Close Up

5 - 28 May 2017: Close-Up on Stanley Kubrick


"Rare is the artist who can suffuse his work with so much ambiguity and still intrigue. […] The known career of Stanley Kubrick encompasses an acknowledged 13 movie features, one withdrawn movie feature, several short documentaries, and a myriad number of photo spreads. Controversy surrounded many of these projects. On a surface level, Kubrick seemed willing to alienate the audience for his desired effects. Yet the constant control and manipulation of all things surrounding his work also freed it up to interpretation. One knows, for the most part, that one is watching a Kubrick movie – its authorship is clear. Easy speculation and interpretation follow suit, but it is more of a challenge to dig beneath the popular veneer and debate the actual man and his deeper meanings. Our speculation is encouraged by Kubrick’s secrecy surrounding both his life and his film projects – a state of control that remains fairly unparalleled among most popular artists. His is a career shrouded in myth and frustrating mystery." - Senses of Cinema

Killer's Kiss
Stanley Kubrick
1955 | 64 min | B/W | 35mm

Kubrick's second feature is a moody thriller shot on location in the streets of New York, effectively capturing the dark underbelly of the city at night. The story concerns a down-at-heel boxer falls for a night-club dancer after saving her from being raped by her boss, who consequently determines to put an end to their romance. Kubrick employs gritty black-and-white photography, flashbacks and dream sequences. read more

The Killing
Stanley Kubrick
1956 | 81 min | B/W | 35mm

Stanley Kubrick’s account of an ambitious racetrack robbery is one of Hollywood’s tautest, twistiest noirs. Aided by a radically time-shuffling narrative, razor-sharp dialogue from pulp novelist Jim Thompson, and a phenomenal cast of character actors, including Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Timothy Carey, Elisha Cook Jr., and Marie Windsor, The Killing is both a jaunty thriller and a cold-blooded punch to the gut. read more

Paths of Glory
Stanley Kubrick
1957 | 84 min | B/W | 35mm

This devastating anti-war film focuses on an actual incident that took place among French forces during World War I in which three soldiers from a regiment that failed to advance on the enemy were randomly selected and executed for cowardice. Kubrick relentlessly demonstrates how the real act of cowardice was perpetrated not by the soldiers in the field but by a vain, ambitious general who has willingly sacrificed his troops to advance his own agenda at headquarters. read more

Stanley Kubrick
1960 | 186 min | Colour | 35mm

Stanley Kubrick directed a cast of screen legends – including Kirk Douglas as the indomitable gladiator that led a Roman slave revolt – in the sweeping epic that defined a genre and ushered in a new Hollywood era. The assured acting, lush Technicolor cinematography, bold costumes, and visceral fight sequences won Spartacus four Oscars; the blend of politics and sexual suggestion scandalized audiences. Today Kubrick’s controversial classic, the first film to openly defy Hollywood’s blacklist, remains a landmark of cinematic artistry and history. read more

Stanley Kubrick
1961 | 147 min | B/W | DCP

Stanley Kubrick’s sixth film, a brilliant adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov’s darkly humorous and controversial novel, tells the story of a middle-aged man’s unusual sexual obsession with a precociously seductive, barely pubescent teenager, filtered through an aura of incest. Although Nabokov is credited with writing the screenplay, his final published manuscript differs from the finished film, in which Kubrick greatly expanded the role of Peter Sellers. read more

Dr Strangelove
Stanley Kubrick
1963 | 90 min | B/W | DCP

No major director seemed better able to plug into the zeitgeist of his era (particularly in the 1960s) than Kubrick, and no film so completely captured the country's growing disaffection with the military-industrial complex as Kubrick's adaptation (with writer Terry Southern) of Peter George's political satire Two Hours to Doom. The resulting work is a chronicle, at once hilarious and frightening. read more

2001: A Space Odyssey
Stanley Kubrick
1968 | 143 min | Colour | DCP

Co-written by the director and novelist Arthur C Clarke, the film charts the progress of 'civilisation' through the influence of mysterious black monoliths on prehistoric apes developing their skills and, later, on astronauts involved in a secret mission to Jupiter. Characteristic of Kubrick's interest in evolution and artificial intelligence (most notably in the astronauts' battle of wits with troublesome computer HAL 9000), the film also displays his desire for technical perfection. read more

A Clockwork Orange
Stanley Kubrick
1971 | 131 min | Colour | DCP

Stanley Kubrick’s ultra-influential (and ultra-controversial) follow-up to 2001: A Space Odyssey was another masterful, future-set thought experiment that pulled no punches in its artistic resolve – much to the chagrin of finger-wagging moralists everywhere. A dystopian tomorrow tale adapted from Anthony Burgess’s notorious 1962 novel – complete with “Nadsat” street slang intact – the film adopts the viewpoint of Ludwig van-loving, sociopathic teen protagonist/narrator Alex (Malcolm McDowell, Kubrick’s only choice for the role) as he brutally robs, rapes, and murders with his gang of doped-up “droogs” in futuristic London. read more

Barry Lyndon
Stanley Kubrick
1975 | 178 min | Colour | DCP

The first half of Stanley Kubrick’s masterful adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray’s picaresque novel plays like a documentary of 18th-century manners, pairing the external world that the eponymous Irish rake (Ryan O’Neal) is so anxious to conquer with interior shots that are truly revelatory; ever the innovator, Kubrick fit an 50mm still camera lens onto a motion picture camera, permitting him and Oscar-winning cinematographer John Alcott to film even in the low light of England’s 18th-century domains. read more

The Shining
Stanley Kubrick
1980 | 115 min | Colour | DCP

All work and no play makes blocked novelist cum hotel caretaker Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) a raging, murderous psychopath in Kubrick’s mordantly funny, genuinely terrifying riff on Stephen King’s bestselling novel. Always an early adopter, Kubrick made extensive use of the newly developed Steadicam technology to glide up, down and around the Overlook Hotel’s cavernous corridors, where the ghosts of caretakers and lodgers past rest uneasily. read more

Full Metal Jacket
Stanley Kubrick
1987 | 112 min | Colour | DCP

Although initially received with bewilderment, Full Metal Jacket now stands among the key works in Stanley Kubrick’s exploration of identity and its problematic nature. Fairly closely adapted from Gustav Hasford’s 1979 novel The Short-Timers, Kubrick’s film follows a young recruit dubbed Private Joker – tellingly, we never learn his real name – as he moves from basic training on Parris Island to the hell of Vietnam. read more