Spent yesterday afternoon, finally taking in the sprawling Kubrick exhibit currently taking residence at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and felt a need to share a few images and thoughts.
Despite the fact that this blog's initial function was to explore elements of film and pop culture more in line with more niche subgenres and concepts, there's no denying the influence of Stanley Kubrick in nearly all corners of my artistic and written life. My first Kubrick film was 2001, where it grabbed hold of a 5 year old ball of curiosity, and never sought any reason to let go. I vividly remember seeing Spartacus with family soon after, and then the ads came about for The Shining, the winter we lost John Lennon, as well as my parents going their separate ways. My first, forbidden taste of A Clockwork Orange came via late-night cable in Texas during a vacation stay with some folks in Houston. So many pieces of personal history, intertwined with the deep impressions his sights and sounds left within me, and perhaps ideas far beyond what a kid could possibly comprehend. Even when I didn't understand it, I couldn't help by replay the emotions on display endlessly.
The name. The images. The aura. It didn't have to make intellectual sense so much as emotional, and somehow his films got to me in ways noone else had. I felt his films initially, and to have this before growing older and sophisticated in my processes in order to better grasp the chaos and beauty on display.
I liken his works to a gateway. One with great consideration for new creative angles, and a yearning for familiarity to take a vacation, whilst not running away from some of the more troubling aspects of the human animal. An obsessive vision that dared me to seek out, rather than merely take in. To question, rather than merely accept. Most importantly, to embrace film as a collection of daydreams, nightmares, and contemplations on who we are, and where we are as a species.
I feel like as a whole, we are transformed by artists who find themselves capable of reaching to others in their own unique language. Kubrick remains that primary voice in my head that reminds me to not only listen to my instincts as an individual, but to better listen out for those speaking unique, but resonant languages. That the tribes exist, and that they work to bridge despite our reptilian ancestry.
His works are also a reminder of our current frailties, and that it is possible to spend a little time in the shoes of those which we do not understand, without judgment, or division. And that perhaps previous world models, for all their pragmatism, might not have been the most human, let alone humane.
Which is why I cannot help but find hope in films by international names such as Chan-wook Park and others. It is this unerring drive to get at the heart of the modern human by way of imagery and sound that Kubrick laid out a path for more powerfully than perhaps any filmmaker in the history of the cinema. It is important that we continue to explore the possibilities, regardless of language, culture, or background. The paths are as infinite as David Bowman's ultimate dive into the unknown, all Kubrick did was illuminate this revelation.