6. Stanley Kubrick (1928 – 1999)
Unlike other directors whose backgrounds are pulled apart to create a psychological profile meant to better understand their work, Stanley Kubrick never let on much about his past. His interest was based on aesthetics, making his contribution to the cinema relatively undiluted. And yet it was his confessional style that revealed vulnerability: he was using film to express emotion, and did so better than any contemporary director. Rather than have the audience watch an experience, Kubrick invited them to be part of it. Audiences felt the exhilaration of space travel gone awry with 2001, were horrified by the violence entrenching “their” city in A Clockwork Orange, experienced the psychosis of desolation in The Shining and tasted the appeal of adultery in Eyes Wide Shut. Kubrick’s films are not voyeuristic: they’re all-sensory adventures. But his films at not always love at first sight, either. Deeply layered in metaphorical meaning, they often require a certain digestion period—if not a second viewing—to fully realize their implications. Says editor Steve Hamilton: “[Kubrick is] the master of big (really big) budget
Though he worked in many different genres, tackling horror, sci-fi, literary adaptations and war with just as much ingenuity, Kubrick never made a straight ‘genre’ film. Like the work of Hitchcock, Kubrick’s work displayed a full range of emotion. What could be horrifying one moment could become bitingly funny the next. His work was too complex to fit neatly into any one category, and he went about reinventing each new genre he touched, in essence making “A Kubrick Film” its very own label.