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Traumnovelle review
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Review of Traumnovelle

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This isn't so much a review as a comparison to Stanley Kubrick's film adaptation 'Eyes Wide Shut'.

With the exception of Vladimir Narbakov's Lolita, Stanley Kubrick was said to adapt the novels he thought weren't masterpieces in order to improve on them. This is arguably the case here, since Kubrick took many liberties with the source material to improve it from both a cinematic and storytelling perspective. Kubrick's changes turned an intriguing, but distant, short story into a nightmarish and haunting gothic mystery film.

Firstly, the pacing of Traumnovelle is one of its weaknesses. Kubrick's film Eyes Wide Shut is deliberately paced for the purpose of immersing the viewer into the protagonist's dreamlike state of mind. The film, although slow, creates a mood that is integral to appreciating it. In the novella, however, many of the film's most interesting details are skimmed and summarised which doesn't give the reader time to familiarise themselves with Fridolin or his surroundings. For example, two integral scenes in Kubrick's film, the confession of Albertina/Alice and Fridolin/Bill's discovery of the fate of Nachtigall/Nightingale after the masked ball, are both summarised less than several pages. This brevity doesn't allow the details to sink in.

Kubrick's addition of the party at the very beginning of the film added dimensions to the film absent from the novella. Mandy, the prostitute who Fridolin/Bill saves wakes up after she has passed out, had no incentive to warn Fridolin/Bill to leave the ritual in the novella. Kubrick's addition adds another dimension to the character. Ziegler also adds another dimension to the film that the novella lacks. Ziegler is the perfect representation of a seemingly polite yet powerful man who belongs to society's elite. The ambiguous denouement of Kubrick's film allows the mystery to linger so that the viewer is appropriately unnerved and contemplative. Finally, Alice/Albertina's flirtatious behaviour in the party scene prepares the viewer for the argument between Alice/Albertina and Fridolin/Bill in the following scene.

Ultimately, Dream Story is an intriguing novella, but pales in comparison to Kubrick's vivid, surreal and emotionally affecting cinematic wonder.
Added by sunset96
4 years ago on 23 February 2014 08:19

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