Brushing With the Elite
Bill and Alice go to a classy party given by Victor Ziegler, one of
Bill’s wealthy patients. Judging from Victor’s house, he is not
simply rich, he is part of the ultra-elite. While his party is very
elegant and is attended by highly cultured people, it doesn’t take
long for the viewers to realize that this facade hides a disgusting
dark side. Also, small details inserted by Kubrick hint to a link
between the party and the occult ritual that occurs later in the
When entering the party, the first thing we see is
this peculiar Christmas decoration. This eight-
pointed star is found throughout the house.
The star at Zeigler’s house is nearly identical to the
ancient symbol of the star of Ishtar.
Knowing Kubrick’s attention to detail, the inclusion of the star of
Ishtar in this party is not an accident. Ishtar is the Babylonian
goddess of fertility, love, war and, mostly, sexuality. Her cult
involved sacred prostitution and ritual acts – two elements we
clearly see later in the movie.
“Babylonians gave Ishtar offerings of food and drink on
Saturday. They then joined in ritual acts of lovemaking,
which in turn invoked Ishtar’s favor on the region and its
people to promote continued health and fruitfulness.”
- Goddess Ishtar, Anita Revel
Ishtar herself was considered to be the “courtesan of the gods” and
had many lovers. While inspired in bed, she was also cruel to the
men that got attached to her. These concepts will constantly
reappear in the movie, especially with Alice.
During the party, Bill and Alice go their separate ways and are
both faced with temptation. Alice meets a man named Sandor
Szavost who asks her about Ovid’s Art of Love. This series of
books, written during the times of Ancient Rome, was essentially a
“How to Cheat on Your Partner” guide, and was popular with the
elite of the time. The first book opens with an invocation to Venus
– the planet esoterically associated with lust. Interestingly enough,
Ishtar (and her equivalents in other Semetic cultures) was
considered to be the personification of Venus.
Sandor drinks from Alice’s glass. This trick is taken
right out of Ovid’s The Art of Love. It sends Alice a
message that is not very subliminal:“I want to
exchange fluids with you”.
Sandor’s name might be a reference to the founder of the Church of
Satan: Anton Szandor Lavey. Is this Kubrick’s way of saying that
this man, who urges Alice to cheat on her husband, is a part of the
occult elite and its decadent ways? The Hungarian man is
apparently skilled in neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) as he
nearly hypnotizes Alice with well calculated phrases about the
futility of married life and the necessity of pursuing pleasure.
Meanwhile, Bill is discussing with two flirtatious models who tell
him that they want to take him to “where the rainbow ends”. While
the meaning of this enigmatic phrase is never explicitly explained
in the movie, symbols talk for themselves. http://vigilantcitizen.com/moviesandtv/the-hi...