Many movie directors have mastered a genre or two. Alfred Hitchcock is probably one of the five greatest directors of all time, with thrillers being his primary claim to fame. George Lucas was the king of science fiction ever since the release of Star Wars. James Cameron and Spielberg are known for their grand film-making techniques and for the wonderful visuals. Anyone, who has the minimum knowledge about movies can probably name some films of these directors. But, not many people, are aware of the genius 'Stanley Kubrick,' who explored human mind and its darkness, in various genres.
Modern History is built by the progress of mankind. Kubrick's interpretation of history explored the darkness of modern life, with regard to the human frailty. The sinister ways of human mind is consistent whether Kubrick is exploring the future("2001: Space Odyssey", 1968), the past("Barry Lyndon", 1975), or the present("Eyes Wide Shut", 1999).
Although Kubrick made few films in a career that spanned over 45 years, each of those films had an enduring impact. Kubrick's reputation among film-makers and film enthusiasts has grown to the point where he today occupies a kind of exclusive place, reserved only for the gods of film-making, whomever they may be. So, what made his work compelling and influential for the film-makers and viewers around the world.
In his career Kubrick often devoted himself to films about war, such as 'Paths of Glory' (1957), 'Dr.Strangelove' (1964), 'Full Metal Jacket' (1987) ; fables about human nature such as 'Lolita' (1962), 'A Clockwork Orange' (1971), and 'Eyes Wide Shut' (1999) ; and genre films -- crime films such as 'The Killing' (1956), 'horror films such as 'The Shining' (1980), Sci-fi films such as '2001: A Space Odyssey' (1968), and epics such as 'Spartacus' (1960), and 'Barry Lyndon' (1975). What all these films have in common beyond their ambition, is a focus on the dark side of human nature. To cope with the darkness, Kubrick used humor. In his narrative, loss is certain for a character, spiritual or may be physical. To articulate this loss Kubrick tended to focus on a particular human failing in each of his films.
Kubrick And Metaphors
Each of his movie's sequences are a visual metaphor. Perhaps there is no other Kubrick scene as famous as the ape triumphantly throwing his bone weapon into the air, after which the camera cuts into a space station in outer space, continuing the movement from millions of years later.
The circular tracking shot of a master sergeant inspecting and humiliating his raw recruits in "Full Metal Jacket." Yet another example of the metaphor is Alex's beating of his male victim to the melodic sound of 'Singing In The Rain' in the movie "A Clockwork Orange." What is striking in each case is that, the metaphor drips with irony.
In the victorious toss of the bone in "Space Odyssey", the metaphor is all about technology and progress. In 'Full Metal Jacket', the master sergeant is in charge of creating killing machines. This is his stated purpose, and in this scene he begins to find out who will and who will not become killing machines. The metaphor is the difference between the military values and societal values. The last example of "A Clockwork Orange", is very ironic as the music suggests romance and love; however, the visuals are all about aggression and hate. These sequences often pose a moral dilemma, the viewer will tend to feel queasy and uneasy.
In the movie 'The Shining' Kubrick articulates the loss of innocence. A writer isolated by his work as the custodian of a closed resort loses his mind, in this movie. In "Eyes Wide Shut", it is the ample culture of narcissism that is under attack. And, notably Kubrick's films are primarily focused on the male characters and the male point of view.
Was Kubrick A Genius?
A genius can be considered to be anyone with exceptional intellectual ability, creativity and/or originality. If we accept this simple definition then Kubrick undoubtedly was a genius, an opinion well supported by the testimonies of many people who worked with him. And even if you only look at the films – which is after all what matters most – it’s possible to see that there was a genius at work.
However, Kubrick is by no means universally loved or admired. His films are often criticized for being cold and unemotional. Nevertheless, most of his films have an undeniable iconic power, producing images and sounds that are instantly recognizable.
Kubrick also loved science and technology and because of this he strove to depict science accurately, as in the weightlessness and silence of space in 2001, or the remarkably accurate recreation of a B52 cockpit in Dr Stangelove.
|Kubrick directs Tom Cruise for 'Eyes Wide Shut.'|
Many of us prefer the comforting films where generally everything is nicely resolved at the end. I appreciate the blockbusters and thought provoking films of Spielberg; highly ambitious movies of Cameron, and the clever films of Quentin Tarantino; but for me nobody else comes close to matching Stanley Kubrick’s status as a genius filmmaker.
Here are the five steps to appreciate the genius of Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick - Wikipedia