This weekend, I had the pleasure of taking in the Kubrick Exhibit at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto, and it’s everything that a fan of the director would want. With individual exhibit spaces dedicated to each of his films, featuring stills, costumes, props and more (yes, you will see the monolith and Star Child from “2001: A Space Odyssey,” among other things), plus materials from his never-realized projects “A.I.,” “Napoleon,” and “The Aryan Papers,” you couldn’t ask for a better exploration of the director’s work. But one thing I did miss was a chance to take in one of the retrospective screenings. Thankfully, TIFF is making it easy to see what I’ve missed.
Kubrick’s producer Jan Harlan and his wife Christiane Kubrick were recently on hand to introduce a screening of Kubrick’s final film, “Eyes Wide Shut” (appropriately, you have to enter through a heavy black curtain to get into the room featuring the exhibit for this film at TIFF). And they share some interesting trivia tidbits. Harlan relates that this project had been brewing for Kubrick since the ’60s, but the director had a hard time figuring a way into the material (based on the book “Traumnovelle” by Arthur Schnitzler). And, at one point he considered making it a black-and-white arthouse drama with Woody Allen in the lead. Wow.
As for the finished film? Harlan says it has one problem: you have to see it twice. He says that while American audiences were cool on the picture, in Europe and elsewhere, “Eyes Wide Shut” was received much more openly. But he believes that, eventually, Kubrick’s final film will be better assessed as a window into our times.
Fascinating stuff, so give it a watch below.