A still potent mystique hangs over Eyes Wide Shut.
That’s partly down to the subject matter.
It was a mainstream film containing disturbing erotica.
When the glamorous wife (Nicole Kidman)
of a successful doctor (Cruise) confesses
the desire she felt for a stranger months
previously, he plunges down a whirlpool of jealousy.
Kubrick wanted the star of Top Gun and Cocktail
to play the lead in his sexually frank adaptation
of an Austrian avant-garde novel from the 1920s.
The film was to lay a seemingly solid marriage
out on the figurative slab. Like a pathologist
peeling back waxy layers of skin, Kubrick would
coldly scrutinise what festered beneath.
It is a deeply dissonant film. Even for Kubrick,
certainly for Kidman and Cruise.
But it’s also unflinching in its insights
into sexualityand brusque about matters
of the heart and other body parts.
It was to a degree unthinkable in mainstream
entertainment today. Even in 1999, it felt
slightly like something from another era.
Twenty years on, Eyes Wide Shut is
an acknowledged classic. But it is
also notorious – largely on account
of the masked orgy.
It is in every sense the centrepiece
and it was the sequence with which
Kubrick struggled the most.
films and videos exploring notions of gender-bending,
desire, sensuality, love, lust and eroticism.
Some are gritty and explicit (using found smut films
or home-shot footage) while others are more suggestive,
elusive and idiosyncratic.
The works visually criticise, subvert or glorify
the original content, or in many cases, do all three.
The artists peel back a layer of our cultural facade
to reveal the raw pleasures and troubling paradoxes
of that most basic of human impulses,the desire to fuck.
Sex dolls and increasingly sophisticated sex robots are
booming in popularity – with brothels popping up around the world.
It seems loneliness driven by social media
is fuelling the desire for sex robots
Sex robots will also help cater for
a rise in “niche” sexual desires.