One of his pictures [is] equivalent to ten of someone else’s. - Martin Scorsese
Legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick is as influential today as he was when he was alive and pushing the boundaries of filmmaking, and his visionary genius still stirs emotions and moves spectators to the point that we continue to engage and discuss the filmmaker’s outstanding works.
In celebration of his special day, A-BitterSweet-Life presents a library of all things related to Stanley Kubrick, from a documentary on the making of 2001: A Space Odyssey to lessons and tips on the art of cinema. Spark your journey through Kubrick cinema with Kubrick’s Kaleidoscope, a video essay that conveys “how much of Kubrick is embedded in the DNA of modern cinema” and finish with the grand Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures, a documentary about the life and work of the filmmaker.
Documentaries & Other Video Works:
For quotes and more, enjoy the Stanley Kubrick tag.
Explore the films and life of the great Stanley Kubrick with the documentary Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures by the filmmaker’s long-time assistant and brother-in-law Jan Harlan. Interviews with Woody Allen, Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, and more are arranged with clips from Kubrick’s films along with footage spanning his lifetime, as Tom Cruise narrates the fascinating look into a genius filmmaker.
A director is a kind of idea and taste machine; a movie is a series of creative and technical decisions, and it’s the director’s job to make the right decisions as frequently as possible…The best education in film is to make one. I would advise any neophyte director to try to make a film by himself. A three-minute short will teach him a lot. I know that all the things I did at the beginning were, in microcosm, the things I’m doing now as a director and producer.
The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning. Children, of course, begin life with an untarnished sense of wonder, a capacity to experience total joy at something as simple as the greenness of a leaf; but as they grow older, the awareness of death and decay begins to impinge on their consciousness and subtly erode their joie de vivre, their idealism—and their assumption of immortality. As a child matures, he sees death and pain everywhere about him, and begins to lose faith in the ultimate goodness of man. But if he’s reasonably strong—and lucky—he can emerge from this twilight of the soul into a rebirth of life’s élan. Both because of and in spite of his awareness of the meaninglessness of life, he can forge a fresh sense of purpose and affirmation. He may not recapture the same pure sense of wonder he was born with, but he can shape something far more enduring and sustaining. 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.
A collection of essential essays on Stanley Kubrick’s cinematic works! Enjoy the presentation by brightwalldarkroom—“A gathering of writers, poets, filmmakers, and artists to reflect on the movies that mean something to them: what they love, what they hate, what they can’t stop thinking about.”
Happy Birthday to Mr. Stanley Kubrick (legendary director/selfie pioneer).
"Stan Kubrick", as he was originally known in the earliest days of his career, would have been 86 years old today.
Here are all the Kubrick-related essays we’ve run on the site over the past five years, for your birthday reading enjoyment…
Katherine Spada on The Killing (1956)
Andrew Root on Spartacus (1960)
Bebe Ballroom on Lolita (1962)
Michelle Said on Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Ben Mauk on 2001: A Space Odyssey (1969)
Karina Wolf on A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Patrick Vickers on Barry Lyndon (1975)
Evan Bryson on The Shining
Letitia Trent on Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Andrew Root on Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Chris Cantoni on A.I.: Aritificial Intelligence (2001)
Malick’s goal as a filmmaker is to educate the human eye to see like his camera does. If our habits of vision are characterized by ambition, skepticism and greed, Malick inspires us with the virtues of patience, appreciation and awe. He offers not new facts or arguments but persuasive images of the world as if filtered through such virtues. - Jon Baskin
Terrence Malick was studying philosophy at Harvard, specializing in Heidegger, Kierkegaard, and Wittgenstein, when he decided to abandon his academic career in order to pursue filmmaking at the American Film Institute, enrolling alongside David Lynch and Paul Schrader. Bringing both philosophy and art together, Malick’s films portray to the spectator a poetic but human way of seeing, as if his interest in film demanded that he strengthen his cinematic sensibilities with his knowledge of philosophy. They also prove to be important studies in the art of cinema.
Journey through the cinematic works of Terrence Malick and get inspired by masterful filmmaking with The Screen Poetry of Terrence Malick and the makings of To the Wonder, The Tree of Life, and more!
In this series of behind the scenes videos, we get an insightful view of Terrence Malick’s approach to filmmaking. Despite his absence in the videos (of course!) his touch is felt throughout the series as actors Olga Kurylenko, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, and Javier Bardem, and producers Sarah Green and Nicolas Gonda and others share their perspectives on how it is to work with the filmmaker and his free-flowing style to making wondrous films.
The Tree of Life is an enrapturing experimentation in pure cinema, and the 28+ minute The Making of The Tree of Life is as captivating. The presentation offers a portrayal of each stage in the process of making The Tree of Life and includes interviews with Christopher Nolan, David Fincher, Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, and other collaborators who give a more personal look into the film.
Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven is one of the most stunning films ever. Its cinematography led to an award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the honors the film received extends to Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival 1979 and its selection into the National Film Registry in 2007 by the United States National Film Preservation Board. The fascination and admiration that rises with Malick continues today, and so a look into the shooting of his celebrated Days of Heaven is one to remember.
In Search of Terrence Malick explores the career of Terrence Malick from his first feature film, Badlands, to his second made five years later, Days of Heaven. “Terry’s films are both, they’re very different, but they both for me were very lyrical…poetry, visual poetry,” says Sissy Spacek who played the memorable role of Holly in Badlands. Her co-star Martin Sheen, playing Kit, adds, “When you look at a Malick frame, something happens to you, and it takes your breath away. You say, ‘My God, Haven’t I dreamt that?’” Both actors are spot on…In this 15 minute viewing, we learn a lot about what goes behind a Malick film.
Lord, Why? Where were you? Did you know? Who are we to you?
…A difficult film but one that impacts with its poetic and rapturous unfolding. Visually, it contains within its images both notions of beauty, that of the beautiful and that of the sublime. The visuals of nature and its elements, the creation of the universe from darkness and chaos, and the depiction of family life are intimate, enchanting, and awe-inspiring.
The Tree of Life will become one of those films that future generations will journey to. It will, if it hasn’t already, establish itself as a fine work of art, and that is one thing the viewer must reflect on. This is art, not merely entertainment.
If there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life.
Crowdfunding Support: Walking Devil and The Videoblogs
Sabrina Spilotro and Michael DiBiasio are two filmmakers I have had the pleasure to get to know. Sabrina runs the awesome Tumblr blog Fix It In Post, full of all kinds of film and filmmaking goodies, and though we haven’t met personally, I already admire her work. Michael recently held a private screening of his project Multiverse. Seeing his work on the big screen and meeting him in person reinforced the idea that there is a talented filmmaker in Michael, one that you too can get to know through his blog, The Blog of Michael DiBiasio.
Both filmmakers are currently seeking support for their upcoming projects. Take a look, donate, and/or share—the very least one can do to show independent filmmakers support is to spread news of their works!
Hey Mr. Nieves or Edwin or ummm :/ I'm an aspiring screenwriter/filmmaker I recently just graduated from high school and i've been writing alot of scripts to really craft my skills and all but I honestly don't really know what do next or what my next step is. I try to get as much information as possible from youtube and books and blogs like yours but I don't know, I just don't want to sell out and settle for something "stable" instead of what I'm passionate about, any insight would be great
Congratulations on graduating! And that’s great that you have been writing and fine tuning your approach and ideas. Sometimes it’s good to give yourself a challenge or work in situations like these, especially when you feel your creativity being negatively affected. If there’s a particular story you favor or an idea that seems to have potential, try to make it into a film. If you don’t have a big budget, focus on how you can use the resources available to you in creative and efficient ways without losing the heart of your story. Still, even a fun task like a montage of Drive, Le Samouraï, and A Bittersweet Life can lead to something. Letting your mind be at play can be an effective way to spark your creativity. What’s important is bringing what your passionate about into action, experiencing the process. With the additional interest of being well-informed, the more time you spend on your art and craft, the more opportunities you are creating for yourself in the future. Stability can also come from learning your craft well and getting work in film and video productions. Working on sets can be a great way to connect with future collaborators and friends, and you may very well dig the experience of being a part of production. Pursue your passion but be determined and patient, and remember that it takes time but better work happens with more work.
The image of the struggling artist is common to general audiences. Just as common to the public is the image of the genius artist. Delve presents a two-part series titled The Long Game in which the latter image is broken down, revealing that genius more than often grows from patience and the will to struggle through periods of difficulty. The difficult times in creative careers divide artists into two groups: there are those who persevere and others who give in. The ones who continue despite difficulties also more than often bring to light the reality of the struggling artist and genius artist concept.
History loves winners…the stories of great achievements by brilliant people but actually almost all of these stories are missing their most important detail.
The Long Game offers a fascinating telling of Leonardo da Vinci’s artistic career, illustrating that the most important detail in all of those stories including da Vinci’s own is that these brilliant people undergo stretches of time in their creative careers without meeting success and our modern desire for the immediate and overnight success misleads us to approach creativity with misguided expectations. Prior to 1498 and the masterpiece The Last Supper, da Vinci entered his 30s with an unsuccessful career and spent 17 years of fruitless work but constant practice with his art and ideas to get his big break at 46, elderly according to the life expectancy standards of his time. Mesmerizingly, The Long Game portrays how the time da Vinci spent pursuing his passion and collecting experience came together to drive him towards the creation of The Last Supper and how the modern world’s constant projection of “immediate gratification” gives the wrong impression of what it takes to be creative and successful.
This celebration of youth coupled with technology has distorted our perception of time. The world moves faster and so do our expectations. Today, we want success in 17 levels, or 17 minutes, 17 seconds, and when the promise of something new and better is just a click away, who wants to wait 17 years? But that’s the thing that connects all of these great people: they played the long game. All of us have the brain, and the talent, and the creativity to join them. But now, right when it matters, do any of us have the patience?
All Aboard: The Filmmaker’s Journey also echoes the message of The Long Game as relating to the filmmaker and hopefully inspires cinematic storytellers to continue exploring the art of cinema:
Orson Welles directed three short films before making his debut feature film, the celebrated Citizen Kane. The first short film was The Hearts of Age, made in 1934; the second was Too Much Johnson, made in 1938; and the third was The Green Goddess, made in 1939. Citizen Kane was made in 1941. It was after seven years of work that Orson Welles found himself to be opening the doors into the film industry.
Thirty-six years later, David Lynch released his first feature film, Eraserhead. It took him six years to make the film. Three years later he was approached to direct The Elephant Man.
Most great things take time. On this journey in filmmaking, remember that and especially highlight it when times are filled with doubt. Further, an important thing to stress during this time is that by being on the path you are already succeeding.
Deakins: Shadows in the Valley
Roger Deakins is a master filmmaker whose work in cinematography further pushes the art of cinema. He is a perfect example of a filmmaker striving for artistic excellence while being aware that it is all in the service of the film. Beauty and utility should meet in perfect harmony, and one needs only to watch the works of this cinematographer to see these elements in union. From The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford to No Country for Old Men, enjoy this video presentation by Plot Point Productions and journey through the visually breathtaking cinematography of Roger Deakins.
The Cinematography of Roger Deakins
Dive further into the masterful cinematographer’s world with Filmmaking Wisdom from Roger Deakins: I genuinely feel that cinematography, like photography in general, is not something that can be learned but, pretentious as it may sound, can only be discovered.