The Vision of Stanley Kubrick

Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999)

On the 1(∞)2th death anniversary of Stanley Kubrick, let us revisit the vision of the great director. While to a lot of people, Kubrick’s productions are boring and slow, some of them completely miss what those movies are about. Very few of films made by Kubrick received a favorable critical response right away anyway (only to be reconsidered later), yet he was one of the most independent of the filmmakers in the history of cinema who never compromised on his art ever since he directed Spartacus (1960), and he was way ahead of his time.

Like all great directors, such as Luis Buñuel and Ingmar Bergman, Kubrick had a central idea or theme in his mind which he used to convey through his movies. Probably the most important theme of the films made by Stanley Kubrick was humanity itself, and I think the philosophical side of his work is one of the reasons why he is considered such a great director, apart from its majestic cinematic value, and the idea was that humans were being destroyed by their own intelligence, or lack of enough intelligence.

These movies point out how the human failure to collaborate and cooperate with each other could potentially lead to the consequent premature demise of the species. Kubrick questioned our humanity and morality in Paths of Glory (1957), Lolita (1962), Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Full Metal Jacket (1987), Barry Lyndon (1975)Eyes Wide Shut (1999) and most of all in A Clockwork Orange (1971). As a matter of fact, all his movies, with some of the others made earlier like Fear and Desire (1953) also explore this theme, and his films he never made like Steven Spielberg‘s A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), Aryan Papers and Napoleon are the extensions of this theme.


HAL9000 Computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey

Kubrick produced some of the most memorable images in the history of cinema, but as much as they stuck to the memory of the viewer, they also appealed them to reflect on the deeper meaning behind those images. According to some film reviewers, Kubrick was a master of encoding symbols into his movies reflective of the theme, and the background contributed as much to the feel he created in a story as did the intense characters and their faces. Even that of HAL, which was probably the most important character of 2001: A Space Odyssey, a landmark in the history of cinema, or maybe the human history itself.

Some of the best moments from Stanley Kubrick’s movies that make you think.

SPOILER ALERT: Only for those who have already had the pleasure of watching his movies. For everyone else, watching these masterpieces is highly recommended. You can start by visiting his filmography.

The connoisseurs could use the following links.

Stanley Kubrick – The Living Memory

Kubrick Multimedia Film Guide

The Kubrick FAQ

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Dr.  Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love the Bomb (1964)