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142 Chapter Six ARTIFICIALITY, MODERNISM, ANDTHE SUBLIME Reflexivity As discussed in the previous chapter, Kubrick’s protagonists are usually passive spectators and listeners in their diegetic worlds. They often remain entrapped in a dreamy world, governed by the director’s aesthetic rules, in which the extradiegetic world is often cited. Indeed, the films deliberately exhibit their awareness of being works of art in several ways. For example, the diegetic world is evoked in the diegesis itself through the presence of scenes that recall previous sequences, or foretell subsequent events, often parodying them. Or the extradiegetic world is evoked in the diegetic world both indirectly and directly. In the former case, the extradiegesis is recalled through the evocation of the making of the film and, in the latter, through the citation of the cinematic medium in the medium itself. For example, Eyes Wide Shut seems to be structured to exhibit its artificiality thanks to its numerous cross-references. In all other Kubrick adaptations , there are several scenes that reference other sequences. Some of them work like déjà vu, evoking previous episodes. Others work like flash-forwards, announcing events that are to follow. And this narrative construction increases the protagonists’ passivity because they remain entrapped in it. In the director’s last film, however, the citation of the diegetic world in the diegesis itself often becomes a parody (which is to say, given a hypotext with a noble subject and a noble style, its parody is characterized by a vulgar subject narrated in the same noble style of the hypotext [Genette, 1997: 29–36]). It is as if Kubrick has substituted the novel protagonist’s dramatic odyssey and loneliness, his mental wandering among his wife’s thoughts of infidelity, and his physical wandering in a society in which he aimlessly looks for a place, with a self-referential Artificiality, Modernism, and the Sublime 143 parody. The narrator’s dramatic mood and Fridolin’s fluxes of conscience are translated, in the adaptation, through Bill’s expressionless face which stares at scenes that parody his own experiences. For example, the episode at Rainbow Fashions not only announces the orgy, but also parodies it. While the former episode could be defined as comedy, the latter is enveloped in a dramatic, almost sacred atmosphere. The masked women of the orgy are substituted by a Lolita with an angelic face. The men with Venetian masks and dark cloaks become two Japanese men, almost naked, with colorful wigs and made up as women. And the role of the purple mask, master of ceremonies, who utters a few, lapidary sentences, is played by a loquacious man, worried by his incipient baldness, who mixes different registers. Indeed, in a single sentence, when he gently speaks to Bill, he refers to his daughter with harsh epithets and he menaces the two Japanese men. milich: And you little whore! I kill you for this. I promise. I kill you. I kill you (to his daughter). Hold on to that girl for me please (to Bill). japanese man: Milich, this is preposterous. The young lady invited us here. milich: Couldn’t you see she is deranged? (to the Japanese men). Doctor, I’m sorry to keep you waiting (to Bill). Gentlemen, this is now a police matter. You will please stay here until I return (to the Japanese men). japanese man: Let us out of here! milich: That’s out of the question (to the Japanese men). Doctor, sorry. What color did you say? Black? (to Bill). bill: Black. milich: Gentlemen, please have the goodness to be quiet for the moment! Couldn’t you see I try to serve my customer? (to the Japanese men) Sorry (to Bill). And you, little whore, go to bed at once, you depraved creature. I’ll deal with you as soon as after I serve this gentleman (to his daughter). In the novel, Gibiser is described as “a comic elder in a play” (Schnitzler , 1999: 37). But the two masked men are “two masked figures in the red robes of vehmic court judges” (1999: 38) who, when they are discovered by Gibiser, transform themselves into “two slim young gentlemen in white ties and evening dress” (1999: 40). What is more, although the costumier adopts different registers to speak with Fridolin, his daughter, and the two French men, he does not mix them in a single sentence (1999: 38–41). Thus, in the written medium the scene is not the...


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