Wednesday, March 15, 2017


I still haven't seen it yet, but I figured I might as well post a little something about Italian director Alex Infascelli's recently released documentary S is For Stanley, which takes a look at our favorite iconic filmmaker through the eyes of the man who was his devoted driver and manservant for 30 long years, Emilio D'Alessandro.

So, to begin with, here's the English language trailer:

Pretty cool, right? Sure makes me want to see it!

Our first review comes from the Village Voice, and it's by their new lead cinema critic (and former alt.movies.kubrick netizen!) Bilge Ebiri. His review is essential reading for any Kubrick fan, particularly considering it was written by perhaps the premiere Kubrick admirer currently working in the mainstream entertainment media. It begins:
It isn't every day that you're asked to drive a giant dick across London. But for Emilio D'Alessandro, a young Italian émigré, erstwhile race-car driver, and full-time cabbie, it was just another job: It was December of 1970, a blizzard was on, nobody else was around, and the object — a massive sculpture of a phallus — had to be delivered quickly to a company called Hawk Films on the other side of town. Speedy, careful, and prompt, D'Alessandro got it there safely and on time. The recipient, impressed, offered him a regular job. And that's how Emilio D'Alessandro became Stanley Kubrick's personal chauffeur. 
He was, in truth, more than that.
This is, of course, an understatement. A wonderful part of Ebiri's essay is his eye for how the smallest details from the documentary can be spun out into fairly grand ideas about what lay behind Kubrick's work. It's a positive review, but I would only have expected otherwise from Ebiri if the film had been a hatchet job, which it obviously isn't.

Daniel Eagan's review for Film Journal isn't quite so positive, nor is it half as interesting. Calling the film "a low-key effort geared towards cultists", his review concludes on the following note:
It will take a dedicated Kubrick completist to find inspiration in the director's fondness for pets, bad driving habits and poor typing. S Is for Stanley manages the difficult feat of circling around both of its subjects without saying much interesting about either of them.
Glenn Kenny's New York Times review sits happily between Ebiri's enthusiasm and Eagan's dismissive snark. He concludes his short review indicating that, "for Kubrick enthusiasts, this picture will provide a fun and sometimes moving fix."

It is also perhaps worth noting that all three reviews begin with the story of Emilio's delivery of the smooth white wobbling phallus sculpture/murder weapon from Clockwork Orange; obviously a memorable moment from the doc!

Finally, for our Italian speaking friends, here's an interview with the film's director, Alex Infascelli:

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