Sexuality is an ineluctable illusion and so is truth. Desire is sagaciously simple and so is religion. The coupling of sexuality and truth, desire and religion, may seem hardly relevant to a common person, but not so for Mr Kubrick and Mr Schnitzler (as I believe).
‘- And no dream, is altogether a dream…’ by this statement, I believe that Arthur Schnitzler is corroborating Sigmund Freud’s theory that our dream indeed reflects certain aspects of our unconsciousness. And what if that ‘unconsciousness’ or that ‘dream’ becomes a little conscious, a little real and sensitive as it is for Mrs Albertine’s (Nicole Kidman), then you would get a wonderfully profound and curiously exploring novel (and film) on sexuality, truth and humanly desire.
Both the novel and the film follow the sexual conscience of the marriage couple, Fridolin and Albertine. Being the nature of a novel, the reader of course is able to expand their senses on the descriptions provide by Mr Schnitzler and more events are entailed. Schnitzler’s writing is no doubt both wonderfully sharp and elusive, allowing the readers’ minds to grasp onto the ideas and concepts that are being portrayed, yet to really pin point it, perhaps requires a certain senses of ‘unconsciousness’ like that of the author. For example, in the scene where Marianne confesses her love to Fridolin - ‘Fleetingly he recalled a novel he once read, in which a very young man, almost a boy, had been seduced, or rather raped, at his mother’s deathbed by her best friend. In the same instant, he could not for some reason help thinking of his wife’ It is easy for one to understand why he would think of this particular character while he himself is also being undesirably seduced, but to associate this event to his wife, it is indeed ‘for some reason’ was put there by the author.
The film is a magnificently separate piece on its own, Stanley Kubrick uses very atmospheric lighting, often illuminatingly gold, and falling of darkness in amidst of blossoming artificial light. In comparison to the novel, there’s a difference touch of mystery in the film, not in the words and dialogues as it is for the novel, but rather the images, the music and the women characters that willingly give themselves to Fridolin. Albertine character is not altered; she maintains both her goddess and human ascriptions in the film and the novel. Where Schnitzler leaves his words elusive, Kubrick makes it more apparent, as apparent as the last line of dialogue that Albertine utters in the film.
For a woman, human sexuality is deeply explored in her dream, while for the man, it is explored within the boundary of his reality and desires. Yet, it is the depth of Albertine’s dream that leads Fridolin to numerous adventures, pushing him close to the edge of fidelity and while the reality of her experience is much less than his, both Kubrick and Schnitzler let Albertine sit on the sexual throne of the marriage. This I thought is feminism in its very subtle form (you have better to learn from this Mrs Brelait!!!). At the end of the day, it is their faiths that have safely let them emerge from their adventures, both the real ones and from those which they dream about.
The novel and the film may appear complicated and there may seem a thousand ways to understand them. If you, like me are able to attain a certain sense of ‘unconsciousness’ to live and know that sexuality is an illusion and so is truth. Desire is simple and so is religion. Then it isn’t at all difficult to understand them, it is perhaps both the book and the film are no more simple than the act of f***ing.