"Eyes Wide Shut" Original Masks story behind the scenes

09 December, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

"Eyes Wide Shut" masks were commissioned by Stanley Kubrick's art director to "Mondonovo" in Venice. The famous workshop created by Guerrino Lovato is now transformed into an Heritage Museum in Malo (Vicenza). Lovato is a famous scupltor, he produced for theatre, cinema and many international projects as the reconstruction of  the Moscow's Kremlin, the decoration of "The Venetian" in Las Vegas... and more. This is the story from Guerrino's own words: 

"In 1997 an English lady art director came into my shop “Mondonovo Maschere” in Venice to buy a number of very elaborate and very expensive masks, which she said were to be used in a movie by Stanley Kubrick that was being shot partly in London and partly in the States. She didn’t tell me anything else, but I was asked to keep it a secret, and not to show the masks that she had bought. We made about 30 masks, each of them in duplicate copies. We didn’t know why this was requested – perhaps for a magic mirror trick? Or maybe just to have a backup copy in case one got lost or damaged. Well, anyway we fulfilled the order and made the masks. Later in 1998 they came back to buy some more, again still asking for our secrecy and discretion, and of course we obliged. In the 2000 the movie came out and we were able to recognize our models in many scenes.

Eyes Wide Shut Mask

My Columbus mask plays an important role in the scene of the orgy where a naked girl approaches Tom Cruise and  warns him to leave that place at once. Then, he is approached by a man, who behaves oddly, and makes him feel very uneasy for being there, again, with the aim of making him leave. The man in question is wearing my Columbus mask. The naked woman and Christopher Columbus remind me, in a inverted way, of The Divine Comedy’s characters of Virgilio and Beatrice who lead and seduce Dante through his journey in the underworld. Just like Christopher Columbus - the discoverer of the New World – they lead and  guide the main character of the movie, only to send him away. The concept that Kubrick chose to represent in the scenes of the masked people seems Dante’s idea in reverse. This rare photo with the Columbus mask character is one of the last images of the great director since he died during editing the movie.

Kubrick-with-Columbus-MaskThey told me at first Kubrick’s idea was that Tom Cruise would have gone into a club, where everybody would wear masks made by the same mask maker. So the initial idea was different. Kubrick wanted to give a sense of uniformity, where all the participants knew each other, and were from the same closed club.
Then he changed his mind. As it turned out, the main character in the film feels unwanted and is banished from the group. Kubrick gave the scene a sense of disorientation and bewilderment, which was conveyed by using masks from different artists, some from Venice and some from elsewhere, to give the idea that the guests in this castle didn’t know each other and therefore had bought their masks and fancy dresses from different places, made by different artists.
I spotted many of
my masks in the movie, but just 4 are in the foreground: Columbus, Diamante, Urlante, Archaic Sun."

Eyes Wide Shut is a symbolic and metaphorical film. For example, the password for the orgy is "Fidelio," a word that points at the theme of marital fidelity and it is also the opera by Beethoven, who Kubrick liked so much. The opera tells how Leonore, disguised as a prison guard named "Fidelio," rescues her husband Florestan from death in a political prison.

"Eyes-Wide-Shut-Masks"


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