Friday, June 10, 2011

My Favorite Directors: Stanley Kubrick

My Favorite Directors

Stanley Kubrick, the Controversial and Visionary Genius

Stanley Kubrick, the director of such films as 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange and Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, is most deinitely my favorite director of all times. His films, including the ones previously mentioned, are all masterpieces and excellent works of art that should be remembered through time as the excellent work they were. His visionary take on many subjects, as well as the controversy that arised when his films were released, make up for what could easily be the greatest director of all times.

Top 5 films:

5. Lolita: His first film to rise controversy. The story of a middle aged man who marries a woman because he fell in love with her 16 year old daughter. I know this is something that can upset or even disturb some viewers, but Kubrick's take on the subject makes it an unforgettable experience. His way of showing what people can do to achieve what they want is something revealing as it is unsettling.

4. The Shining: The horror tale about a family isolated in the Overlook Hotel as the father of the family goes mad. While the film doesn't follow too closely the book, and frankly it almost tells a different story, the close study on Jack Torrance's descent into madness as well as how his family try to deal with it before their own lives are in danger is something hard to forget.

3. Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb: A long title, I know, but I think the title reflects the comedic and humoristic nature of the film. It is a comedy but set during a nuclear crisis. It is a dark political satire and it might be something hard to be taken lightly, but Kubrick's genius achieves this and not only that but also creates one of the best and most memorable comedies of all times.

2. A Clockwork Orange: The view of a disturbed soul in a world where things seem to have gone down the drain. It is the story of Alex DeLarge and how he and his friends engaged in sadistic activities, before he is incarcerated and reformed by a new procedure. This one is probably his most violent film (but Full Metal Jacket could give it a good competition) and I think that its violence is something as essential as the plot itself, as it help us to understand the metality of this individual who gets a kick out of making other people suffer.

1. 2001: A Space Odyssey: One of the most controversial films of all times, and a pioneer on special effects, this, arguably the mother of science fiction cinema, is a story a little harder to put in words, yet, its form of storytelling is an unforgettable one, and if you've seen this film you know exactly what I am talking about. The film presented the world with the not-too-much-acceoted Darwin theory of evolution, creating alot of controversy upon its release. Without much effort this could be the greatest science fiction film of all times.

What separates Kubrick from other directors is his portrayal of the human psychology on his films, especially on how he focused on the dark part of humanity. Unlike other directors like Hitchcock, who focused more on the story than the characters and made shorter and fast-paced films (and I'm not saying this in a bad way), Kubrick dedicated time of his films mostly on building up his characters and making them change throughout the story, not neccesarily into a more possitive self.

I think that when analysing Kubrick's films it is important to divide his films in pre-2001 and post-2011. His pre-2001 films were shorter and faster than his post-2001 films. These films also were much lighter in nature, and, while they still did, they focused lesser on the human mind and their motivations (with Lolita probably being an exception) than his post-2001 films. The latter films were much darker, longer and slower than his previous films. Also in this films he would focus alot more in the human mind and human psychology. His films often featured psychological themes, including dementia and how people can descend into it (like in The Shining or Full Metal Jacket). What can be said about these latter films is that they became much darker harder to take. If you see, in films such as A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket and maybe even Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick explores what motivated people to do those things they(we) do. As I said, he focused alot on the dark side of mankind.

Many people may view Kubrick as a cynical, as his way of seeing manking can be refelected on his films, but I think that this isn't an accerted observation. I think the reason of why he focused on the dark and negative actions or motivations of humans is because most people wouldn't really want to face that part of humanity, but he makes us face it, maybe because it will make us uncomfortable or maybe because nobody else will make us do it, but I think that this is an important thing that we need to face. And I think that this is why he is different from other directors, and I think that this is why he can be the greatest director who had ever lived.


  1. Great work man!
    But too bad Paths of Glory, The Killing, Barry Lyndon and Eyes Wide Shut don't feature in this!

  2. Beautiful overview of a great director! I'll have to change how I write my director overviews now! thanks for the inspiration :)