Is Stanley Kubrick, known nowadays as one of the greatest and most seminal artists in the history of cinema, an understood or misunderstood man? What is your perception of him and why do you think some loathe, reject or scathe his films? In your opinion which film defined Kubrick as the controversial director he was and why?
Every film Kubrick made defines him as a controversial director. There are many reasons for that, but maybe the main one – he didn’t care a lot for the surface and most accessible layers of his films, the main narrative so to say, which together with some controversy of his themes put off a lot of viewers. And the difficulty of assessing the layers of meaning that are present underneath. Understanding Kubrick is not an easy task, but very rewarding. I think nowadays his reputation is extremely solid.
ug. yay, another Kubrick thread
Prepare to be skinned alive by all the regular forum users.
I think Kubrick’s work is misunderstood and that is why the detractors bellyache. The man has been met by only one person who posts on this forum, so any assertions there, can be taken with a grain of salt.
Presumptuous of me to say this, but I believe both Kubrick and Godard are thematic bookends to the second half of the 20th century: Kubrick laughs at humanity, while Godard weeps for humanity.
^ Nice point. Obviously a great director must break new ground in cinematic form in order to express such simple feelings.
I’m assuming that one person is David Ehrenstein?
Christopher Sepesy, but maybe Ehrenstein has too.
I always felt Kubrick was a bit more optimistic than he led on but maybe that was just me being optimistic.
Kubrick is over-rated. If it weren’t for Strangelove he’d be a no-no.
I never met Kubrick (alas), but a good friend of mine (now deceased) worked with him when he was a photographer for “Look” magazine. Goerge said that Kurbick was extremely intelligent and wasn’t at all surprised that he had made a successfull — and quite unique — career for himself. He was an American filmmaker who worked in total artistic i9ndependence on anything that took his fancy. His films often caught the public’s fancy — “Dr. Strangelove” and “2001” are the two biggest examples. Also “Lolita” and “The Shining.” But he didn’t approach filmmaking as a popularity contest. He was as serious about it as Bresson, Ozu and Dreyer — though he worked on a scale they couldn’t so much as dream of.
His films have stood the test of time and will fasciante moviegers for years to come.
Yes even Eyes Wide Shut
Overrated? I thought Kubrick was underrated by today’s cinematic standards
I watched part of Strangelove last night on TV. Far, far worse than I remembered it. At least the ending is funny, when the moron American pilot goes off into the wide blue yonder. Eyes Wide Shut was on TV last week. I could manage 10 minutes of the tripe before it was “Off button time”.
“I live in London, the cultural capital of the English-speaking world.”
Never been to New York, eh?
“Britain, Britain, Britain, cultural capital of the world. The Sistine Chapel British, Mozart’s “Requiem” British, the Great Wall of China, British; but none of that stuff would have even been invented were it not for the people of Britain—the men, the women, the boys, the girls and the monkey children that populate this wealthy country. Let’s have it."
A friend recently told me Kurosawa was the greatest director of all, but it seems he has suffered lack of worldwide exposure to today’s audiences. More people have seen Kubrick’s masterpieces and spend years analyzing and enjoying them, I think he is the greatest director in that respect.
Bit of a slipperly slope using popularity as a basis for greatness.
Kurosawa has 8 masterpieces?
I guess you’re right, but Kurosawa’s films don’t have the same passionate fanbase as Kubrick’s, that is what I meant. If we are gonna try to figure out which director is better, I’d say Kubrick. There is a timelessness to his films that resonate with me more than Kurosawa’s.
Kurosawa’s movies are so great we don’t question them as fantastic films. But Kubrick’s movies charge up heated and passionate discussions about his movie’s, like A Clockwork Orange. There is more conversation to be had with a Stanley Kubrick picture than an Akira Kurosawa.
He is probably better understood today more than ever before…but there are also more people to talk about, misunderstand, and understand his work today more than ever before as well; so it may just be a matter of seeing the distinction more vividly, since it is more obviously there to see. And I think, yes, Kubrick was definitely more optimistic than even a hard glance may reveal, and I sure feel he also “wept for humanity” in his own way. I’ve heard people throw around a few reasons for disliking his work, like “too cold”, “too clinical”, “pretentious”, “boring”, etc, but I think that’s all bullshit. Kubrick is so respected, so revered, like a god among many in and out of the direct film communtity; and yet since he was so damn great and singular, there is still this sense that he is underrated (like someone mentioned above). I think it’s a truth that many love Kubrick and respect him for many reasons, and yet many who respect and emulate him on a technical level do not have the mental strength to emulate him on an idea level; this is why when people and critics say this person or that person’s films is “Kubrickian” or “this shot looks like a Kubrick shot”, or “the music and image use is very Kubrick like”, the truth only rings in a very hollow sense, if at all, at least to me. There are many reasons Kubrick’s films are timeless and seemingly limitless in scope and relevance to different people; like the greatest literature, his films somehow find a way to reach us personally, and yet they also connect us to an understanding we know is incomplete at first, but which compels us to look again, reimagine, have an unexpected epiphany on an 8th viewing, and then realise that the film is going beyond the film, nudging or jolting us to a truth within history and existence, in relation to us, as people in society. Kubrick’s films is literally “beyond good and evil” and I don’t mean that in a Nietzschean way. His films are all about recognizing a greater external force (different things in different films) that act upon us as individuals and groups, and change us somehow, fundamentally; for worse (Full Metal Jacket), for better (2001), or both in the same film (A Clockwork Orange), as a few examples. Kubrick involved the viewer in a willing or unwilling process in a way I think is, in certain senses, “beyond” anything any filmmaker has done, at least from the films I’ve seen. Even if we didn’t get what a Kubrick film exactly meant, we knew he wanted us to feel and react some way toward something, that he was pushing us toward a position that existed on multiple thresholds, within the layers of the films, but not being “shown” in a purely shot-to-shot, dialogue explicit sense. But truly, and Kubrick gets this I think, that the viewer ultimately determines the reach of a film like Eyes Wide Shut, for it stretches too far beyond it’s boundaries to have any specific, ultimate meaning. The film can be pushed only so far before it bleeds into life itself. His use of metaphor, symbol, and leitmotif is also amazing, just to add, among so many other things it blows my mind. By looking closer at complete structures of Kubrick’s films, the things he does that no one else does in an even similar way, I became more confident that I was missing something to the bigger picture, and also beginning to read a kind of unique cinematic language of sorts.