PORTRAIT OF A FILM. Adapted from the eponymous novel by Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange is Stanley Kubrick’s ninth feature film. In England, in the near future, the Droogs gang spreads terror through gratuitous acts of violence. Arrested for murder, Alex, their leader, agrees to serve as a guinea pig for a new therapeutic experiment that renders any form of violence unbearable to him. Once released, now as gentle as a lamb, he is driven to suicide by one of his former victims who is looking for revenge. Alex survives and is returned to his original state on government orders. Upon its release, the film rises strong controversies, and after several assaults and crimes have been committed in its name, the director decides to withdraw it from English cinemas.
PORTRAIT OF AN ERA. Supposed to take place in the future, the film is firmly rooted in the 60s, marked by the Vietnam War, the protest movements of the youth and the rise of insecurity in Western societies. In filigree we notice the fears aroused in England by the proliferation of youth gangs (rockers, mods, skinheads) as well as the political debates initiated by the proponents of anti-psychiatry against the psychological conditioning techniques and the abuse of chemical psychiatry. On an aesthetic level, A Clockwork Orange reflects its time, in the mixture of kitsch and psychedelic pop art, and through the music of the first electronic synthesizers composed by Walter Carlos.
PORTRAIT OF A FILMMAKER. In 1971, when A Clockwork Orange is released, Stanley Kubrick is 43. Born in New York, this former newspaper photographer turned filmmaker chooses to live in London with his family. He shoots A Clockwork Orange after having abandoned a major project on Napoleon. A perfectionist filmmaker, he controls the product. –Cannes Film Festival