Go to Table of Contents of the analysis (which has also a statement on purpose and manner of analysis and a disclaimer as to caveat emptor and my knowing anything authoritatively, which I do not, but I do try to not know earnestly, with some discretion, and considerable thought).
There I was innocently watching Roger Vadim's 1962 film, Le Repos du Guerrier (Rest of the Warrior), retitled Love on a Pillow for the American audience, and this happens.
Bardot plays Genevieve, a woman who has received a considerable inheritance and travels from her Paris home to a small town for the settlement. At a hotel, she is given her key to room 10 (dix). She has misheard and attempts to enter room 6 (six). The key ends up working for it. In room 6 she stumbles upon a man who has attempted suicide by overdose. He is Renaud (Robert Hossein), who fought in the resistance in France in WWII and has become a poor, disillusioned existentialist, and poetically and artistically inclined alcoholic. Saving his life, she falls in love with him promptly. He loves her but doesn't want to believe in love, thus they are as two warriors on a battlefield of love. Genevieve and a sculptor friend of Renaud's, who he had fought with in the Resistance, believe Renaud needs to find something to do. A mission. He seems to finally agree with them. He will write a book. Genevieve happily runs to set up her desk for him. No, says Renaud. He needs instead a table at which to write his book. Such as the big table that Genevieve goes out and buys for him. A great big table is exactly what he needs.
I'm an author. I think, "Yes, a big table is great to write at. I have a good size falling-apart 1950s desk and the surface is packed full with books and stuff. A big table would be great if you have the room. Isn't it funny, though, that the big writing table in this Vadim film gives off a The Shining vibe? But never mind because big tables are great to write at."
Both Renaud's and Jack's work areas are expansive wood tables rather than desks. They make a statement with the room they take up, but neither surface is actually ever crammed with reference and sundry materials.
Renaud works tirelessly at his book, as does Jack. When Genevieve comes home from shopping, she sees him at work and leaves him alone. She is apparently not to look at the book until he is done. When he says he is nearly completed with it she decides to sneak a peak. We look over her shoulder as she reads, in surprise, that the first page is only the single repeated sentence, "The lady went out at 5 o'clock." The rest of the pages are blank.
Well, well. Looks like there was a good reason I felt that table had a The Shining vibe. Both movies have the novel that is composed of only one repeating sentence. In both movies this is a shock as the writer has been presented as working so diligently.
Renaud, taunting, asks Genevieve if she is ready now to give up on him. She goes ballistic and tears up the room.
After some particularly heinous abuse, they soon thereafter kind of break up for a few days. But Renaud had rescued Genevieve from a bourgeoise existence, introduced her to deep thoughts, and Vadim has a soft focus fairy tale shot of Genevieve happily running through gardens with maze-like high hedges, she glorying in knowing who she is, happy with herself.
This grandiose, sculpted-hedge garden is to be compared with the hedge maze in The Shining.
After this, unable to deny love any longer, Renaud reappears and surrenders to Genevieve in a very dramatic, romantic scene in the great ruins of a church. Le repos du guerrier. The warrior rests. The soldier ceases fighting the war that has plagued him.
Love on a Pillow is an entirely different film from The Shining, but I was amazed when my thinking "The emphasis on that great big table has a The Shining vibe" was shortly answered with Renaud's novel being only the repeated lines, "The lady goes out at 5 o'clock". And then eventually there was the scene of Bardot running through a spectacular maze-like garden.
The ending of the film manages to be cheesy glorious. The two warriors stand opposite one another within the open ruins of a cathedral. The wind is howling. Renaud is returning to Genevieve, saying love has won, and she is willing to take him back though we know she shouldn't because Vadim is a heel.
Before continuing, I want to say that though the film is a melodrama and problematic, the sets and locations are fantastic, and Bardot is good. She's not as good as in Godard's Le Mepris but she's good. The ending is so out-of-left-field, It's worth watching all the way through just for the wind that assails the concluding scene. Plus, the theme music for the film, derived from Bach's Mache dich, mein Herze, rein, belonging to the St. Matthew Passion, plays throughout the end scene and for a baroque music fan like me it's just plain wonderful. They could just be showing blank, black screen and I'd be good with it.
I'm winding us around to why the movie's American name is Love on a Pillow, so stick with me here.
In 1968, Michael Magne's theme for Le Repos du Guerrier/Love on a Pillow, with lyrics by Eddy Marnay added, became Cent Mille Chansons, sung by Frida Boccara.
"There will be one hundred thousand songs
When will the time of the hundred thousand seasons come
One hundred thousand lovers
Like us both
In the blue bed of the earth
One hundred thousand songs just for us
One hundred thousand horizons in front of us..."
Connoting the uniting of secular and sacred love, Cent Mille Chansons pictures time burying untold numbers of lovers in the bed of the earth, while the St. Matthew Passion concerns the entombment of Christ. There is no terror, no rolling away of the stone and Christ's resurrection, for the burial is within one. The Mache dich, mein Herze, rein aria, "Make yourself pure, my heart", has Joseph of Arimathea preparing himself to bury Jesus, whose followers are depicted in an intimate relationship with him, his entombment being within their hearts. "I want to bury Jesus myself. For from now on he shall have in me, forever and ever, his sweet rest. World, get out, let Jesus in!" We find in this the same plea made by the warrior wanting rest. In the final chorus, the exhausted are called to rest on Christ's pillow, his tomb. "We sit down with ears and call to you in the grave: rest gently, gently rest! Rest, you exhausted limbs! Rest gently, rest well. Your grave and headstone shall, for the anxious conscience, be a comfortable pillow and the resting place for the soul. Rest gently, gently rest! Highly contented, there the eyes fall asleep." Thus, the title, Love on a Pillow. And thus the reason for the Vadim film ending with the couple meeting in the ruins of a church, a sacred space.
Below is a poor quality clip from the film's end.
Below is a better quality upload of the theme.
Kubrick has, sometimes, discreet references to other films that, as far, as I can tell, are not just an homage but are used to incorporate subtext via his referencing these other works. Often enough, the viewer isn't going to know about this, so, as it can be with Kubrick, this exists for himself and the art alone, and that is legitimate, or, if obvious enough, a dialogue between directors may be formed, or at least between works of art, which isn't unusual in the arts.
Often enough, when Kubrick is referencing another film, he incorporates several elements from it, and we have this case with the repeated sentence in The Shining, in which a reference seems to be made to Roger Vadim's Le Repos Du Guerrier.
The repeated sentence in isolation I would have taken as a coincidence. The large table alone I would have taken as a coincidence. The two put together makes me think this is not a coincidence.
Vadim's movie was based on a book by Christiane Rochefort. Following is a description of the book from the website Books and Writers:
Warrior's Rest is an anarchistic and sadomasochistic story, based partly on Orpheus and Eurydice. It concerns Geneviève Le Theil, a young Parisienne, and Jean-Renaud Sarti. Renaud is an alcoholic former soldier, he has lost his hope after the bombing of Hiroshima. Ten years later he tries to kill himself in a small-city hotel. Geneviève finds him accidentally, saves his life and becomes Renaud's lover, having with him her first orgasms. Renaud is violent, he beats her and separates her from her family and friends. They travel to Switzerland and Italy. She is going to have a child by him and Renaud wants to marry her. He insists on trying to rehabilitate himself by going to the clinic he calls the Great Washing Machine. Rochefort herself identified with Renaud, the male antihero, not with Geneviève or Rafaële, to whom Geneviève is attracted.
A 1979 article, New Perspectives on Rochefort's Warrior, states that Genevieve is given the choice of either responding to the abuse as a "real woman" and patiently mending the abuser with love, or believing she is herself mad to be involved with Renaud, deriving pleasure from some of his cruelties. When Genevieve is made ill by Renaud's abusiveness, he decides to reform. Genevieve should be happy but instead she is disappointed by looming middle-class conformity and doesn't understand this. She is reassured however, that she was right to stick by Renaud, for she saved him in the end.
Another description of the book, by Pamela Fries Paine states Genevieve understands she has murdered Renaud, the poet and artist, by demanding he go to a clinic and stop drinking.
Pamela's paper reveals that Renaud is a pseudo-writer, and that the only thing he writes for his novel, the sentence that is repeated several times on a single page, is indeed, as in the movie, "la marquise sortit à cinq heures".
Eventually I decided to purchase the novel and, before writing further on the influence of this film on Kubrick, see if there was anything in Genevieve's book that may not have made it into Vadim's film that might assist in comprehending why Kubrick chose to lift the table and the novel composed of a single, repeated sentence and transport these things into The Shining. I had to read it in English, as I let my French lapse years ago, which is going to hamper my ability to sort through some of the ambiguities of the novel, but Renaud is far more abusive, both emotionally and physically, in the book than in the film, and this abuse can't be reduced to Renaud waking Genevieve from a bourgeoisie torpor. We can't ignore, also, that her inheritance is such that Genevieve provides Renaud an easy life style that enables him to procure all the alcohol and prostitutes he desires. They meet through Genevieve finding Renaud when he attempts suicide, but in the book Renaud seizes upon her, insisting she is now responsible for his life, and seems intent on punishing her for saving him, which she accepts as a matter of fate--she had chosen one hotel over another and thus had found Renaud, she had accidentally used her key to enter his room and prevented his death, they were thus supposed to meet. Like a classic abuser, Renaud alienates her from her former life, her friends, her family, so that her former sense of identity evaporates and reconstellates around him. Their relationship is largely sexual, almost exclusively so in the first half of the book, during which time Renaud denies information on himself and his past to Genevieve, and so controls their activities to the extent that, other than Renaud reading detective novels, they have almost no lives at all beyond sex and alcohol. During this time, Renaud pressures Genevieve into sexual activities which she first finds abhorrent and in which she doesn't want to be involved, but eventually counts herself as a willing participant. She had tuberculosis as a youth, and Renaud's influence on her excites real concern in Genevieve's friends and her doctor, once they realize what is going on, for she is not only mentally and emotionally destabilized, her physical health is compromised as well, which Renaud ignores until she is hospitalized. In the second half of the book, after Genevieve's illness, Renaud allows a broadening of their horizons, during which Genevieve learns that he was once counted as an important up-and-coming intellectual and prospective author. In the movie, Vadim built up sympathy for Renaud by depicting him as a fighter with the French Resistance who ostensibly is suffering an existential crisis from what is now called PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and a sculptor comrade of his befriends Genevieve and attempts, with her, to reintegrate and reinvigorate Renaud by compelling him to write a novel. In Rochefort's book, Renaud may be experiencing existential angst after the war, but the artist is instead met through a friend of Genevieve's, Renaud permitting an intense investment in the friendship as the sculptor's lover is given as in some respects a female doppelganger of Renaud. The book that Renaud decides to write is instead taken on as his alcoholism is expensive and is having a serious impact on Genevieve's funds. But he also calls her a whore for this, punches her a few times, and essentially rapes her.
As if Renaud's abuse of Genevieve isn't loathsome enough, in the second part of the book, when they take up traveling, Renaud focuses on targeting strangers for possible sexual adventures. One of these is a prepubescent girl who he says will never be so beautiful again and that now is the time to "take her". Only fear of the law stops him, and the fact she's strictly guarded. He says the favorable circumstances required to assault her are found only in families. He then focuses his attention on a fifteen-year-old monk but the book isn't clear if he pursues the boy. As Genevieve says, Renaud likes to simply shock her, so we don't know if Renaud has real intent or if he's just further abusing Genevieve.
Genevieve's father has died and she lives in his apartment, refusing to get rid of anything in it, to even move the furniture around, she and Renaud sleeping in her father's bed which Renaud enjoys as, like Genevieve's father, he is tall and Genevieve's father had the bed custom made to accomodate his height. She is surrounded by her father's things that she has adopted as her own, so one could hazard she has not explored her own personality and desires. Her father and mother were divorced and her mother despised him for his faithlessness. Into her father's shell, Genevieve brings Renaud, who fits the bed just right. She leaves her fiancee for Renaud, and the moment she does so, dependent wholly now on Renaud, he threatens to leave her if she does not do exactly as he desires. Rochefort, with the bed, intentionally likens Renaud to Genevieve's father (we should then wonder about Renaud's comment that it's in the family that the right circumstances are supplied for sexual abuse of children), but Rochefort also makes him a child. When Genevieve rescued Renaud she had been planning to set up an orphanage with a friend, having been told by her doctor she shouldn't become pregnant because of her earlier tuberculosis. Renaud becomes, in a sense, the orphan she tends. At the end of the book she becomes pregnant, which is when she finally takes up for herself and demands he quit abusing her. Why? Because of her worry for the child she's bearing.
The history of Genevieve and Renaud is related in the first person by Genevieve, an unreliable narrator, and it's difficult to assess her truth, but from the literature I've read on Rochefort, I have to believe she is more sympathetic with Renaud than Genevieve, and sees Genevieve as a willing masochist in a largely consensual relationship. At the end of the novel, as Renaud enters a facility for treatment, it is actually Rochefort who sees him as dying to himself with an acceptance of Genevieve's bourgeois life. He loses his freedom, which is death. However, in the novel, as in Vadim's film, Renaud is, by the end, also literally begging Genevieve to restore his humanity, to restore him to the human race, to make him able to live again, and his entering treatment is part of that process.
Kubrick's The Shining is a story of class conflict, and Rochefort has this also embedded in her book. If we look at Le Repos du Guerrier in this light, she perhaps intended Genevieve to be seen as the elite revitalizing itself through the intellectual working class, and reforming them to their pleasure, or ultimately discarding them when they have gotten all they want out of them. Rochefort gave herself as both a leftist and a feminist. In a 1979 interview she spoke about how the French had a long-standing problem with feminists and had a history of turning against them and killing them. She said "The French are extremely sexist. They are feudal and well organized for oppression." Learning this about Rochefort, if one feels that there's a lot of victim blaming going on in Rochefort's novel, in that Genevieve is presented as benefiting from Renaud's abuse and rationalizing she desires and deserves it, then maybe one might feel they need to reread and see how this all must be reinterpreted and examine instead how the abuse is ironic, is metaphor, and it's instead a feminist, leftist novel? Well, think again, because Rochefort addresses the relationship of Genevieve and Renaud in that interview.
Q. Do you feel that sexual liberation is a very important aspect of your work? For example, Genevieve in Le Repos du guerrier is freed through an intense sexual experience.
A. Not many saw this point. It was a kind of mystic initiation for Genevieve--a quest through sexuality, not through love.
Q. Do you see Renaud as a positive character?
A. He's a symbol of the political despair of the fifties. He's a dropout, which is positive for me. He is the advanced one, and she is the petite bourgeoise. She has in her head schemes of eternal love and eventually of marriage. Maybe she destroys Renaud by wanting to integrate him: "you must do something in life, you must conform." She sends him to the clinic for detoxification, and it is like a murder. She understands that she has killed him as a poet, as a dropout, as a free person. But I know that she doesn't really kill him because, of course, he will leave the clinic and drink again. It is not a question of good character and an evil one. Renaud is not such a bad person. Of course, he's an alcoholic. You can't live with such a man--he's an oppressor. He does break her bourgeois mental structures, but he breaks them with the oppressor's style. Theirs is a kind of mystical fight, in my opinion.
Rochefort acknowledges that Renaud is an oppressor, but she views the relationship as oppressor against oppressor, with Renaud as the lesser oppressor and "not so bad". It's a mystic fight.
Let's examine how Renaud is not so bad. From the book:
With a vigor that bordered on the systematic, on military strategy, he destroyed my solidly constructed defenses one by one, like an engine of war. If he detected a fear in my eyes, an incipient flight, a wince, that was where he would direct his attack, and fight till I surrendered. My surrender had to be unconditional. Nothing spurred him on like a quivering, "no"; aa "no" was only something that had to be changed into a "yes". My God, how could there be so many "noes" in a woman's body! What a limited view I'd had! "Young lady with principles, come here." A principle had to be besieged. For him, modesty meant something hidden. If I resisted too much he would give up with a contemptuous indifference that was more painful to me than his most painful enterprises, and go back to reading Peter Cheyney. I felt lost, dismissed for impotence, ashamed; I'd have to take the first step and tenderly offer what I'd refused...
In this "mystic" fight, Genevieve loses any ability to protect herself.
He occasionally hit me, that goes without saying. Slaps, mainly. Punches were less frequent. He liked to slap my face sometimes with the flat of his hand, sometimes, when he was really feeling vicious, with the back of it. Backhand slaps hurt. But I don't want to exaggerate: they only hurt for a moment, and afterward there's a little bruise: objectively, a slap doesn't amount to much, and I was becoming objective, I had to. The greatest damage is to the pride--but my pride!...I didn't even feel it any more. What I felt was that he "liked" to slap me; not out of sadism, on the contrary: it was a queer form of familiarity, of intimacy. Strange, but true. He knew very well I wouldn't have let anyone else do it. It was his privilege. I didn't even protect my face: I didn't have that reflex. I had to take everything. It was part of an indivisible whole that also included dizzy heights of pleasure. I would have paid even more for them.
The slaps were actually the least painful part of it. I had no effort to make, nothing to surmount, all I had to do was receive them; it was almost restful, in fact, I was becoming anesthetized. I felt almost nothing. Something I'd go into the bathroom and vomit a little: as the Romands did during their banquets, so that they could go on swallowing delicacies, each one with a new taste.
When Genevieve says she is worried about all the money they're spending, and Renaud consents to write a book, he makes this into a lesson as well.
"...So why not a detective story? A detective story for a woman's petticoats? Come here."
I went over to him. All at once he grabbed me by the hair.
"Whore!" he said.
He pushed me away so hard that I fell. He leaped forward, caught me, stretched me out on the bed, and covered my face with kisses, "Did you hurt yourself? Did I hurt you?" I didn't know. I still hadn't gotten used to his about-faces.
"It's your own fault," he said. "If you're going to be a hypocrite, do a better job of it. Next time control your expressions in every detail: do you think I didn't see you gloating? Gloating! Dirty little bitch."
He finished off his bottle, took me like a brute, and tore my Chantilly lace petticoat.
"There," he said. "Now I'll have to replace it, it's my duty; that's the position I wanted to put myself in."
"No!" I cried. "No! I'd rather go naked!"
"Come, come. It's not true. You'd rather have me write a detective story, and I'll do it."
Renaud couldn't stand his own kindness; he couldn't give anyone a cookie unless it was soaked with vinegar.
"There's a Renaud who loves you," he said, "and one who detests you. The truth is that I detest the one who loves you."
Rochefort may call herself a feminist, she may say Renaud is also an oppressor, but she also represents Renaud's abuse, his continual assaults on Genevieve, breaking her resistance down, as the essential path to her "mystic" awakening. She excuses Renaud's violence as a necessary means to an end.
If Kubrick did read the novel (and I believe he did) I was wondering if he could envision in it something of an additional back story to Wendy and Jack that would suit his purposes--perhaps he could see Jack as someone who might have been in crisis when he met Wendy, she had rescued him, had faith in his promise as a writer whereas he did not, and in order to cloak his failings he would torture her for belief in him, her attempts at redemptive faith in him. The beautiful Bardot, in Vadim's film, is more what King would have wanted in The Shining. As I've noted previously, Vadim's Renaud is presented through a rather romantic filter that glosses over the extent of the abusiveness in the novel, and I wonder if with Kubrick's reference to the film doesn't come a subtle rebuke to this brand of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale (Cupid and Psyche, ultimately) in which Beauty suffers for the Beast and through her suffering is he ultimately redeemed. For there is no romance to The Shining and Jack is purely lethal. in the book, we are left not knowing what Renaud would be like in the future as the pregnant Genevieve seems to leave him, in a position of recovery. In her 1979 interview, Rochefort supplies us a view of their future--and that future has Renaud eventually drinking again when he leaves the clinic. Vadim's film presents them as staying together, Renaud having reformed. One can imagine that Kubrick viewed The Shining as re-examining the life of such a couple. Renaud, like Jack, promises he'll stop drinking. They have a child. They live a middle-class life. But Renaud has not resolved his problems. Neither has Jack. He drinks again. He blames his bitterness, his failures, on Wendy and Danny. 93% of women who are killed by men know their murderer. No matter what Wendy does, she never will be good enough, she will always be at fault. Kubrick appropriately shows us the horror of abuse. He does not excuse it as an aphrodisiac. He doesn't represent the alcoholic as, however hobbled they are by alcohol, implicitly, necessarily "free" and anti-bourgeoise.
Kubrick may have found attractive that Rochefort's novel has as a theme the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice, a myth Kubrick referenced in his Killer's Kiss, not only by plot, but using a negative technique that Cocteau had employed in his film Orphee. In both films, the negative image is used when crossing over into the underworld. If there is a Eurydice and Orpheus in The Shining, though, I'd be hard pressed to say who they might be, unless Eurydice is the woman who rises out of the bathtub and is revealed to be death. In Rochefort's novel, the myth is not only inferred, it's discussed, and Gluck's Orphee, which Cocteau briefly used in his film, is mentioned. Renaud comes up with an idea for an opera in which Genevieve-Eurydice would seek to find the pieces of Renaud-Orpheus, dismembered by the Bacchae, and bring him back to life, and of course we can see in this Genevieve's rescue of Renaud and her attempts thereafter to make him enjoy life.
When did Renaud die?
Renaud tells a story, in the book, about it being August 6, 1945, he has put his hand on the doorknob to go to a "cell" meeting, but then he instead goes to a bar. This is the day Hiroshima was bombed, which is what's being referred to here and how it transformed his world. It's unclear what this "cell" meeting might be. A political meeting? A meeting of the French Resistance? Though the novel never states Renaud was in the French Resistance, the repeated sentence in Renaud's "novel" curiously has in it a word that was close to one used by the Resistance. La marquise sortit à cinq heures. One wonders why this sentence? The Maquis are given, by Wikipedia, has having been rural guerilla bands of French Resistance fighters. The word maquis relates to the idea of "the bush" and that these fighters went into the mountains in order to escape Compulsory Work Service and in order to fight from there. The etymology for marquis also brings up the idea of the outlier, as it means a frontier, a border area, and so eventually a marquis as a ruler or military governor of a border province. And while "sortie" does mean to exit, it is also an attack made by troops from a besieged position. If we return to the beginning of the book, we find Genevieve going out at five o'clock twice associated with Genevieve's inheritance and becoming a rich woman. The first instance reads, "J'en sortis à cinq heures." The evening she finds Renaud has overdosed, an hour before, at five o'clock Genevieve leaves the lawyer's office a woman of extreme financial privilege, with property, who would not have to work the rest of her life unless she desired to do so. She considers the orphanage she would set up. In the meanwhile, Renaud has overdosed and waits to be rescued by her, and promptly primes her for abuse even as he calls her his angel. At the end of the book, when she discovers Renaud's "novel", is when they have their last fight, or the lack of one. Genevieve realizes the only purpose of the novel is ito provoke her, a trap. Renaud assails her, demands she call him washed up, and accuses her of being bourgeoise in refusing the truth by not doing so. She will not give him what he wants, she won't say he's a failure. Then when he begins to physically assault her, and she feels her child endangered, she says never again. He is never to abuse her again. He sees she means it and deflates, realizing he is no longer the center of her life. Though the end of the book has the two marrying and he entering the clinic for his cure, if we return to its beginning the opening paragraph has her claiming victory, that she can't look back at ruins, she will leave Renaud as he has left himself, and will continue on with life having attained what she wanted. We can assume she may mean the pregnancy. Then the rest of the novel is related in a flashback.
It seems significant the way that the repeated sentence of the woman exiting cycles back around to the beginning when Genevieve is about to stumble onto Renaud, rescue him, and enter their abusive relationship, as she now puts an end to the abuse. The novel ends with Genevieve's thoughts on Renaud as he enters treatment, seeing him as losing his freedom, his personal identity, but we aren't given any sense of her thinking of leaving him at this point, and the reader has likely forgotten the opening paragraph of the book in which she announces she is leaving him even before the story has begun.
If we on one level view the repeated sentence as an inability to write, to move on from that first sentence, to learn more about this we need to look back to Renaud's August 6, 1945 story, which is from a book he had previously begun but gave up on, and see how it relates to this repetitive novel.
He took out a sheet of paper...
"On August 6, 1945, at eight seventeen in the morning, there was a big, magnificent sun in the sky: in Honolulu, Graham van Catin, on vacation, was washing his feet in the pool and reading the petroleum news in the financial section of Superman; in Douglas, a farmer's happy wife had just brought a set of triplets into the world, and the father of the three little condemned creatures wet for joy as he thought of the family allotment he was going to receive from the government; in London, a man, alson condemned to death, was sleeplessly awaiting the dawn that would see him hanged; in Kayamayana, a nine-year-old girl was being married to her grandfather, according to custom;, to perpetuate the race; in Paris, someone was saying 'I love you' to someone, and I was joyfully going to my cell meeting. With my hand on the doorknob, I looked up at the sky; there were stars, for it was August; one of them, in fact, shot right past my nose. I didn't have time to make a wish; anyway, what wish could I have made? I was a man who took care of his own destiny and that of the world to boot, or vice versa, if you prefer, and it comes to the same thing, I was a monist. Nevertheless, I didn't turn the doorknob that opened onto singing tomorrow; I suddenly heard no tomorrow singing, they had all become silent, and a force which was not, I swear, McCarthy, immobilized my right arm. It was the first attack of the rheumatism that was later to carry me away. To begin with, it carried me away to the nearest bistro, where I ordered a pastis. That was my first one. It was followed by another, then a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand others, and here I am, Lord....'"
The August 6, 1945 story freezes not just on a single moment for him, but wants to incorporate the experience of the world at that very second. It might help to know that a famous French song from 1802 was titled Tableau de Paris à cinq heures du matin, and that it was intended to capture everything that was occurring around Paris at five o'clock, which is so overwhelming for the composer to consider, all of Paris awakening, that he is terrified and the song ends with him wanting only to return to bed. In Renaud's story, the variety of experience is related in coincidence with, in Japanese time, approximately when the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, and he is so overwhelmed that the future is stalled and replaced with over a hundred thousand drinks. If we know only Kubrick's version of this then we find in his "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" the theme of deja vu, of anamnesis, of the Eternal Return that is throughout his work. If we return to the novel, we see that this 5 o'clock repetition is, indeed, hinged on a catastrophic experience that annihilates the future, Renaud is stuck, but we also have an overwhelming variety of experience, an experience of the universal during a catastrophic moment, hat is followed by the deja vu of the alcoholic's drink after drink after drink.
A "tableau" may be a painting but it derives from "table", which is...a table, such as what Renaud chooses for his writing surface, and is called such in the book.
Is there some hint of the 5 o'clock retained in Kubrick's film? Perhaps?
STUART: By 5 o'clock tonight, you'll never know anybody was ever here.
WENDY: Just like a ghost ship, huh.
Then the final section of the film is called "4 o'clock", so we may assume the action begins at that time, and that Wendy and Danny may drive away from The Overlook at about 5 o'clock, Jack trapped in the labyrinth, and the last view we have is of the veritable ghost shop of The Overlook, its furnishings draped.
But back to the desk, the repeated sentence, and the labyrinth. If there is anything that might convince me Kubrick may have read the book as well, it's the close relationship in the novel of the labyrinthine to Renaud's desk and the manuscript with the repeated sentence.
He wandered in a glass labyrinth, got lost in it, couldn't find his way out; his path was a deflection from a forgotten point to a forgotten point, a curve that had lost its end and couldn't get back to its beginning.
Three pages later, when Renaud has gone out on one of his "false" escapades that can never take him very far away as he's caught in that labyrinth and doesn't know where he is or where he's going, his world all alcohol, bitter hatred and despair, is when Genevieve sneaks her peak of Renaud's manuscript. The labyrinth, this long "desk" (which was so long in the book they had to rearrange the furniture in the bedroom in order for it to fit in, the desk being in the bedroom as it needed to be close to the bed, Renaud not having the motivation to move from the bed to another room to write), this repeated sentence that's followed by the argument in which an abused woman stands up to her partner's violence for sake of her child, these are not things in King's book, they are all from Rochefort and Vadim, and they are absolutely critical to Kubrick's version of The Shining. Without that repeated phrase, we don't have Wendy's awakening and the point where a flip in power occurs when Wendy protects herself and Danny by taking a bat to Jack's head. We don't have Kubrick's The Shining.
Approx 6200 words or 13 single-spaced pages. A 48 minute read at 130 wpm. First posted October 2018. Updated Feb 2020 after reading the novel.