A new look at the life and work of the great director, featuring, for the first time, his own commentary.
Stanley Kubrick did not like giving interviews and explaining his films. He lived as a recluse in his house just outside London, tried to shoot nearby at the production studios in Borehamwood, and could ignore the press even on the eve of major U.S. premieres. However, Kubrick talked numerous times over the course of twenty years with the film critic Michel Ciment, who wrote the first major text about him in French in 1968. Based on these conversations, Ciment wrote the book Kubrick, and their never-before-published audio recordings are the basis of Grégory Monro’s documentary.
Kubrick was once quoted as saying that he thought it better that the viewer did not know whether they had understood something by chance or that the director actually meant it. In his dialogues with Climent he does not contradict this view.
The director argues, shares doubts and sometimes assessments, but never indulges in explanations. To build a coherent picture from these conversations, Monro skillfully completes the story: he recreates the classic Kubrick scenery on the screen, shows archival footage from shoots, rare interviews with critics, journalists, actors, and Kubrick's associates. From all this, a picture is formed that is full of interesting details. It turns out, for example, that, contrary to popular belief, Kubrick was not always opposed to improvisation. For example, during the filming of 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange, the team and the director came up with some key moments right on the set.
“Rather than a filmography or a biography, this is an invitation to the world of Stanley Kubrick’s thoughts,” says Monro about his film. He has succeeded in making a film full of texture and nontrivial observations that feels like a fascinating conversation with the main protagonist.
The film will be screened in English and French with Russian subtitles.
Kubrick by Kubrick
Dir. Grégory Monro
USA, 2020. 73 min. 16+