An Analysis of the Opening Sequence of Stanley Kubrick's ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ Focusing on the Use of Generic Conventions

1738 Words Jan 11th, 2011 7 Pages
An analysis of the opening sequence of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ focusing on the use of generic conventions

We frequently consider films in terms of their genre, a French word meaning ‘kind’ or ‘sort’. It is a very complex term, not only used in film but also in other creative areas such as music, art, and literature. However, it is often considered through various conventions including iconography, similar themes and their stylistic features, as Bordwell and Thompson (2006:357) suggest, ‘ style…is the formal system of the film that organizes techniques’ such as lighting, props and setting. This repetition of common elements across a series of films allows us as the viewer to identify genre. For example, if a film was to
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The opening title sequence then cuts to a long shot of a blonde female character, Alice, who can be identified as Nicole Kidman, wearing a long black dress and heels, which could signify authority and power. However, the mise-en-scene of this shot includes brightly coloured props, such as red curtains, and uses high key lighting. This immediately signifies a contrast in colour, and helps attract the eye to the character, as they appear bolder within the frame of the shot. However, it could be argued that it is typical of a comedy genre, as the use of high key lighting and brightly coloured props are typical conventions for a comedy.
As the viewer’s eye is struck upon the female character, creating a voyeuristic appetite, she begins to slowly take the dress off and ultimately represents the woman as an object of desire, as Laura Mulvey (2006:31) describes ‘creating a male gaze.’ As the female body is exposed the camera quickly cuts to black presenting the title of the film, Eyes Wide Shut. The use of a quick cut to black, creates a somewhat ‘blink’ which implies a link to the title of the movie. The camera then cuts to an establishing wide angle shot of a street at night, typically showing yellow taxi’s which automatically symbolises the setting of New York. During this shot, diegetic sound of police sirens can be heard, which may be an example of verisimilitude. However, the use of this diegetic sound

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