WHO is he?

Legendary American film director, producer, screenwriter and photographer who made 12 highly celebrated feature films between the Fifties and the Nineties. Kubrick started out as a photographer before moving on to short documentaries and fiction. For most part of his career, Kubrick worked from the United Kingdom even when he was financed by Hollywood studios. Kubrick was rarely covered in popular media, resulting in him being labelled a perennial recluse and an introvert.

WHAT are his films about?

Themes

Despite having made only a dozen films, Kubrick worked in almost all the major genres, making finest examples of them while deconstructing them. These films are characterised by a strong anti-authoritarian streak — a quality that evidently draws from Kubrick’s own professional disposition. They also engage with how any institution or system dehumanises its participants, creating out of them a mass instead of an individual. Kubrick has often been called a cold formalist, nihilist and misanthrope, with his films apparently not exhibiting a value system or warmth for the human elements.

Style

Kubrick has been known to have exacting control over every aspect of his films — narrative, cinematographic or logistical. His most noted aesthetic propensities include his fluid camera movement, especially slow-tracking shots, measured handheld cinematography, symmetric pictorial compositions with the vanishing point at the centre of the image, employment of classical music, eccentric editing patterns that is nevertheless based on Continuity Editing and an acting style pitched away from naturalism.

WHY is he of interest?

Perhaps the most celebrated American filmmaker after Alfred Hitchcock, Kubrick has influenced scores of later generation filmmakers, who are taken by his attention to detail and ruthless control over every element of filmmaking. Both classical film criticism and internet-based film culture, on the other hand, continue to extensively engage with his films in such extreme depth that it’s almost a rite of passage for a film lover to be enraptured by Kubrick’s works.

WHERE to discover him?

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), like many of Kubrick’s films, taps into the phobia of a particular time in history: the fear of a nuclear war between the USA and the Soviet, in this case. Extremely dark and just as funny, Dr. Strangelove, as do the best dark comedies, blurs the line between the tragic and the comic, the terrifying and the farcical and reality and absurdity.

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