The Good Old Peace Protests

Source: we-celebrate.com

People like John Lennon remind you of the prominent peace activists of the last century who have changed a lot of minds. I sometimes wish I had lived in the 60s and the 70s. At least it was fashionable to root for peace back then. Now, after all these years, do you see the same number of peace protests while we still have all the wars? People look at you as if you are a moron if you talk about peace. Maybe it is just me or maybe the world has become a much more realistic place than it used to be. As a matter of fact, the world has become more prone to violence and wars. The economy is in turmoil, class inequality is at its worst, unemployment except for a few countries in the world is at record levels and what else.

The modern world has becoming the breeding grounds for intolerance in the age of information, despite the age of information. There is terrorism, yes. But that is what the terrorists do. The terrorism is further spawning violence and intolerance to the extent that sometimes it seems we are approaching a point of no return when it comes to acceptance. The terrorists are turning all the people into terrorists in their own domain and that is the most terrifying thought. The world needs the hope for peace again.

But who wants to be crucified again?

Making an effort for Peace.

This is something you can never achieve by distributing the Nobel Prize for Peace every year and make a mockery of it. However, people like John Lennon can do it in this way very effectively.

Wars cost a lot of money. Peace costs nothing.

Today, on Lennon’s birthday, here is the song that I am reminded of again and again. It is a good description of our world and of ourselves.

None of us really wants to, it seems.

Happy Birthday John Lennon in no Hell below us.

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Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures

Stanley Kubrick filming Barry Lyndon in 1975 (Source: Kubrick Estate)

Much has been written and said about the legendary American film director Stanley Kubrick but few records offer us a closer look into his life than Jan Harlan’s documentary Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2001).

The documentary covers Stanley Kubrick’s life from childhood to death, featuring rare footage, images and home videos from Kubrick’s infamous “archives”, and more importantly, all his pictures from Day of the Fight (1951) to Eyes Wide Shut (1999). It talks about his personality as well as his work, his aspirations, his fears, his accomplishments, his passion, his disappointments, his style of management and direction, his family, his home and his life, which to many had remained a mystery until his wife Christiane Kubrick and her brother, and the director of the documentary, Jan Harlan, started speaking about him publicly after his death in 1999.

The documentary tells the story of how Kubrick started making pictures, his humble beginnings as a photojournalist, his struggle to make a mark on the global cinema and interesting facts about the making of his pictures, such as how Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) was turned into a comedy, and particularly Spartacus (1960) in which Kubrick had little control as the director due to the influence of the star and the executive producer of the picture, Kirk Douglas, who had also appeared in Kubrick’s widely acclaimed (anti) war drama Paths of Glory (1957).

It is on this documentary that Malcolm McDowell reveals about his friendship with Kubrick that later turned into almost indifference from Kubrick as the filming of A Clockwork Orange (1971) was completed and Shelley Duvall talks about her experience with Kubrick during the filming of The Shining (1980), which was something she “would not want to go through again”.

Apart from McDowell and Duvall, the documentary features interviews from Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, Martin ScorseseSydney PollackPeter Ustinov, Jack Nicholson, Arthur C. Clarke, Keir DulleaMatthew Modine, Adam Baldwin, James Earl Jones, Leon Vitali, Christiane Kubrick, Katharina Kubrick, Jan Harlan, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.

To commemorate the 83rd birthday of Stanley Kubrick, and the tenth year of the release of A Life in Pictures, nothing is more fitting than revisiting the introduction of the documentary, which is probably the best tribute to Kubrick within a time span of 3 minutes. Fortunately, the documentary is available at youtube.

Poster for Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (Source: Wikipedia)

The documentary starts with a montage of the adjectives printed by the press in the West about Stanley Kubrick and the kind of assumptions that were associated with him such as being a recluse, a megalomaniac, obsessive-compulsive and a perfectionist. Kubrick’s family perfectly explains how little the world know about the man and how incorrect were the labels associated with him by the press.

It is clear that the press made such assumptions about Kubrick because he refused to give any interviews and generally avoided talking to the press, except for the ones he trusted, and to some, they did it plainly out of bitterness. When he was asked to explain his pictures, and he was asked the question a lot for 2001: A Space Odyssey (1965) for its cryptic symbolism, he simply refused to do so by saying that you should let the pictures do the talking.

The documentary is loaded with images from Kubrick’s films, all of them assorted in one collection, which is one of the reasons why the documentary is such a delight to watch. What else has the life of a filmmaker to offer than images, and this is what motion pictures are all about. Maybe I have said this before, but if you want to know how great a film director is, see how easily you can recall the images from his or her films. Kubrick’s films have some of the most iconic, important, historic, unforgettable, memorable and haunting images that you could ever come across from any other director.

The documentary is an absolute treat to watch and a delight for a Kubrick fan, or for anyone who is interested in cinema and in Kubrick’s work. Whether you like his pictures or not, you simply would not be able to deny the fact that Stanley Kubrick’s films were some of the most important cinematic works in the 20th century and his milestone masterpieces set new artistic and technical standards in filmmaking.

The Lessons to Learn from Einstein

 

"Fools!"

My last post was about Stanley Kubrick and he had something in common with Albert Einstein, whose brain must be celebrating his 132nd birthday. I am saying that because both of them had very little formal education, a University degree, if you will, and went on to become really admired and acclaimed figures in their respective fields. While you could work that way if you are to become a film director, it is always more difficult for a scientist-to-be.

Of course, the scientific world would not really offer weight to the opinions and the crazy ideas of a young man out of a clerical office who suddenly was teaching the world with chalk in hand.

He was teaching the teachers, and it seemed horrifying to a lot of people.

But at a very interesting and turbulent point in history, Albert Einstein changed the way we thought about the Universe forever. Well, the view is still evolving of course, but he started it in a way. Of course, there were others too.

But what are the lessons to learn from Einstein, without boring you talking about Relativity. While he will always remain to be the incarnation of human intelligence and inspiration on an individual level, but he must also inspire scientists to work the same way as he used to do. While of course, it is important to keep into consideration the existing theory as a part of the Scientific and Research Method, it is important not to get too much tied by it and give up on the margin of creative reasoning or “thinking outside the box”.

Researchers in universities at times seem to be too lost in the existing and accepted practices. A kind of bureaucratization of knowledge is prevalent in educational institutes, which could seriously affect the progress towards attaining more knowledge, which is the better understanding of the Universe and the laws that govern it, especially the ones which we have not been discovered yet. It does take a little bit of creativity to carry out the Thought Experiments needed to even have a little idea about something as apparently obnoxious as Relativity.

I hope science would some day learn more from Einstein than just Photoelectric Effect and Relativity.

I don’t really have a license to speak about science or about anything for that matter, but that’s how I feel about it.

And I know, they need a mathematical proof.

Maybe, some day science would be able to explain Albert Einstein.

 

P. S. I still have not found the answer to what surrounds the Universe, or the matter that makes up the Universe, if the question seems that crazy to you.