Archive for January, 2011

Kubrick Log ~ Maze Theme Continues

Posted in Uncategorized on January 20, 2011 by kubrickblog


# Bedroom at the end of the film. Kubrick’s space explorer runs into another monolith beyond Jupiter and it takes him into a space warp.

Q. What’s a space warp?
A. A warp in space, and therefore in time, thanks to Einstein.

Q. Then when the pilot emerges into the objective world, where is he?
A. In a bedroom.


Yes, a magnificently decorated Louis XVI bedroom. What’s the bedroom doing out there beyond Jupiter? Nothing. It isn’t out there beyond Jupiter. It’s a bedroom.

The spacecraft lands in the bedroom, and Keir Dullea, the pilot, looks through the window and sees himself in a space suit standing outside. He gets out, becomes himself in the space suit standing outside, and sees himself seated at a table, eating. He becomes himself sitting at the table, eating, and notices himself, very elderly, dying in bed. He becomes himself dying in bed, and dies in bed.

Well, it’s not every space adventurer who dies in bed.

Now where did the bedroom come from? My intuition is that it came out of Kubrick’s imagination; that he understood the familiar bedroom would be the most alien, inexplicable, disturbing scene he could possibly end the film with. He was right. The bedroom is more otherworldly and eerie than any number of exploding stars, etc. Exploding stars we can understand. But a bedroom?

The bedroom also provides a suitable backdrop while Kubrick’s man grows older and dies. Why can’t it be just that – a backdrop? Poets put lovers under trees, and nobody asks where that tree came from. Why can’t Kubrick put his aging man in a bedroom? This is what literary critics might call a non-descriptive symbol – that is, the bedroom stands for a bedroom. Nothing else.

The film, in its most basic terms, is a parable about Man. It is what Kubrick wanted to say about Man as a race, an idea and an inhabitant of the universe.

More specifically, it is a film about man’s journey from the natural state of a tool-using state and then again into a higher order of natural state. It makes its statement almost completely in visual terms; and the little dialog in the center section of the film is hardly necessary, like verbal Muzak.

Kubrick begins when man was still an ape, thoroughly at home in the natural environment of Earth. He shows us becoming a toolmaker in order to control our natural environment, and he shows us finally using our tools to venture out into space. At the end, he shows man drawn beyond his tools so that we exist in the universe itself with the same natural ease we once enjoyed on Earth.

The opening sequence is brilliant. If it could be shown as an educational film, it would explain man’s development as a tool-using animal more clearly than any number of textbooks. Two tribes of apes scream at each other. They are frightened of the sounds in the night. A monolith appears. One tribe of apes gingerly feels it, running its hands down its perfectly smooth edges. And as the apes caress the monolith, something like a short circuit takes place in their minds.

A connection is made between their eyes, their minds, and their hands. Their attention is drawn beyond themselves and toward an object in the environment. They are given a “lesson” by the makers of the monolith – and they then discover that, they are able to pick up a club and use it as a tool (at first for killing, then, for more subtle ends).

Kubrick cuts from this most simple tool, a club, to a most complex one, a space ship. The prehistoric bone is thrown up into the air and becomes a shuttle rocket on its way to a space station. Could anything be clearer? Here are both extremes of man’s tool-using stage. Yet, when the men in the space station began to talk, 45 minutes into the film, the person behind me sighed: “At last, the story begins.” This was a person for whom a story could not exist apart from dialog and plot, and audiences made up of those people are going to find “2001” tough sledding.

So what then? Another monolith is found on the moon.

Like the first one, it provides a transcendent experience. By now, man is intelligent enough to realize that the monolith was planted by another intelligent race, and that is an awesome blow to man’s ego. So he sets out toward Jupiter because the monolith beams signals in that direction. And man takes along “Hal 9000,” a computer (or tool) so complex that it may, even surpass the human intelligence. The ultimate tool.

But Hal 9000, made by man in his own image and likeness, shares man’s ego and pride. What is finally necessary is the destruction of Hal – after he nearly destroys the mission – and that leaves one man, alone, at the outer edge of the Solar System to face the third monolith.

And here man undergoes a transformation as important as when he became a tool-user. He becomes a natural being again, having used his tools for hundreds of thousands of years to pull himself up by the bootstraps. Now he no longer needs them. He has transcended his own nature, as that original ape did, and now he is no longer a “man.”

Instead, having grown old and died, he is reborn as a child of the universe. As a solemn, wide-eyed infant who slowly looks over the stars and the Earth and then turns his eyes on the audience.

These last 20 seconds, as the child of man looks down on his ancestral parents, are the most important in the film. We in the audience are men, and here is the liberated, natural being, Kubrick believes we will someday become.

But when Kubrick’s space infant looked at the audience the other night, half of the audience was already on its feet in a hurry to get out. A good third of the audience must not have seen the space infant at all.

Man is a curious animal. He is uneasy in the face of great experiences, and if he is forced to experience something profound, he starts immediately to cheapen it, to bring it down to his own level. Thus after a great man is assassinated, lesser men immediately manufacture, buy and sell plastic statues and souvenir billfolds and lucky coins with the great man’s image on them.

The same process is taking place with “2001.” Two out of three people who see it will assure you it is too long, or too difficult, or (worst of all) merely science fiction, In fact, it is a beautiful parable about the nature of man. Perhaps it is the nature of man not to wish to know too much about his own nature.


Kubrick Log ~ Minotaur and Maze and Axe

Posted in Uncategorized on January 18, 2011 by kubrickblog

# The Kubrick Site: The Shining and Transcendence

# – The Shining

# In which Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” and Krzysztof Kieslowski’s “Bleu” are Discussed

# The Wrong Way Wizard: Rebunking The Shining: Hot New Info!

# Stanley Kubrick: Essays on His Films and Legacy (9780786432974): Gary Don Rhodes: Books

Kubrick Log ~

Posted in Uncategorized on January 17, 2011 by kubrickblog

# Stanley Kubrick: Essays on His Films and Legacy (9780786432974): Gary Don Rhodes: Books

# The Wrong Way Wizard: Killing Time: Reflections on Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’

# mbek theDirector’s multiply … – mbek’s Blog

# The Kubrick Corner

# Kubrick FAQ – The Shining

What’s the significance of the maze?

The hotel maze suggests a number of mythological and psychological associations prompted by mazes and labyrinths. In Greek mythology, the Labyrinth of Crete was a dungeon of inter-connecting maze-like tunnels derived from the elaborate floor plan of the Palace at Knossos. In the myth, the architect of the Labyrinth was the Athenian craftsman Daedalus, who designed it for King Minos.

The Labyrinth was so skilfully designed that once a person was incarcerated there it was impossible for them to find their way out again. They would then become prey for the Minotaur (1) – a half-man; half-bull that lived in the Labyrinth. Daedalus revealed the secrets of its construction only to Ariadne, daughter of Minos, but she in turn told her lover, Theseus who used the knowledge to slay the Minotaur and escape.

The Labyrinth and Minotaur in Greek Mythology can be read as symbols of the dark side of humanity, the Minotaur represents the ‘Beast’ in the human psyche that we hide away in the ‘Labyrinth’ of the unconscious mind. As Kubrick said: “One of the things that horror stories can do is show us the archetypes of the unconscious: we can see the dark side without having to confront it directly.” The structure of a maze allows for just such an indirect confrontation of these dark forces.

Michel Foucault (2) articulated this characteristic of the maze in his 1962 essay ‘Such a Cruel Knowledge’ “To enter the gates of the maze,” Foucault said “is to enter a theatre of Dionysian (3) castration, is to undergo a paradoxical initiation not to a lost secret but to all the sufferings of which man has never lost the memory – the oldest cruelties in the world.”

When Jack Torrence is trapped in the maze he ultimately takes on the characteristics the Minotaur thus any specificity attached to his murderous actions is removed of context, and occupies instead in the universal space of myth. Symbolically the maze transcends physical time and space, and the roar of Torrence’s rage echoes down its myriad pathways to connect right back to the origins of rage itself.

Foucault called the Minotaur the very near and yet also the absolutely alien – the emblem of the unity of the human and inhuman. All the imagery of ‘the Shining’ is suggestive of Labyrinths, the long mountainous roads that lead to the Overlook, the corridors of the hotel and finally the maze itself, its as if we are being drawn deeper and deeper into the mystery and yet at its heart what do we find? A demon? Something unknowable and alien to us? No, we find an insane man stalking his child. Kubrick seems to be saying that the evil beings that inhabit our collective memories, Satan, the Minotaur, etc.. are just projections of our evil selves: whilst the devil, if he exists, resides in the ordinary, the banal, the everyday. (4)

Kubrick Log ~

Posted in Uncategorized on January 13, 2011 by kubrickblog

# Standing on the Shoulders of Kubrick on Vimeo

# The Hollywood Interview: Matthew Modine: The Hollywood Interview

# ‘Like Being in Another World’: Vinessa Shaw on the 10th Anniversary of Eyes Wide Shut | Movieline

The Shining ~ Locations

Posted in Uncategorized on January 13, 2011 by kubrickblog


Kubrick Log ~

Posted in Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 by kubrickblog

# 2011 PCA: The Dawn of Women – PokerStars Poker Blog

# How I tracked down Stanley Kubrick | Film |

# Stanley Kubrick ~ photo s

# Archivio Kubrick: Blog: Stanley Kubrick Fotografo a Venezia

# Archivio Kubrick: Blog: 2001 con musica dal vivo

# Archivio Kubrick: Blog: 2001 con Alex North

Kubrick Log ~ Napoleon

Posted in Uncategorized on January 6, 2011 by kubrickblog

TASCHEN Books: Stanley Kubrick’s Napoleon Stanley Kubrick’s Napoleon: The Greatest Movie Never Made (9783836523356): Alison Castle: Books

Letters of Note: I expect to make the best movie ever made

Oct 20 1971

1. I propose we make a deal to film Napoleon based on the following premises.

2. I will do a new screenplay. Naturally, in the two years since the first one was written I have had new ideas.

3. It’s impossible to tell you what I’m going to do except to say that I expect to make the best movie ever made.

4. Budget 4,000,000 bellow the line. Part of this, about 1,000,000 to be spent in Romania for the large scenes.

5. The interiors and small extreiors to be done on location with a very small French documentary sized shooting unit. Idea is to save money, shoot available light to make it look real (like Clockwork Orange) and y exploit the fully dressed interiors of the period which are readily available in France.

6. Above the line: Napoleon, SK, MGM debt, UA debt, no other big stars would be envisioned. ,I suggest actors of the ipecapable calibre of Ptarick Magee (Mr Alexander in CWO) and others are readily available at reasonable non- star deals.

7. I would employ the stop and go three picutre production approach. Theory being that big pictures run s away because a l hughe strip boar is made and when the film starts planning stops. All the key people are too burdened down with day to day responsibilities. Idea would be to have 1. picture with 1-10 people, interirs France. Natural light and simulated. Very lowo overhead.

2. Stop and re plan for x modest exteriors x-y number of crowd.

3. Big exteriors Romanina: battles, marching, revolution.

Each section will be planned in front, but there will be time to re assess everything between each film. All personell except x y z will be dismissed. actor deals will be predicated on this approach.

8. Roll of Cyrus Eaton company.

9. 35mm full aperture but no scope. Can blow up to 70mm height with normal proportions if so desired.

10. Plan to start shooting small section on—— middle on—– big on——–

11. What immediate action has to be taken: Permissions in France, Romanina deal, locations scouted in France and Romania, script, additional money for writers and book rights,