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Enckell, M. (2001). Eyes Open and Shut. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 24(1):46-53.

(2001). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 24(1):46-53

Eyes Open and Shut

Mikael Enckell, M.D.

The aim of this paper is to study Stanley Kubrick's posthumous film “Eyes Wide Shut”: the Jewish tradition it stems from, its links to Freud and psychoanalysis, and its specific theme of sexuality in the face of imminent death. The author opens up by reflecting on the negatively-tinged reception the film met, seeing this as a reflection of the uneasiness the genuinely new in art often provokes. In connection with this, the author points out the fact that critics have not recognized the specifically Jewish background of the film. This background can be linked to Freud and psychoanalysis, and the author picks out some outstanding connections: the central position of the dream in the film, the presence of psychic reality, the allusion to Anna O., and – above all – the importance of sexuality. The author connects the ever-present sexual theme of the film to the director's imminent death, seeing this sexuality as a clinging to life, and the erotic jealousy as the jealousy of the one who has to leave life. As a conclusion, the author studies some similarities and differences between “Eyes Wide Shut” and Visconti's “L'Innocente”.

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