Thank you for those examples, Mr. Mullen. Every film you mention is, of course, marvellous in the extreme (silly to even say so?). Now I will expand on my original post, in order to clarify my theme.
The first thematic lens flare in cinema history?
The following is in two parts: Part I poses a question; Part II provides commentary.
I. GENERAL QUESTION
1. If EWS was shot over fifteen months of continuous shooting;
2. If the Sonata Café scene was shot three different times in three different locations;
3. If the Hotel Jason scene, about three minutes in duration, required a week of shooting;
4. If Domino’s character (occupying a running time of about eight minutes) took three months to film . . .
If these examples are true, does it stand to reason that Kubrick would ignore a rainbow lens flare that occupies a prominent amount of frame-space (and overlays the film’s male star) for almost TWO CONTINUOUS MINUTES of screen time?
[1. is well documented; 2. reported by Todd Field; 3. by Alan Cumming; 4. by Vinessa Shaw.]
1a. “Don’t you want to go where the rainbow ends?” Gayle and Nuala attempt to seduce Dr. Bill, who responds: “That depends where that is.” At this early moment in EWS, the audience does not yet know “where the rainbow ends”.
1b. Experiencing the visible world—being alive—is experiencing the phenomenon of color. There is nothing visible to us without, first and foremost, color. Form without color cannot be seen by human eyes.
1c. There are over two dozen spoken references to “see” or “seeing” in EWS.
2a. When Dr. Bill enters the Inner Room of Rainbow Fashions, he enters into an existential, metaphysical realm. Most of Kubrick’s films inhabit Rainbow Fashions. (1) Milich is dressed like a dishevelled Jack in Shining; (2) eighteenth-century garments recall Barry Lyndon; (3) location’s dimensions, and camera movement revealing location, recall opening shot of Clockwork; (4) daughter (Lolita), and Spanish garments (Carmen is a running theme throughout the book Lolita); (5) “Have you no sense of decency?” is the classic phrase from American McCarthy era (Strangelove); (6) floor rug, its shape and color, recalls monolith; (7) mannequins recall Killer’s Kiss.
2b. For human beings, the phenomenon of being alive requires assuming a role (or roles) for a lifetime, and living in the artificial environment of human civilization. Dr. Bill, emblem of logic and reason, believes himself a free-thinking individual. Actually, unwittingly, Dr. Bill is a character inside an artificial construct of which he has no idea. The Inner Room of Rainbow Fashions has the existential, absurdist vibe of Samuel Beckett and Pirandello.
2c. Kubrick built a set of Manhattan to—for one reason—demonstrate how what we call “real life” is itself as artificial as any art. EWS demonstrates how logic and reason are oases within a larger dream story.
3a. Dr. Bill visiting Sally’s apartment commences an unbroken continuum of fifteen minutes of running time occupied with the theme of death (HIV-positive Domino; Death stalking Dr. Bill; Ex-Beauty Queen fighting for life; Mozart’s Requiem as coffee shop muzak; dead in the morgue). Inside Sally’s we see the prominent rainbow lens flare.
3b. This rainbow lens flare is associated with (a.) the dialogue at Ziegler’s and (b.) the thematic presentation of Rainbow Fashions. This lens flare is the culmination of a running theme of the film. This lens flare, in fact, explains a running theme of the film.
3c. CONCLUSION: Inside Sally’s apartment, the rainbow lens flare reveals a fundamental thematic concern of EWS: that the “end of the rainbow”—is death.
4. QUESTION: In what other film has a lens flare not only been associated with, but REVEALED a thematic meaning?
Speculation awaiting confirmation: The thematic lens flare in EWS is the first of its kind in cinema history.
Edited by Jeff Bernstein, 13 May 2018 - 09:22 AM.