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Old 07-24-2001, 06:57 PM   #1
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The Open Work of Stanley Kubrick

“One of his films was equivalent to 10 of somebody elses”

-Martin Scorsese on Stanley Kubrick

The significance of that quote by Martin Scorsese on Stanley Kubrick show one of the
most underrated and important qualities a film can be as piece of artistic work: a film made
for multiple viewings. All Kubrick films achieve this, every film when looked upon the
viewer a second time shows a different idea or side to it and can continue to show them
even to viewings that get in the double digit numbers. This is an example of the open work
in film. A work of art is a complete and closed form in its uniqueness as a balanced whole,
while at the same time being open to countless different interpretations. One theory of the
open work (which I hold to be true) is that an open work demands a free, inventive
reponce, if only because it cannot really be appreciated unless the viewer somehow
reinvents it in a psychological collaboration with the author himself. Kubrick films are set
up for this exact purpose and I will attempt to interpret parts of 3 of his films and which I
feel there may be the most understanding since my feeling has always been that his films
are always portrayed in a light wrong to what the film itself is. But all of this is still
interpretation, like what everyone else thinks about his films.

THE SHINING

At the center of The Shining is the idea of communication, or the lack of it. The film takes
place at the Overlook Hotel which during the winter is completely shut off from any
outside life besides being able to call the Park Ranger. But the lack of human
communication lies in the family itself also, Leonard Maltin wrote a bad review of The
Shining saying the problem with it was that there was never a bond between the father and
the son except in one scene and that lack of bond did not help the film go from a complete
happy family and to a completely broken family with that ended with horrific
consequences. That was not the point at all, the film concentrated on the final breakdown
of the family before the horror, it made the viewer realize that there were problems with
the family before when the father hurt the son when he was drunk. The pure lack of
communication between the two show that there bond is not really at all there but actually
is only with the son and the mother who spend their time together. The father is left alone
to his work during the stay at the Overlook Hotel. Another idea in the film is the ghost
idea, the ending shows that Jack is actually a ghost that was at the Overlook Hotel before
in 1921. So at the end when Jack is frozen to death he may not have actually died since it
seems his first death from his body in 1921 brought him to where he was in the movie.
Maybe death is open ended, sending him to different places in different roles. Time, as the
scientist Einstein and the philosopher Vico speculated, may be “bent,” and its cyclical
“shape” keeps us coming and going, back and forth, to other times, other realms. That
man’s mythical powers don’t die with him but that each death is a new beginning. This
theory would match what is in the movie, Jack seems controlled by the powers of where
he came from, the ghosts of the hotel that where in his first life companions of him, have
now convinced him to try to kill his family. Jack’s mythical powers are not independent
enough of where he came from to not to try kill his family. Also it seems when Jack
decided to kill his family, he was also deciding to destroy himself in this life. When one of
the previous caretakers killed his family, he then killed himself only to rejoin the hotel. But
what time period is Jack in when is speaking with the butler that happened to be that exact
caretaker? Is Jack back in the 1920s or did that caretaker actually go back to his former
life. There seems to be no answer. Is the life that Jack went to after he died at the ending
of film the one he started out as when he was at the Overlook Hotel in 1921? Still no
answers but many ideas. The Shining is filled with these endless observations that when
maybe put together could put a theory of the entire film itself. It also may not.

FULL METAL JACKET

A film broken into two parts that to this day leave some viewers confused to such a
structure of making any film, especially a war film that by the first part you would expect a
much more violent and bloody second part. But that is not so. The first part, even
considered a prologue by some, is the life of boot camp in which recruits are basically
molded to be killing machines because that is what marines are. Through out the boot
camp the entire life of the recruit is wrapped around the idea of killing and the importance
of the rifle. The recruits are told to give their rifle’s a girls name, they walk in line holding
their gun in one hand and their balls in another repeating lines or what the marines believe
in. This is basically the attempt to get the recruit to be sexually satisfied when firing a gun.
It doesn’t stop there, they say prayers together at night saying that they kill and the drill
sergeant says also that the only purpose a marine has is to kill so heaven is packed with a
fresh supply of souls. This is trying to justify their killing and satisfy their spiritual needs.
All of this with the constant repeating of shooting the gun, doing workouts, and anything
else that when done repeatedly will help them become more molded to the idea that they
are killers. The entire life of the recruit is engulfed by the idea that they kill. With this first
part most movies would have capitalized on the idea that they are killing machines, Full
Metal Jacket instead realizes that they are not at all killers, they just believe they are
because of all the hardships they went through in boot camp. When the second part begins
and the story is in the Vietnam War, the main character, The Joker, is saying all the talk he
is a real killer now. He even has “Born to Kill” written on his helmet. But it is all talk
because when the first moment that it seems Joker is going to have to get into some form
of battle he admits that he doesn’t think he is ready for the shit yet but coincidentally right
before he bragged to everyone else that he was in the shit and took it like a real man,
evening impersonating John Wayne, who could not be a better example of the real man
portrayed in films. Only in the end when Joker seeing the enemy lying on the ground, half
dead and female, asking to be killed does he get his first kill and understand the level one
has to go to kill. The camera is right on Joker’s face through out this kill and we see his
reaction when people around him start to make jokes about how she was killed, something
Joker may have done before hand, but he doesn’t respond to it like before, there is a
certain sadness on his face that understands war. The movie shows film not as bloody
battles but as kids in a dark place trying to look like heroes with an eager media wanting
heroes. Kubrick looked at the Vietnam War as the first war that was run like it would have
been run by an advertising company. Kubrick breaks the mold of going for the exciting
battles that every single war film before it did and focuses on what Vietnam was really
about.

EYES WIDE SHUT

The beginning of Eyes Wide Shut show Bill and alice preparing to attend a party and also
show how Bill is perfectly, completely unaware of the world around him. Alice is going to
the bathroom and he walks in thinking nothing is wrong and looks in the mirror. Alice
finishes and asks him how her hair is, he responds it looks great without even looking. She
forces him to look and he responds in the same manner as he still wasn’t looking but it
does show him looking at her. Then Alice talks about leaving a phone bumber for the
babysitter Roz, Bill a minute later asks what is the name of the babysitter and Alice has to
say it is Roz again. At the beginning when they enter the party, Alice says she desperately
needs to go to the bathroom when she went to the bathroom right before they left. Bill
doesn’t notice and says ok. Look at the title “Eyes Wide Shut,” it perfectly fits the
description of Bill is to his wife and that the film basically is set in a dream. When Bill and
Alice get into a fight over the idea that Bill thinks women can never cheat on men, they
just don’t do those things, Alice blows his world away by telling him of how one time she
saw a man that she would have given her entire family up just to be with but never did
because she didn’t see the same man after that one time of seeing but that she thought of
leaving him and their daughter to be with. Bill is stunned and shocked, he ends up walking
the streets thinking of her making love to this man and is determined to get revenge by
cheating on her. He always comes close to cheating on her but never does, he never
touches anyone else. He only thinks about touching someone else just like how she did. It
all goes wrong for Bill when he crashes an orgy that seems to be run by dangerous people
and he seems to come close to losing his life by doing so. The whole movie is based off
the idea that even though you didn’t do something wrong that you still thought about
doing it and it still caused the same amount of pain. The films then turns into the
anti-suspence film when Bill sees he is being followed and imagines a conspiracy around
what happened at the orgy when he got caught crashing it. Bill later finds out the orgy was
a charade set up to scare the shit out of him. So the suspence that he may be killed and the
danger that he was being followed was actually nonexistent. Even after he is told nothing
wrong happened at the orgy he still thinks there was wrongdoing, just as he thought about
cheating on his wife. Bill can’t forget things like that so easily so he feels guilt for it.
Everything in the film is fake, but it is made in a way that even after you realize it was all
fake it seemed too real so it still ends up for the two main characters as being something
so real that it almost ended their marriage. That they both wanted to cheat on the other
but never did, the idea of cheating still hurt the other one even when it did not happen.
Just how everything in dreams seem real but they are not.

Movies are becoming more and more limited in their scope each year. This isn’t just a
problem with Hollywood films, it is a problem with films made everywhere. More and
more simplistic story lines that try to satisfy the viewer on one viewing are what people
strive for when making a film because audiences have less amounts of time to actually
watch a film, people are working more and more and like for movies to be entertainment
alone. It is instant satisfaction everywhere and movies like Gladiator winning best picture
at the Oscars shows that these type of movies are now getting the respect for being good
pieces of art when they are not interesting in any sort, they are not even good. Good films
are not made for one viewing alone, they are made for multiple viewings when the viewer
realizes that there is more to it and wants to know more about the film so he watches it
again in hope to better understand it. That is what makes a good film.

~rougerum
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Old 07-25-2001, 12:00 PM   #2
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i dont like his films

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Old 07-25-2001, 12:31 PM   #3
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i do, but i wouldnt be able to reply at the same level, lol
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Old 07-25-2001, 04:35 PM   #4
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The man is a genius. Hands down. The people that don't like his movies are usually shallow minded conservatives who just choose not to look at the big picture Kubrick is trying to showcase. Nothing personal bonoman.

rougerum, you talk an awful lot about Kubrick. Is he your favorite moviemaker?
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Old 07-25-2001, 04:53 PM   #5
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I'm not exactly an expert on Kubrick (though i have seen all but two of his films) but i'm not too keen on him because his films often come across as being vacuous and somewhat incomprehensible. Mainly i think this is because of the fact that he never gives the audience characters which they can sympathise with and sometimes he's a bit too wry (eyes wide shut) or clever (2001) for his own good. I guess the latter point is debatable though because i thought 2001 was stupifying and nonsensical. It's even more odd when you consider that his first film (paths of glory?) was superb and really quite emotional despite all his other films being so cold and heartless.
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Old 07-25-2001, 10:11 PM   #6
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Good analysis, rougerum.

THE SHINING, being the first "horror" movie I ever saw as a kid, is probably my favorite of the genre. Perhaps I saw SALEM'S LOT earlier, but it scared the heck out of me with the green vampire dude and all. THE SHINING, though, I really enjoyed, eve as a kid. There are not movies I like to watch repeatedly, but it is one that I watch whenever I have the chance. Your analysis reminded me of the fact that every time I watch it, I notice something new in it and thus it changes my perspective. I've decided to read Stephen King's novel and see what impression that gives me. I don't know if you have read it, but I am curious as to whether there is any narrative background byond that which is in the film. I'll let you know my interpretation after reading it.

I liked your analyses of the other 2 films as well, but wanted to speak personally on THE SHINING.

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Old 07-25-2001, 10:56 PM   #7
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Misterboo, the reason why his films seem cold and heartless is because he is a satirist in every sense, he was always pessimistic about the human race in general. The reason Paths of Glory had emotion because it dealt with a story that required emotion to make is succeed, actually the woman at the end singing who was verbally abused by the soldiers was Kubrick's wife. To understand 2001 is to understand its structure or structures that lie within it. I actually thought of having 2001 as one of the films to be reviewed above but i figured his last 3 films were the misunderstood of all his film, 90% of the people i meet like 2001 a lot.

He is my favorite filmmaker so far that I have come across so far, he is the only filmmaker that I would call a genius, his talent extended farther than just making a good film. I could talk about how he built his own camera that after it was used to make a film (Barry Lyndon) it was never used again in any film and its price right now is priceless.

~rougerum
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Old 07-26-2001, 05:31 AM   #8
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Will reply more on this as soon as I have a long enough break to contemplate it. I enjoy Kubrick's movies a lot; even when I don't analyse them to bits, they are fun even on the most superficial level, really, give them a chance (, misterboo)! Perhaps the 'easiest' movie of his to watch is Lolita or even Eyes Wide Shut.

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Old 07-29-2001, 12:03 AM   #9
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I have not seen The Shining, cos I'm a scaredy-cat at such things.

Quote:
This is basically the attempt to get the recruit to be sexually satisfied when firing a gun.
It doesn’t stop there, they say prayers together at night saying that they kill and the drill
sergeant says also that the only purpose a marine has is to kill so heaven is packed with a
fresh supply of souls. This is trying to justify their killing and satisfy their spiritual needs.
I thought it was a very sad and anti-war movie, even though it was meant to be an objective view of war. Even with the scene where Joker suggested the duality of man with his Born To Kill helmet and Peace button badge, I felt like Kubrick was leaning more towards Peace.

Quote:
Everything in the film is fake, but it is made in a way that even after you realize it was all
fake it seemed too real so it still ends up for the two main characters as being something
so real that it almost ended their marriage.
That's very interesting; I never thought of tying up the fake suspense (are you sure it was fake, or was there real danger?? What about the beauty queen who died?) with the sexual fantasies of the couple i.e they seemed very real but were in fact just 'dreams'. I think this movie is very good because it was a subject close to Kubrick's heart, since he was a family man himself. It really presents the dilemmas of marriage and in fact resolves it in the end when the couple discuss the nature of fantasies and adultery and promise to try to be faithful, but without deluding themselves that their faithfulness will be forever. That is why it's a positive movie, I don't understand why critics said it was a dark one.

Quote:
movies like Gladiator winning best picture
at the Oscars shows that these type of movies are now getting the respect for being good
pieces of art when they are not interesting in any sort, they are not even good.
Gladiator was tawdry, to say the least. No comparison to Braveheart which is one of my all-time favourite films.

foray

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Old 07-29-2001, 01:13 AM   #10
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Actually Kubrick himself said that Full Metal Jacket was not an anti war film when he talked about before making the film how he wanted to make a film about war and someone immediately asked him wasn't paths of glory a war film. Kubrick responded that most people saw paths of glory as an anti war film and that he finally wanted to make a war film. Also notice unlike every war film made before it, there is no back story to any character, the movie completely focuses on the war.

It is actually fake suspense, because the beauty queen died from something completely unrelated to the orgy. The idea of the film is that if you understood the stucture of it from the beginning, that things that don't happen are just as real as things that do happen. Actually making the film real suspense with real danger at the orgy would go completely against the idea of the film and that is what even the best film critics when looking at Eyes Wide Shut did not understand, they thought when Tom Cruise was being told everything that really happened Kubrick was trying to end the story too conveniently when he was just keeping with the idea of the film, all the so called dangers of an orgy where not real at all but having gone through such a tramatic experience one can not forget and think all is fine, one still carries the guilt. Like when Tom Cruise confesses in guilt to Nicole Kidman all the things he tried to do but didn't she treats it as bad as he actually did cheat on her.

~rougerum
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Old 07-29-2001, 01:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by rougerum:
EYES WIDE SHUT

When Bill and Alice get into a fight over the idea that Bill thinks women can never cheat on men, they just don’t do those things
Kidman's character..."If you men only knew!" I love that line.

Well, I'm no Kubrick or film expert, so maybe someone can explain Kubrick's use of color in Eyes Wide Shut (which just so happens to be showing on HBO right now). He uses red and blue in a delibrate way, but I just can't figure out what he's going for. It doesn't seem to be the obvious, red when characters are lying or doing something "evil" and blue when an "innocent" character is in a scene.

Anyone got a clue on this?


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Old 07-29-2001, 02:43 AM   #12
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That's an interesting observation, Like O2! I must watch it again. I've only seen this movie once.

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Old 07-29-2001, 04:22 PM   #13
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The reason for the use of primary colors in the film was to forward the idea that the film was set in a dream world. Using colors that are off base with what you mostly see in the real world but that is an interesting idea on what each of those colors maybe stood for.

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Old 07-30-2001, 01:52 AM   #14
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The reason I started thinking about the colors in the first place is that I saw a Star War's exhibit at our Fine Arts Museum recently. Part of the narration described the use of color, mainly white and the absence of red in most scene. It was also mention that red will be the primary color for the setting of the final Star War's film.

I never considered Eyes to be in a dream state, but often wondered why all the Christmas lights look so bright. Will consider it from this new point of view next time it's on HBO.

This is an interesting thread.

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Old 08-01-2001, 01:28 PM   #15
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I have Full Metal Jacket.......and found Eyes Wide Shut very confusing..........
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