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Saturday, 6 July 2013

2013: A Kubrickian Odyssey - Introduction

I have quite a few notable gaps in my film viewing. Fight Club, Schindler's List, Goodfellas, Apocalypse Now; just a handful of films that any self-respecting film fan should have seen. I've also yet to see any film of many notable directors; Kurosawa, Hawks, Altman, Fellini, Bergman. I'm constantly trying to fill in the gaps, but there are only so many hours in the day.

One of the most prominent omissions in my opinion is that I have seen so few of Stanley Kubrick's films. Widely regarded as one of the most gifted and talented directors, Kubrick could not be pigeonholed and left behind an incredibly varied filmography. Yet despite this status, I have only seen one of his sixteen films: The Shining. I also watched a lot of Spartacus during Latin lessons at school (one of the the benefits of a classical education). This was not due to any specific reason; the right opportunity had never presented itself (as a film fan, it's no easy feat to keep up with modern releases as well as exploring the films on offer from the 20th century).

Last year a new Blu Ray box set was released, featuring seven of Kubrick's films: Lolita, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut. Any North American or Canadian readers may note that the collection was released with another two films in their countries, Spartacus and Dr Strangelove, as well as a 48 page book and sturdier packaging. I'm not bitter about this and have totally got over it.

Prior to digging into the set, I came up with the idea of watching all of Stanley Kubrick's films in order. He only made thirteen feature films in his career and with my new box set containing seven of them, it seemed like an entirely feasible task. So over the next few months, I shall be watching all of the films in order and then posting my thoughts on each one. If I have time, I shall also watch some of his short films as well as some of the many documentaries about him.

For the first half of his filmography, I shall be reliant on DVD rental services and so the posting of reviews may be a little erratic.

Coming soon: A look at Stanley Kubrick's first film (which he later distanced himself from), Fear And Desire.

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