What are the Eyes wide shut masks?

Worldwide known as one of Stanley Kubrick’s best movies, Eyes wide shut mask is considered one of the sexiest and most transgressive ones, representing a story where reality and fantasy are mixed. Certainly, one of the keys to the success of the movie are the beautiful Venetian masks largely used by the main characters: these masks have become an icon of the movie up to the present day!

But what is the meaning behind these masks and how are they made? Let’s find out all about them!

The story behind Eyes wide shut masks

Actually, one of the things that made Eyes wide shut so unforgettable was the use of so many beautiful Venetian masks. They add to the atmosphere and characters that touch of mystery and elegance that made the movie so intriguing!

Eyes wide shut masks are all Venetian masks and some of them come from the traditional Carnival of Venice! For instance, in the movie, it is possible to recognize the Plague doctor mask which refers to the Great plague that hit Venice in 1630, or the Jolly mask which represents the folly and fun of this character. Other masks displayed in the movie are more recent or were made on purpose for the film production.
But as we know in the movie there are some masks that are considered iconic and unique because they are worn by the main characters. So, what are these masks in Eyes Wide Shut called?
Well, there are three main masks displayed in the movie: Bill’s mask who is also the protagonist, the Pierrot mask, which is the one worn by the ceremony master, and the Feathered mask, worn by the mysterious woman who guides the protagonist at the masquerade event.

Have a look at some of our traditional Venetian masks to get a better idea!

Jolly René Tips in Papier-Mache


The workhorse of our workshop, the jolly face recalls the jesters always present in the noble Venetian palaces that according to their dress and their hairstyle changed their way of entertaining the nobles and their guests.

Plague Doctor Mask Paul


Plague doctor mask.Paul, with the traditional decorations of the Venetian carnival, chess, stucco and gold leaf. Made entirely by hand, it is 100% Made in Italy certified.

How are the Eyes wide shut masks made and what is their meaning?

Most Eyes wide shut masks are made following the Venetian traditional mask-making process: they are crafted using paper-mache to model the features of the face and enriched with precious materials to decorate the mask’s surface, like gold and silver layers.

The design of each mask in the movie is unique and intends to highlight the character’s psychology. Let’s have a look at the three main mask features!

The protagonist’s mask (Bill Harford, interpreted by Tom Cruise) is a Venetian mask that covers the entire face. The lower part is made of paper-mache, while the upper one shows an intricate floral design, enriched by gold layers and small gems. This mask with its ambiguous smile represents the uncertainty and contradiction of the protagonist himself.

The Pierrot mask is the one worn by the ceremony master. The original mask comes from “Commedia dell’Arte” the Italian Comedy of Art, and the one displayed in the movie is a kind of “tragic” version, intending to highlight the mysterious and tragic psychology of this character.

Finally, the Feathered mask that is worn by the woman who guides the protagonist is a beautiful and characteristic mask of the Carnival of Venice. It is often chosen by women who want to hide their identity and show their sensuality and elegance at one time!

Have a look at our feathered masks to find inspiration!

Lastly, we would like to answer one of the main questions that occur in this movie.

What actually does the phrase “eyes wide shut” mean?

Well, the meaning of this phrase is of someone who refuses to see something even if it stands before their very eyes. This is because of their prejudice about how things should be. For instance, in the movie, Bill refuses to see that his wife can have licentious thoughts for other men. That is therefore the meaning behind the Eyes wide shut movie.