Discover the Life & Work of Stanley Kubrick in a Sweeping Three-Hour Video Essay

For at least fifty years, the work of Stan­ley Kubrick has con­sti­tut­ed an ide­al object of study for seri­ous cinephiles. Now that the tech­no­log­i­cal democ­ra­ti­za­tion of the past decade has allowed some of the most seri­ous cinephiles to become video essay­ists, that study has flow­ered into a host of mini-doc­u­men­taries close­ly exam­in­ing the tech­niques of all of film his­to­ry’s most scru­ti­niz­able auteurs. The sub­field of Kubrick-themed video essay­ism recent­ly reached a new high water­mark with film­mak­er Cameron Beyl’s five-part, three-hour Direc­tors Series study of the man’s life and work.

“Every liv­ing film­mak­er today works under the shad­ow of Stan­ley Kubrick,” says Beyl in his nar­ra­tion toward the end of the series. “His roller-coast­er ride of a career last­ed 45 years and spanned two con­ti­nents, leav­ing four­teen fea­tures and count­less inno­va­tions in its wake.

In mak­ing his films, Kubrick ulti­mate­ly want­ed to change the form of cin­e­ma itself. His explo­ration of alter­na­tive sto­ry struc­tures and new forms of expres­sion result­ed in sev­er­al ground­break­ing con­tri­bu­tions to the devel­op­ment of the craft itself.”

If you want to find out much more about the nature of those ground­break­ing con­tri­bu­tions, block out the time and watch Beyl’s analy­ses of each peri­od of Kubrick­’s career: the time of his ear­ly inde­pen­dent fea­tures (Fear & DesireKiller’s KissThe Killing), the Kirk Dou­glas years (Paths of Glo­ry and Spar­ta­cus), the Peter Sell­ers come­dies (Loli­ta and Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Wor­ry­ing and Love the Bomb), the mas­ter­works (2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clock­work OrangeBar­ry Lyn­don, and The Shin­ing), and the final fea­tures (Full Met­al Jack­et and Eyes Wide Shut.)

The project leaves no aspect of Kubrick­’s mas­tery unmen­tioned: his painstak­ing research habits, his much-dis­cussed take-after-take-after-take shoot­ing method on set, his care­ful method of dis­cov­er­ing each film’s form in the edit­ing room, his eager­ness to incor­po­rate new tech­nol­o­gy into his pro­duc­tions, and his fin­ished pic­tures’ simul­ta­ne­ous embod­i­ment and sub­ver­sion of genre. It makes us ask the obvi­ous but seem­ing­ly unan­swer­able ques­tion: who’s the next Stan­ley Kubrick? But Beyl actu­al­ly has an answer, and one that has become the sub­ject of his next series, already in progress: David Finch­er. The direc­tor of The Game, Fight Club, and The Social Net­work has big shoes to fill —  or so he’ll real­ize even more clear­ly if he watch­es the Kubrick series him­self.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Sig­na­ture Shots from the Films of Stan­ley Kubrick: One-Point Per­spec­tive

The Shin­ing and Oth­er Com­plex Stan­ley Kubrick Films Recut as Sim­ple Hol­ly­wood Movies

Lost Kubrick: A Short Doc­u­men­tary on Stan­ley Kubrick’s Unfin­ished Films

Napoleon: The Great­est Movie Stan­ley Kubrick Nev­er Made

Explore the Mas­sive Stan­ley Kubrick Exhib­it at the Los Ange­les Coun­ty Muse­um of Art

The Mak­ing of Stan­ley Kubrick’s A Clock­work Orange

Ter­ry Gilliam: The Dif­fer­ence Between Kubrick (Great Film­mak­er) and Spiel­berg (Less So)

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture as well as the video series The City in Cin­e­ma and writes essays on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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