Eyes Wide Shut Masks

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Rialto, Venice. In a short but remarkable workshop, in 1985 Franco Cecamore has created two original masks for the Venice Carnival. Twelve years later, a man with white coloured men's clothing, came to that shop: the man was Jan Harlan, executive producer of one of the last movies directed by Stanley Kubrick. He visited "Il Canovaccio" in order to buy several masks. One of them would be used by Kubrick in his last masterpiece "Eyes Wide Shut" for the character of Dr. Bill Harford, played by Tom Cruise. This documentary is the incredible and unknown story behind the creation of the most important masks of "Eyes Wide Shut." The artisans of this typical Italian product say that the origin of the art makes it a unique product. Original documents, photographs and the description of the meeting with the Kubrick's production make this the story we tell in our film.

Script

  1. soundbite
    1 00:01:10,499 --> 00:01:16,899 English subtitles by Carolyn Burke 2 00:01:18,700 --> 00:01:20,710 Good morning, hello. I'm Massimilano Studer. 3 00:01:21,200 --> 00:01:23,500 I'd like to speak with Francesca... 4 00:01:23,950 --> 00:01:30,110 Hello! I've just received from your colleague at the store in Venice 5 00:01:30,510 --> 00:01:31,510 the documents, the invoices... 6 00:01:32,390 --> 00:01:36,960 I assure you, at this point, our interests and availability 7 00:01:36,960 --> 00:01:42,800 to produce a little documentary, a report on the work that 8 00:01:43,100 --> 00:01:48,300 was behind the production of these masks for the film. 9 00:01:49,000 --> 00:01:52,850 If you agree, we will come to Venice in the next few days 10 00:01:53,150 --> 00:01:56,500 to do the filming in your store 11 00:01:56,700 --> 00:01:58,880 and to do this video-interview. 12 00:01:59,880 --> 00:02:03,500 Okay. So, we'll be in touch in the next few days to confirm the details. 13 00:02:03,950 --> 00:02:06,480 Ok? Good-bye, good-bye... 14 00:03:01,250 --> 00:03:02,800 The ferry? Either the number 1 or the number 2 15 00:03:06,900 --> 00:03:08,000 Thank you. Good-bye 16 00:03:11,930 --> 00:03:17,350 I would say that the idea to produce or to tell the story 17 00:03:17,500 --> 00:03:21,800 that there was behind the production of the masks of "Eyes Wide Shut" 18 00:03:21,810 --> 00:03:26,950 surfaced a few years ago, and that, at the time, studying at the university, 19 00:03:27,090 --> 00:03:33,100 I got to read a book by a French critic named Michel Ciment 20 00:03:33,400 --> 00:03:35,580 who had interviewed Kubrick several times. 21 00:03:36,510 --> 00:03:41,700 In one interview, in particular, during the making of "A Clockwork Orange," 22 00:03:41,900 --> 00:03:46,990 Stanley Kubrick declared -- we're talking about the '70s -- that he was interested in 23 00:03:46,990 --> 00:03:52,700 making a film based on a novel by Arthur Schnitzler: 24 00:03:52,900 --> 00:03:54,500 "Dream Story". 25 00:04:20,000 --> 00:04:25,050 Jumping then to the story from 1999, the year the film came out, 26 00:04:25,150 --> 00:04:29,590 that I remember I went to see at first in Milan and I was struck, I remember -- 27 00:04:29,590 --> 00:04:38,650 this very strange film, in the typical style of Kubrick 28 00:04:38,800 --> 00:04:46,050 where one very important part was dedicated to the masks, 29 00:04:46,050 --> 00:04:48,710 to the masks that you see in the film... 30 00:04:48,710 --> 00:04:56,640 This film was very important because it was the last one made by Kubrick. 31 00:04:57,300 --> 00:05:04,840 I was saying briefly, the story -- 32 00:05:04,990 --> 00:05:10,820 I'll jump ahead to August 2012, because on that occasion I was in Venice with my 33 00:05:10,990 --> 00:05:18,810 companion who wanted to buy a mask from Venice and at that point 34 00:05:18,990 --> 00:05:25,120 I decided it was time to go and find the store. The artisans 35 00:05:26,000 --> 00:05:32,460 who contributed to the making of the film "Eyes Wide Shut" which had become absolutely 36 00:05:32,460 --> 00:05:34,560 the last masterpiece of Stanley Kubrick. 37 00:06:01,700 --> 00:06:06,050 The idea to make the masks was born in the '80s when the Venetian Carnival 38 00:06:06,990 --> 00:06:12,830 had started to be popular again. Actually, the people made it popular 39 00:06:12,830 --> 00:06:15,400 and the events they were doing every year. 40 00:06:16,500 --> 00:06:22,000 And I had this idea about the masks. They fascinated me. A little bit old, deja`-vu, a little bit alive, no? 41 00:06:22,730 --> 00:06:28,100 And I tried, around '80-'82, to make some masks but they turned out to be dreadful rubbish! 42 00:06:28,150 --> 00:06:35,300 It wasn't the right time. So, I continued to study and look around. Until a new inspiration 43 00:06:35,450 --> 00:06:39,600 came to me, maybe that term's too presumptuous... 44 00:06:39,850 --> 00:06:47,780 Maybe it's better to be a little sensible. The term escapes me. In short, they were beginning to come to me better. 45 00:06:48,400 --> 00:06:58,890 In the winter of 1985, I started to create again, and the first models came out. 46 00:06:58,890 --> 00:07:04,900 At that time, this shop was born: Kartaruga. It was a strange thing because outside the shop 47 00:07:05,000 --> 00:07:12,650 there were three turtles. At least I thought they were turtles! Instead they were three pineapples... 48 00:07:13,900 --> 00:07:18,300 At the beginning it seemed like a museum because there were only 10-15 masks and that's it. All formed. 49 00:07:18,400 --> 00:07:22,560 I had a little bit of luck because, doing experiments -- I made 50 00:07:22,560 --> 00:07:29,850 the things during the winter -- I had used new techniques but also new colors. 51 00:07:30,000 --> 00:07:35,100 A little bit I was remaking my things like the 1400s or 1500s, studying how they glued together the marble 52 00:07:35,200 --> 00:07:40,300 or looking at Byzantine things. In short, ranging quite a bit because in those times 53 00:07:40,500 --> 00:07:47,400 I was teaching at the Arts High School. Probably, there is a bit of a mix and relevance. 54 00:07:47,600 --> 00:07:55,800 The shop was going forward, all the same. In those times, I did my first experiments 55 00:07:56,000 --> 00:08:01,000 on this genre of mask that I later used for Tom Cruise's face. 56 00:08:03,900 --> 00:08:08,790 There, then, obviously, was one of the important aspects that fascinated me 57 00:08:08,790 --> 00:08:18,850 already as a spectator and then as a contributor to Kubrick's work. There was the charm 58 00:08:19,000 --> 00:08:25,300 that emanated from the mask worn by Tom Cruise in the film. Because this mask 59 00:08:25,500 --> 00:08:35,900 had this very Italian face. A smile that reminded you of that mocking smile of the Mona Lisa 60 00:08:36,100 --> 00:08:43,200 by Leonardo Da Vinci. It seems like she's smiling, but in reality, she's serious. She had 61 00:08:43,400 --> 00:08:47,800 feminine lips but seems masculine. It turns out to be worn by a male actor 62 00:08:47,910 --> 00:08:53,400 so that it has this ambiguous mystique, almost androgynous, that I wanted 63 00:08:53,740 --> 00:08:58,150 at all costs to try to understand. I was interested in understanding if 64 00:08:58,300 --> 00:09:04,100 the creator of this mask had chosen a male model or a female model: 65 00:09:04,300 --> 00:09:09,700 at that time I didn't know if the model was male or female. 66 00:09:10,000 --> 00:09:15,400 Several masks have my face as a basis. Or I had taken the mold to maintain 67 00:09:15,600 --> 00:09:22,400 the points of support on my face. All the rest, that is, all the masks 68 00:09:22,500 --> 00:09:27,900 of the "Commedia dell'arte," were based on the support points of my face or 69 00:09:28,000 --> 00:09:36,000 of whoever was right near me. This mask, this face was decorated 70 00:09:36,300 --> 00:09:38,900 and embellished, but, in fact, the true base is this. 71 00:09:39,000 --> 00:09:43,000 Even here, you can see better how it is. This is an androgynous mask. 72 00:09:43,300 --> 00:09:52,900 Neutral, I would say the cast of this face was made on my ex-girlfriend. 73 00:09:53,300 --> 00:09:59,300 It was modelled and simplified: I took off all the specific, physical 74 00:09:59,570 --> 00:10:04,900 characteristics of the person. What's left is the mouth, 75 00:10:05,200 --> 00:10:09,650 the nose, the cheekbones and the chin. The lower part of the mask. 76 00:10:09,900 --> 00:10:11,800 What personalizes it a bit is... 77 00:10:20,500 --> 00:10:27,000 the mouth smile. Here, we lowered a little bit 78 00:10:27,300 --> 00:10:33,200 the protuberance of the cheekbones and cleaned around the eye, to make it neutral. 79 00:10:33,400 --> 00:10:37,300 To render it perfectly androgynous, as I was saying before. 80 00:10:41,800 --> 00:10:43,400 There are different photos... 81 00:10:48,300 --> 00:10:52,000 Let's say we worked together. 82 00:10:53,800 --> 00:10:58,300 In those years, it helped me to work, to make the masks. These products 83 00:10:58,600 --> 00:11:04,100 were also made from that model. In the production, with the paper and with this specific technique 84 00:11:04,500 --> 00:11:06,350 with which this mask was made. 85 00:11:07,000 --> 00:11:10,400 Let's say that looking at the mask you can't tell if it's male or female. 86 00:11:10,900 --> 00:11:17,900 Absolutely. Whoever puts this on, this is the advantage of this mask, 87 00:11:18,100 --> 00:11:21,000 if it's a male or a female, the mask changes. 88 00:11:21,300 --> 00:11:25,300 Thus, it is perfect under this profile. In other words, these masks, 89 00:11:25,600 --> 00:11:29,000 which are simpler, are actually more complex. 90 00:11:30,040 --> 00:11:36,000 Here, from this one was born this other one. So, let's say this one was decorated 91 00:11:36,300 --> 00:11:42,900 with macrame and crackled. I believe that it was created in 1980, last century! 92 00:11:43,200 --> 00:11:51,100 In '85 or '86, I would say. 93 00:11:54,700 --> 00:12:02,450 This mask, as a decoration, was taken a bit ... I'll tell you something else: 94 00:12:02,750 --> 00:12:07,800 I was teaching and I taught for 27 years at an Arts High School. 95 00:12:08,060 --> 00:12:18,800 And so, it was a historic revisitation. Even if it doesn't seem so, it gave me the inspiration 96 00:12:19,050 --> 00:12:28,500 for a vision of byzantine painting. For everything that I did, I used 97 00:12:28,800 --> 00:12:35,250 a historical memory of things. Theory in the field, Gestalt, Marcolli... 98 00:12:36,000 --> 00:12:39,400 Let's say that it came from my work at school. 99 00:12:42,000 --> 00:12:48,800 What does it mean? It means that, going back to books, I used 100 00:12:49,500 --> 00:12:52,700 what was historical. So, when a product was made 101 00:12:53,000 --> 00:12:59,100 well or poorly, it wasn't an invention from nothing. But it was a 102 00:12:59,400 --> 00:13:03,700 revisiting of things. I'll give you an example. 103 00:13:04,000 --> 00:13:08,300 This, for example, I call it "Inca mask." 104 00:13:09,600 --> 00:13:12,300 Maybe it makes you remember something. Just to bring up the discussion of 105 00:13:12,600 --> 00:13:17,250 historical memory. Looking at it like this, someone could say: but this, 106 00:13:17,510 --> 00:13:21,700 maybe I've already seen this; I know it, but I don't know what it is. 107 00:13:22,900 --> 00:13:28,400 If you want to see the Inca bas-reliefs, -- when there were the representations 108 00:13:28,700 --> 00:13:40,100 or the rites, the witch doctors, or the overseers of the rites -- 109 00:13:40,400 --> 00:13:44,300 it had a crown on the head with feathers. 110 00:13:45,500 --> 00:13:48,900 Now, working with this memory, making the connection is easier. 111 00:13:49,000 --> 00:13:53,000 That's why this mask is called Inca. Because you recall this thing 112 00:13:53,340 --> 00:13:57,000 you've seen. So, the people, in the moment that they see it, they don't 113 00:13:57,300 --> 00:14:00,000 know how to identify it, but they have seen it. Obviously, it's been reworked and 114 00:14:00,300 --> 00:14:04,900 made modern, etc. etc. This is a thing. The other thing, however 115 00:14:05,250 --> 00:14:08,100 Now, it's not there... For example, the American Indians -- you know them, right? 116 00:14:08,400 --> 00:14:13,500 That they all have this diadem with feathers around it. Well, this mask, 117 00:14:13,800 --> 00:14:24,000 putting the feathers in this way, does it make you think of the diadem with the feathers 118 00:14:24,130 --> 00:14:28,500 like the American Indians? Do you see where the connection is? 119 00:14:29,500 --> 00:14:32,000 They are all associations of things that already exist. 120 00:14:32,300 --> 00:14:37,500 So what was I trying to do? To put into a modern key 121 00:14:37,800 --> 00:14:41,700 what the American Indians were before. Or like with everything the diadem that comes down. 122 00:14:41,900 --> 00:14:44,900 And with this idea, this mask was made. 123 00:14:45,200 --> 00:14:50,100 So, I went in this store, "The Canovaccio", I spoke with the owner 124 00:14:50,450 --> 00:14:57,000 of the shop. He declared that he worked 125 00:14:57,380 --> 00:15:02,450 with Kubrick. He showed me the masks, the three main masks 126 00:15:02,590 --> 00:15:11,000 in the film that clearly were given... they were transformed automatically 127 00:15:11,300 --> 00:15:16,600 into the official symbol of the film. Because the whole film played on this mask. 128 00:15:16,990 --> 00:15:20,400 The first thing I asked was, "But, do you have documents that can prove 129 00:15:20,700 --> 00:15:27,300 this involvement?" Because when this film came out, all the shops in Venice 130 00:15:28,200 --> 00:15:30,900 were declaring that they had worked with Kubrick. 131 00:15:31,200 --> 00:15:37,650 Instead, they showed me the invoice, signed personally by Jan Harlan 132 00:15:37,950 --> 00:15:42,000 who, for the record, is Stanley Kubrick's brother-in-law and who was 133 00:15:42,370 --> 00:15:50,200 there for the making of all the Kubrick films, from "Clockwork Orange" on. 134 00:15:51,000 --> 00:16:00,600 Jan Harlan was here around the end of June 1997 and took the masks 135 00:16:00,900 --> 00:16:08,500 which he had selected in our store. The first time was June 27, 1997, 136 00:16:08,800 --> 00:16:17,000 then July 4, 1997, and finally September 18, 1997. 137 00:16:18,400 --> 00:16:25,650 This is the invoice from the end of June 1997. This is Jan Harlan's signature, for goods received. 138 00:16:25,950 --> 00:16:36,000 Here, six masks and then at the beginning of July... and, right here other masks... 139 00:16:38,000 --> 00:16:44,550 Some masks had been part of our collection, others were decorated 140 00:16:44,850 --> 00:16:52,700 with specific requests. During these meetings, Jan Harlan also revealed to me 141 00:16:53,000 --> 00:17:01,800 the name of the film that 'Maestro' Kubrick was making. He told me that it was based on 142 00:17:02,100 --> 00:17:09,900 a story by Schnitzler, precisely "Dream Story", and that the title would be 143 00:17:10,200 --> 00:17:18,100 "Eyes Wide Shut". He told me then that he would have visited other ateliers 144 00:17:18,400 --> 00:17:22,600 because he was working with a group: he didn't go into specifics 145 00:17:22,900 --> 00:17:29,800 about what kind of group it was. He would have chosen even more masks here, 146 00:17:30,100 --> 00:17:37,900 but one would notice the lines and the styles of one single store 147 00:17:38,200 --> 00:17:42,550 if he had chosen everything here. This mask had the luck 148 00:17:42,850 --> 00:17:47,850 to have been chosen by Kubrick. 149 00:17:48,150 --> 00:18:03,500 But he wasn't here. I have to tell you another story in '85 and '86 150 00:18:05,400 --> 00:18:15,500 I was a client of this young couple, students. Josie was from London, and Karzan, her boyfriend, 151 00:18:15,800 --> 00:18:26,600 was Kurdish. We met one another through work. They decorated ceramics 152 00:18:26,900 --> 00:18:32,000 that they bought in Bassano, and then sold them around trying to pay their way 153 00:18:34,700 --> 00:18:41,600 through university. We struck up a friendship, respect, trust, etc. And we went on like this 154 00:18:41,900 --> 00:18:49,350 for a bit. At a certain point, however, Josie decided to go back to London. 155 00:18:49,650 --> 00:18:54,600 She went back to London, and they had the idea to open a shop in Camden Town. 156 00:18:55,800 --> 00:18:59,000 Once the store was open, they asked me if I could furnish it. Of course, 157 00:18:59,300 --> 00:19:04,050 I did it with extreme pleasure. So, I decorated with these masks. 158 00:19:04,350 --> 00:19:15,050 One lovely day, Josie phoned me, and she explained 159 00:19:15,350 --> 00:19:24,000 that a woman had come in to the shop, Marit Allen, asking for masks which 160 00:19:24,370 --> 00:19:33,700 would be in a film that Kubrick was to make or was making. And that probably 161 00:19:34,000 --> 00:19:38,350 there would be someone who would visit the shop in Venice to look at, or rather, to buy 162 00:19:38,650 --> 00:19:46,800 these masks. Here I met Jan Harlan. I had the contact with him. 163 00:19:47,100 --> 00:19:55,300 A nice person, fashionable, reserved. I remember a white "thing" -- his clothes 164 00:19:55,600 --> 00:20:02,200 were always white: either white or cream. His hair was maybe whiter than mine, I don't know... 165 00:20:04,800 --> 00:20:08,800 And I remember the presence of the person. However, I sincerely cannot focus it. 166 00:20:09,100 --> 00:20:18,600 Probably it was Marit Allen. They came here and they chose both the masks that 167 00:20:18,900 --> 00:20:27,250 I showed you before but also some others. For example, this one. For us, this 168 00:20:27,550 --> 00:20:32,850 is a tragic Pierrot: from the physical characteristics, more or less, you can see. The same 169 00:20:33,150 --> 00:20:40,850 technique of work. This mask was chosen as the "orgy master". This whole 170 00:20:41,090 --> 00:20:48,900 meeting happened around June or July of '97. I remember that coming back to 171 00:20:49,200 --> 00:20:57,300 Tom Cruise's mask, it came out that there was a problem, that the mask seemed 172 00:20:57,600 --> 00:21:05,100 to be bothering him because it was too small. This problem came out because probably 173 00:21:05,400 --> 00:21:10,750 Cruise wanted a mask that fit his face perfectly. This instead was a 174 00:21:11,050 --> 00:21:19,850 standard of a certain type. I was asked if I was available to go to England and 175 00:21:20,140 --> 00:21:26,000 produce a model to make a mask specifically for Tom Cruise. I told them my price. 176 00:21:29,000 --> 00:21:40,250 And Jan Harlan, I remember, phoned Kubrick, and at the end of the discussion, said: 177 00:21:40,550 --> 00:21:45,150 "Tom Cruise is a star, but I'll try to convince him to use this mask 178 00:21:45,450 --> 00:21:53,700 without resorting to a mask made specifically for him and that fits him to 179 00:21:54,000 --> 00:21:57,750 perfection." Because, in the end it was just fine but clearly 180 00:21:58,150 --> 00:22:02,500 there is a type of face that is great but another type, no. 181 00:22:08,500 --> 00:22:15,500 The person who was with Jan Harlan during the visit to Canavaccio Atelier in 1997 was Edda Del Greco and not the costume designer Marit Allen 182 00:22:15,500 --> 00:22:20,500 But this is just a little joke of Francesco Ceccamore's memory.