16 years ago today we lost one of the best – American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer, editor, and photographer Stanley Kubrick. Many other directors have cited him as inspiration (Stanley Kubrick is regarded by film critics and historians as one of the most influential directors of all time. Even when I was learning all about his work in film school, I was smitten with his style, imagery, color palettes and psychological framing…that’s a whole other blog post.
Leading directors, including Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, James Cameron, Woody Allen, Terry Gilliam, the Coen brothers, Ridley Scott, and Tarantino) and even TONS of notable artists from other genres have demonstrated his impact on their art.
Frank Ocean sampled the Nicole Kidman monologue from “Eyes Wide Shut” on his mixtape “Nostalgia, Ultra” for the song “Lovecrimes”.
Usher’s 1997 Music Video for “My Way” featured him styled as a “Droog” from “A Clockwork Orange” with the famous hat, cane and eye makeup to boot.
Not to mention, Eminem donned the cover of Spin Magazines 2001 Issue.
If you don’t know where to begin with Kubrick’s incredible and extensive catalog, here are my 3 picks that anyone can start with and ultimately appreciate and probably love!
A Clockwork Orange, 1971: This is a dystopian crime film adapted, produced, and directed by Stanley Kubrick, based on Anthony Burgess’s 1962 novella A Clockwork Orange. It utilizes disturbing, violent images to comment on psychiatry, juvenile delinquency, youth gangs, and other social, political, and economic subjects in a dystopian near-future Britain. If you are sensitive to these themes, you may want to not watch it – but, you would do yourself a disservice, as this film is one of his most influential.
The Shining, 1980: Described as a psychological horror film and starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall (“Olive Oyl”), this influential film will have you feeling like you are also losing your mind. It’s cool though! It is based on Stephen King’s 1977 novel The Shining, but – the film and novel differ in significant ways.
Eyes Wide Shut, 1999: This erotic thriller is based on Arthur Schnitzler’s 1926 novella Traumnovelle(Dream Story) transferred from early 20th century Vienna to 1990s New York. The film was directed, produced, and co-written by Stanley Kubrick. This was his last film, he died four days after showing his final cut to Warner Bros. studios. The film takes place in and around New York City, following the sexually charged adventures of “Dr. Bill Harford”, who is shocked when his wife, Alice, reveals that she had contemplated an affair a year earlier. He embarks on a night-long adventure, during which he infiltrates a massive masked orgy of an unnamed secret society. Sounds weird, yeah – totally. But if you haven’t seen it yet, you might recognize the influence it had on Mystikal’s “Shake Ya Ass” Music Video from 2000.
Don’t forget, this genius artist has many many more films that I didn’t even mention like; “A.I” and “2001: A Space Odyssey” or another favorite of mine “Lolita”. Start with these 3 and let me know how it goes!