Only a handful of artists have had as significant of an impact in their field as Stanley Kubrick has had on cinema. Beginning in photography, he showed an innate ability to display subtly powerful images that left his audience in awe. He was able to tell stories in a way that invoked passion and stimulated thought. His films are full of stories perpetuated perfectly by his direction in all aspects.
Stanley understood that each facet of his film had to fit together perfectly. His score told the story that dialogue could not. He enabled actors to perform the role of a lifetime through countless takes. Every shot was diagnosed and analyzed to place the camera in perfect position with perfect settings. He had a reputation for tirelessly demanding more from each contributor which shines throughout each of his pieces of work.
One of his most coveted films was an adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining. Jack Nicholson stars as a recovering alcoholic slipping slowly into madness in a rocky mountain snow bound hotel. The actors recall that in each shot, Stanley would ask for take after take. Just when they thought they had nailed it, Stanley would start again from the top. Jack acted as though he was slipping into madness. Then he tired and began conserving energy. Realizing the shot was still not complete, he’d catch a second wind. Stanley continued to press further until acting turned genuine. Stanley guided Jack into subconsciously becoming the character he was portraying in a way that no one may have recognized except Kubrick himself.
2001: A Space Odyssey is considered one of the greatest films ever created. Stanley pushed the envelope in terms of what was acceptable and what was expected all at once. The visual effects left audiences in awe. Dialogue is minimalized and viewers are directed through the story while continuously contemplating what they were meant to take from it. This masterpiece is orchestrated by Stanley’s brilliant mind to allow humanity to perform a self-reflection which they had never considered possible before.
Stanley Kubrick is easily my favorite director and someone who I find myself idolizing. His standards are unparalleled by any other director. He was a master of lighting which is evident in every shot. He motivated everyone to perform the best work they ever had. His genius shook the foundation of cinema and anyone interested in film would be remissed to ignore all they can learn and enjoy through his work.
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