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Formidable expertise of a film-crazy perfectionist

Posted July. 26, 2014 04:49,   


U.S. film director Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999) is an essential figure for anyone considering him/herself as a fan of 20th Century film. All of his films, excepting a few forgettable early works, have been controversial. They include Dr. Strangelove (1964), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), A Clockwork Orange (1971), The Shining (1980), Full Metal Jacket (1987), and his posthumous work Eyes Wide Shut (1999).

Yet there is not much known about his personality. When not considering his perfectionist traits where he kept close tabs from planning, writing the scenario, and even promotional phrases, and his independence where he made movies freely as about the only director who made movies outside of the interference of the formidable U.S. filmmaking industry and of capital, the only thing that comes to mind is the face of an elderly man with a beard and an obstinate look. To such an enigma, this book should serve as an able bridge to get closer in knowledge to a master of film, about whom only his image is remembered.

Of course, just reading this book is unlikely to transform the way people see him. A look at the painstaking efforts he put into making one film, it even strengthens the idea that he was a film maniac. The part where Kubrick, who was a professional-level chess player, dueled with a journalist who was a match for him, in multiple locations until early the next morning, shows well his passion for everything. Yet he was not just brimming with enthusiasm. His seriousness where he made efforts to be knowledgeable about all parts of his films is impressive enough.

This book is notable as it is the first book to focus on introducing Kubrick. Yet there is a clear limitation as it is a collection of articles by multiple journalists interviewing him from 1959 to 1987. It is also disappointing that we cannot gauge what his life was like after Full Metal Jacket. Yet it is highly welcome to meet this venerable film philosopher who says in answer to why his movies were difficult, that he likewise did not have an easy answer.