11th September 2019, Freud Museum London event on the 20th anniversary of the release of Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut
Spoiler alert for some of the following!
With a large audience at the Freud Museum London film researcher Mary Wild discussed Stanley Kubrick's last film with Professor of Film Studies Nathan Abrams. The event included how the film was made, psychoanalytic issues in items of the film, and the critical and public response to the film. One theme of the film is the relationship of fantasy to reality, and hence the meaningfulness, or lack of meaning, of dreams, as present in the final dialogue between Bill (Tom Cruise) and Alice (Nicole Kidman). From a dream research perspective, the discussion between Mary Wild and Nathan Abrans on why the object of Alice's fantasy was portrayed as a naval officer, rather than an air force officer, or army officer, or even a surfer, was fascinating; 'why was this element chosen?' is a common question regarding film and dream content. Another link to dreams was the author of the 1926 novella Traumnovella (Dream Story), the basis for the film. Arthur Schnitzler lived in Vienna, setting the story there, and was a contemporary of and praised by Freud. At the end of the discussions we were left with the messages that what was real and what fantasy in the film was not in all cases clear, that much of the plot hinged on Bill's inability to accept being told a fantasy by his wife, and that it is our choice which to accept of the two characterisations of dreams in the film.