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Through the Lens: Stanley Kubrick

‘If it can be written, or thought, it can be filmed’

Stanley Kubrick passed away a little over 25 years ago, a mere six months before his last film was set to hit screens, and despite the fact that he never got to see the final product of his beloved Eyes Wide Shut, his legacy had already been cemented as one of the most impressive directors Hollywood had ever seen.

Kubrick, a true visionary, reshaped the industry landscape. His films, from the fearless storytelling of Full Metal Jacket to haunting portrayals of grief in The Shining and distress in A Clockwork Orange, were both creative and controversial, each telling a different, unique tale. Unlike many directors that came after him, Kubrick never duplicated his success; he thrived on unconventional storytelling.

His legacy is undeniable. It’s difficult to have a conversation about films and cinema without referencing Kubrick. Even today, his work sets the bar. Take 2001: A Space Odyssey, released in 1968, a year before Neil Armstrong's lunar landing: it's timeless appeal still resonates more than most Science-Fictions films today.

Was he the greatest filmmaker of all time? A visionary ahead of his era? Those conversations are fascinating.

Kubrick’s cinematic journey began in 1952, with the release of Fear and Desire at just 24 years old. Whilst it didn’t receive critical acclaim, Kubrick persisted, continuing to prove his potential as a director, releasing five films before giving us Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb in 1962. Amongst his best.

Kubrick was committed to making films that would be remembered long after he was gone. This was always the motto. None were as meticulous in the cinema industry as he was. Spielberg himself, a titan in filmmaking, hailed Kubrick's unparalleled skill:

“The genius in Stanley is you could look at a film of his fifteen times, and even though you know what’s around the corner, you’ll give it up and you’ll be surprised all over again, I don’t know anybody else who possesses that kind of magic. [...] No one was able to shoot a film better than Kubrick.”

Many filmmakers are remembered for their work, but few captivate beyond their work like Kubrick. Who was the man behind the lens? Described as remarkable, disciplined, and gifted, Kubrick's early years, steeped in literature and photography, shaped his meticulous approach to storytelling.

Don't miss these cinematic gems returning to the big screen as part of our Through The Lens: Stanley Kubrick season. Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is showing from 22 May; A Clockwork Orange from 24 May; The Shining (Extended version) from 31 May; Full Metal Jacket from 13 June, whilst the ground-breaking 2001: A Space Odyssey will be shown to all film enthusiasts from 19 June. Grab your tickets today!

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Blog written by team member Leo Hewitt-Provost, based at The Light Thetford

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