Diorama of an iconic scene in “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968)
The droog costume in “A Clockwork Orange” (1971)
Kubrick agonizing over the editing process in “2001”
Kubrick’s lenses and favorite Arri camera
“The 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.”
— Stanley Kubrick
Over the holidays, I was in southern California visiting my folks. Traveling to Los Angeles is also a chance for me to check out some of the crazy cool things happening in the city — chief among them right now — The Stanley Kubrick exhibit at LACMA.
I can count on my hand the number of times that I have felt transported by a museum exhibit, where you feel so steeped in the mindset and methodology of an artist that you want to stay in that head space for as long as you can. The Kubrick exhibit was one of those for me. I’m actually frightened by many of Kubrick’s films. I shut my eyes during that scene with Vincent D’Onofrio in Full Metal Jacket (1987), I turned away through most of The Shining (1980), and I nearly left the room early on in A Clockwork Orange (1971) because of the disturbing violence inflicted on a female character.
But for the momentary fear, there is always the lasting impression of the Kubrick experience — letting form and content settle and coalesce into a philosophy, a tone, and in many cases with Kubrick — a mythology. I still think about that very famous edit in 2001: A Space Odyssey where Kubrick cuts from the dawn of man sequence to a satellite in outer space, millions of years into the future. I don’t think one edit has ever made such an elegant connection about civilization — or cut across such a large span of time.
My favorite section of the exhibit was the analysis of musical score in his films. I was reminded that at the end of Full Metal Jacket (1987), the American infantry men are singing the theme song to the Mickey Mouse Club Theme Song (M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E) as they plod through the battlegrounds of Vietnam — an example of how a musical decision comments on the nature of war, the time period, and the subliminal martial elements within this song.
Excuse the lack of light in the photos. I was allowed to take photos but without flash.
Photo Credits:Heidi Saman