonroe:

I canNOT with George Takei. He is like a god among mortals. 

(Source: chandra75)



THE KKK TOOK MY MUPPET BABY AWAY

THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE

(IRONICALLY THE FOOTAGE ACTUALLY IS ABOUT PEOPLE DRESSING UP AS GHOSTS BUT EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE NOT KKK IT SO HAPPENS THEY ARE NAZIS)



deadly-mermaids:

callmemac:

gojikas:

grlgang:

feedmyaddictionnow:

kingofwesteros:

Publicity done right in an anti-rape campaign: double-page spread, pages glued to one another. After the reader forcefully separates them, the image above is revealed with the caption “if you have to use force, it’s rape”.

THIS IS BRILLIANT

I don’t like this it seems really gross I think the photo is what bothers me? It almost feels like they’re trying to sexualize a rape ad- and I am aware that the cafab body is not inherently sexual but the execution of the photo is…gross to me. Idk I can’t explain properly.

i kinda got the same feeling like i know what they were trying to say but it’s just in a way that seems sort of…off? i don’t know how to describe it; i think maybe it’s because the reader has to have the urge to willingly pull the pages open expecting something?? Idk how to word it maybe I’m just misinterpreting it

No, I saw it earlier and didn’t reblog because it weirded me out. I think grlgang is right — it seems like they’ve sexualized rape…

it is really creepy. it’s like playing pretend or something. it’s trivializing rape. “get it? now YOURE the rapist. but not really. you can go back to what you were doing now.”  its also presenting a woman as LITERALLY an object. the ‘victim’ in this psa has no voice. they’re not treated like a person. wouldn’t it have been more powerful and effective to have real people talking about their experiences as victims/survivors of rape? they could use this opportunity to show people what rape culture is. but instead they show us this nameless, faceless, sexualized body, and give us an overly simplistic, harmful definition of rape.

The other big problem here is that it implies rape necessarily involves force. This will reinforce for some people the unfortunate notion that “I’m not physically forcing her, so it’s okay to keep going even though [she said no/she doesn’t seem to want it/etc].”

deadly-mermaids:

callmemac:

gojikas:

grlgang:

feedmyaddictionnow:

kingofwesteros:

Publicity done right in an anti-rape campaign: double-page spread, pages glued to one another. After the reader forcefully separates them, the image above is revealed with the caption “if you have to use force, it’s rape”.

THIS IS BRILLIANT

I don’t like this it seems really gross I think the photo is what bothers me? It almost feels like they’re trying to sexualize a rape ad- and I am aware that the cafab body is not inherently sexual but the execution of the photo is…gross to me. Idk I can’t explain properly.

i kinda got the same feeling like i know what they were trying to say but it’s just in a way that seems sort of…off? i don’t know how to describe it; i think maybe it’s because the reader has to have the urge to willingly pull the pages open expecting something?? Idk how to word it maybe I’m just misinterpreting it

No, I saw it earlier and didn’t reblog because it weirded me out. I think grlgang is right — it seems like they’ve sexualized rape…

it is really creepy. it’s like playing pretend or something. it’s trivializing rape. “get it? now YOURE the rapist. but not really. you can go back to what you were doing now.” its also presenting a woman as LITERALLY an object. the ‘victim’ in this psa has no voice. they’re not treated like a person. wouldn’t it have been more powerful and effective to have real people talking about their experiences as victims/survivors of rape? they could use this opportunity to show people what rape culture is. but instead they show us this nameless, faceless, sexualized body, and give us an overly simplistic, harmful definition of rape.

The other big problem here is that it implies rape necessarily involves force. This will reinforce for some people the unfortunate notion that “I’m not physically forcing her, so it’s okay to keep going even though [she said no/she doesn’t seem to want it/etc].”

(via gojikas)



All @DAVID_LYNCH everything.

(Source: boiledjeans, via heyyouitsme)



two years.

Just watched ROGUE again for the first time in a year. Almost made it to the end without breaking down in tears this time.

I’m struck by how much it made me miss not only Raul but that whole period of life. Those were such good times…I miss the creative spirit of those days and all the people I shared it with, both of which have grown a little further away due to time, space, and frankly, Raul’s absence.

Two years since you left, and watching your work I still feel like I’m behind you. Two years since you left and still I envy your frankness. Two years since you left, I miss you as much as ever.

I’ll never let you die, you son of a bitch.



rogue-film:

Raul Rogue Rodriguez was a filmmaker, an artist, and a close friend.

His middle name was supposed to be Roque, after his father,
but they misspelled it on the birth certificate.

His life ended on the last day of 2011.

In this film I have presented a selection of Raul’s work, and also tried
to offer a glimpse into the life he lived and the ways he affected people.

If you knew Raul, I hope you’ll see sides of him both familiar and not.

If you didn’t know him…I hope it gives you even the slightest
understanding of who he was, what he meant to us all,
and how terribly you missed out.

[ LIFE ENDS; ART LIVES ON }

Today marks two years since I last saw you. I still miss you every day.

http://rogue-film.com



Two years ago this time, we eat together for the last time.



My first hypnosis workshop at Catland is on DNAinfo.

Speaks for itself. Join us at 2pm on Sunday 12/15.



time for giving

what you love will be gone
from your life, gone
from your memory, gone
from this earth, scattered
to dust

holdit
closer
forgiving
Thanks.



cutedeathrow:

Since we never uploaded any of these back in the day - the backing tracks from our three proudest pieces, plus the backing track from our live “Daft Racist” mashup cover.

CUTE DEATH FUCK MUSIC BUY OUR SHIT FOREVER

CUTE DEATH lived for a short time in 2011 and only ever played one show, up on Raul’s old roof. The only music Johnny and I ever uploaded were nihilistic little bedroom experiments, and remixes of a song by our friend Timmy’s band.

Here for the first time on interwebs are the backing tracks from the three best of our actual core “chipdustrial” originals, plus the track from our live “Daft Racist” cover mashup.

Still super proud of this stuff. Cute Death Fuck Music Buy Our Shit.



The chaos machine self-reflects.

The chaos machine self-reflects.







H ☰ L L O

i'm Stefano.
emphasis on the first syllable.
i make media and write about media.




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