Stanley Kubrick

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Stanley Kubrick (26 July 1928 - 7 March 1999) was an American film director born in The Bronx, New York City who lived most of his life in England.

Directed Fear and Desire, Killer's Kiss, The Killing, Paths of Glory, Spartacus, Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange (film), Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and Eyes Wide Shut, almost all considered classics.

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  • The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death – however mutable man may be able to make them – our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.
  • You sit at the board and suddenly your heart leaps. Your hand trembles to pick up the piece and move it. But what chess teaches you is that you must sit there calmly and think about whether it’s really a good idea and whether there are other, better ideas.
    • Newsweek 26 May 1980
  • ...There's something in the human personality which resents things that are clear, and conversely, something which is attracted to puzzles, enigmas, and allegories.
    • from Kubrick: Inside a Film Artist's Maze by Thomas Allen Nelson, p.10
  • The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning. If it can be written or thought, it can be filmed.
    • from Halliwell's Filmgoer's and Video Viewer's Companion
  • ...I don't like doing interviews. There is always the problem of being misquoted or, what's even worse, of being quoted exactly.
    • "Kubrick on Barry Lyndon", An interview with Michel Ciment
  • "Anyone who has ever been privileged to direct a film also knows that, although it can be like trying to write 'War and Peace' in a bumper car in an amusement park, when you finally get it right, there are not many joys in life that can equal the feeling."
    • accepting the D.W. Griffiths Lifetime Achievement Award 1999
  • I have always enjoyed dealing with a slightly surrealistic situation and presenting it in a realistic manner. I've always liked fairy tales and myths, magical stories. I think they are somehow closer to the sense of reality one feels today than the equally stylized "realistic" story in which a great deal of selectivity and omission has to occur in order to preserve its "realist" style.
    • from Kubrick: Inside a Film Artist's Maze by Thomas Allen Nelson, p.14
  • If man merely sat back and thought about his impending termination, and his terrifying insignificance and aloneness in the cosmos, he would surely go mad, or succumb to a numbing sense of futility. Why, he might ask himself, should he bother to write a great symphony, or strive to make a living, or even to love another, when he is no more than a momentary microbe on a dust mote whirling through the unimaginable immensity of space?
    • from Kubrick: Inside a Film Artist's Maze by Thomas Allen Nelson, p.17
  • "One man writes a novel. One man writes a symphony. It is essential that one man make a film."
    • from the Edmonton Journal, March 8, 1999, C3.

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  • "If you can talk brilliantly enough about a subject you can create the consoling illusion it has been mastered."
  • "I never learned anything at all in school and didn't read a book for pleasure until I was 19 years old."
  • "A film is - or should be - more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what's behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later."
  • "I would not think of quarreling with your interpretation nor offering any other, as I have found it always the best policy to allow the film to speak for itself."
  • "Art consists of reshaping life but it does not create life, nor cause life."
  • "I think the big mistake in schools is trying to teach children anything, and by using fear as the basic motivation. Fear of getting failing grades, fear of not staying with your class, etc. Interest can produce learning on a scale compared to fear as a nuclear explosion to a firecracker."
  • "The great nations have always acted like gangsters, and the small nations like prostitutes."
  • "How could we possibly appreciate the Mona Lisa if Leonardo had written at the bottom of the canvas: 'The lady is smiling because she is hiding a secret from her lover.' This would shackle the viewer to reality, and I don't want this to happen to 2001."
  • "The screen is a magic medium. It has such power that it can retain interest as it conveys emotions and moods that no other art form can hope to tackle."
  • "I ought not to be regarded as a once happy man who has been bitten in the jugular and compelled to assume the misanthropy of a vampire." - on the complaint that his films were emotionally cold.
  • "Call it enlightened cowardice, if you like. Actually, over the years I discovered that I just didn't enjoy flying, and I became aware of compromised safety margins in commercial aviation that are never mentioned in airline advertising. So I decided I'd rather travel by sea, and take my chances with the icebergs [...] I am afraid of aeroplanes. I've been able to avoid flying for some time but, I suppose, if I had to I would. Perhaps it's a case of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing. At one time, I had a pilot's licence and 160 hours of solo time on single-engine light aircraft. Unfortunately, all that seemed to do was make me mistrust large aeroplanes."
  • "I believe Bergman, De Sica, and Fellini are the only three filmmakers in the world who are not just artistic opportunists. By this I mean they don't just sit and wait for a good story to come along and then make it. They have a point of view which is expressed over and over and over again in their films, and they themselves write or have original material written for them."
  • "Part of my problem is that I cannot dispel the myths that have somehow accumulated over the years. Somebody writes something, it's completely off the wall, but it gets filed and repeated until everyone believes it. For instance, I've read that I wear a football helmet in the car."
  • "Perhaps it sounds ridiculous, but the best thing that young filmmakers should do is to get hold of a camera and some film and make a movie of any kind at all."
  • "The danger connected with any multi-faceted problem is that you might pay too much attention to some of the problems to the detriment of others, but I am very conscious of this and I make sure I don't do that."
  • "A director with a camera is as free and unrestricted as an author with a pen."

See also

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