Eyes Wide Shut was directed, produced and co-written by Stanley Kubrick in 1999. Starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, Eyes Wide Shut was Kubrick’s legendary final film as he died only five days after showing the final cut of the film to Warner Bro’s. It is a spectacularly dark movie, following the main character around almost as if you’re being pulled through a disturbing dream with him. Though admittedly not for everyone, if you’re comfortable with obscene amounts of full frontal nudity, and you enjoyed Kubrick’s other popular films (such as Clockwork Orange, Lolita and The Shining), where the ending never fully resolves, you will probably enjoy Eyes Wide Shut.

Eyes Wide Shut Movie

Though not strictly a theatre or cinema, Focal Point Gallery does an excellent job at screening films with their bare gallery rooms, usually containing artwork on display. There couldn’t have been more than a dozen others watching the film with me. It was an intimate environment, beanbags strewn across the hard wood floor with the film projecting clearly onto one of the blank white walls floor to ceiling. It was a unique experience and rather different to when I watched Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita at the Stanley Kubrick 2012 world exhibition at the Eye Film in Amsterdam. There, it had a very upper-class atmosphere to the whole film screening, watching Lolita on a big screen with glasses of wine, lounging in our big “executive” theatre seats.

I turned up five minute late to the film last night, first finding myself standing confused in a completely different room alone and in the dark. I finally bumped into someone in the corridor who pointed me in the right direction and as he did he offered me a beer. I declined. I know how cinemas work! £5 for a small bottle of beer? No, thank you. It was only after the movie had ended that I realised they were being shared for free. I felt dumb. Free film? Free beer? What is this? Heaven?

Eyes Wide Shut Stanley Kubrick

All in all, I think this would make for an amazing recurring event. Some sort of underground, elite film club. Where we all don black hooded cloaks and creepy masks like in Eyes Wide Shut. But we’re only there to watch cult films (but not necessarily films about cults). And nothing else.

I’m surprised how very few people even know that the Forum exists. Though it’s still a relatively new building I suppose, it feels a bit hidden sitting there seconds away from the high street. Which is a shame as it’s a fantastic looking building that really reflects Southend’s modernisation over the past couple years when it comes to new buildings and attractions. Hopefully with more, dare I say it, “mainstream” events and heavy promotion, the Forum will get the recognition it deserves and become more of a landmark for Southend-on-Sea.

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