Tuesday, May 31, 2016


There has been a flurry of reports either about or referencing Stanley Kubrick and/or his films in recent weeks. Among them are included:


Not-so-hot on the heels of the dubious but intriguing "experimental artistic installation" The Shining Backwards and Forwards comes Jason Shulman's series Photographs of Film, in which, WiReD declares: "the narrative fades away" and the movie "is, instead, one scratchy, hazy frame." The results for the single frame version of 2001: A Space Odyssey are described thusly: "It's mostly black and gray, but you can make out the three screens of the council room, the tiled floor of the Louis XVI bedroom, and HAL 9000’s camera eye, glowing like an ember." See it above, and go to Shulman's page to ogle all the other frames, including The Shining's. My personal favorite is Voyage de la Lune, which takes on the aspect of an H.R. Giger hellscape.


VICE.com was one of the many media to run a story about Emilio D'Alessandro's 30 year career as Stanley Kubrick's trusted driver, assistant, and family friend. At one point in, VICE points out that
D'Alessandro worked with Kubrick from then until the director's death in 1999, serving as his personal driver, on-set assistant, and lifelong right-hand man on films from A Clockwork Orange to Eyes Wide Shut. Gradually, their relationship shifted from the merely professional to the personal. "I would always call him Mr. Kubrick," D'Alessandro recalls, "and one day he said, 'Emilio, pack that in, and just call me Stanley.'
Endearing as that story is, even better is the photo that accompanies the article, which is definitely one for the Kubrick-o-phile's archives. We've been seeing a lot of Kubrick and Emilio stories in the news lately - including this Movie Pilot article about how Emilio tried to convince Stanley not to hire Jack Nicholson for The Shining - because Emilio's book, Stanley Kubrick and Me: Thirty Years at His Side, has been translated into English and is currently on sale. BUY IT NOW! And use this link so I get a coupe sheckles in my begin' cup.

And then, of course, there's this Guardian article covering Kubrick's long-serving personal assistant Emilio's revelation that in 1999, while wrapping up Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick was beginning to plan work on not one but two films: a World War II film about the bloody Axis/Allied conflict in Monte Cassino, and a kids-friendly version of the oft-filmed classic, Pinocchio. And no, Emilio is adamant that this would have been a separate project from A.I., which has frequently been described as having much in common with that classic tale.

Over at STV.tv, an autistic gentleman by the name of Mark McDonald watches The Shining for the first time in his life as part of that website's Classic Film Club, where "each week we invite a famous face to watch a classic film they have never seen and tell us if it lived up to the hype or left them throwing their popcorn away in disgust." Click through to read Mark's post-viewing interview/review. You won't be disappointed.

Another Kubrick story to generate lots of column inches recently, like this story at The Hollywood Reporter, was the revelation that "True Detective Emmy winner" Cary Fukunaga "is in talks to direct" an HBO miniseries based on Kubrick's unfinished Napoleon project. The miniseries, "based on Stanley Kubrick's research for a film dubbed his 'greatest never-made film' — a planned story on French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte's 19th century struggle to bring Europe under his total control."


And, finally for today, here's a review of the dark period comedy Moonwalkers, in which the Stanley Kubrick plays a role not unlike that played by Jesus Christ in those mid-century sword-and-sandal epics like Ben-Hur and The Robe, and which begins:
When I read the premise of this film, I expected a light-hearted conspiracy romp around swinging 60s London. What I did not expect was an exploitation schlock-fest of drugs, tits, and exploding heads. I’m not saying this is a bad thing necessarily, I’m just saying that maybe the press release could do with a tweak.


Hidden away in the comments section of a Guardian article about Emilio D’Alessandro's recent revelation about how Kubrick "was planning his first children’s film and his first second world war movie shortly before his death in 1999" is a comment so perfect that I just had to share it here with all my fellow Kubrick fanatics, so that it is preserved somewhere in perpetuity, or at least for as long as this blog shall last. So thanks, Guardian reader Toner4Ever (you with your Captain Picard profile pic), for sharing your insight with us all:

"Kubrick wasn't a director who was a genius, he was a genius who happened to be a director."


From the video's description on Youtube: "In this video essay we'll be looking at how Stanley Kubrick using Sigmund Freud's theory of the uncanny to great effect in his 1980 film, The Shining, based on the novel by Stephen King."


NoFilmSchool.com has published a couple of short, interesting articles that should be of interest to all Kubrick fans. The first one covers How Kubrick Built Atmosphere with Diegetic Sound, proclaiming our Stanley as having provided us with "one of the finest examples of diegetic sound that we have to date". It continues:
With so many other revolutionary filmmaking techniques in his repertoire, it's not often we find ourselves focused on Stanley Kubrick's audio strategies. His favoritism of diegetic over non-diegetic sounds, however, was essential in building the atmosphere for nearly every one of his films. Candice Drouet's 1.000.000 Frames series chronicles just that:

The article continues after the above video, going on to describe what diegetic sound is, exactly (it isn't that difficult a concept to grasp), and pulls out a few more examples of what they proclaim to be some of Kubrick's best work using the technique.


The second NoFilmSchool.com article asks What is Contrapuntal Music, and How did Kubrick and Tarantino Use it in Their Most Famous Scenes? It goes into great detail in an effort to describe what is, in essence, simply the use of music that not only doesn't tell the viewer how to feel, but is actually expressive of the opposite emotion that the onscreen events would likely inspire. Think Kubrick's use of "We'll Meet Again" at the end of Strangelove, when the fact of the matter is that (SPOILER) with every human being on the face of the Earth killed by the Soviet Doomsday retaliation, we actually will NOT be meeting again, ever.