Even though Kubrick’s work which is almost synonymous with British Film, a filmography that includes 3 shorts and 16 features predominantly shot in the UK, The Stanley Kubrick Exhibition has traveled all over the world from Europe to Australia and has finally alighted here in Los Angeles to the delight of what rightly so, feels like and entire city filled with cinephiles.
As you walk through the entrance doors into the first room in this expansive exhibition, the mood is set with a short film that highlights clips from a number of Kubrick’s features with quotes from the director superimposed across some of the most iconic images and scenes from the 20th century. At times you feel entertained and maybe a little nostalgic, remembering where you first were when you saw those images, but mostly one gets an eery feeling that as they are about to leave the safety of that darkened room, all of the horrors and strangeness of the stories he has told were waiting for you just on the other side.
While that feeling is almost inescapable when considering the body of work that Kubrick has created, once outside of that first screening room the deconstruction of a man’s private obsessions comes to light under the spot lights of the LACMA. Twisting through what seems like a never ending maze of pictures and models and costumes and annotated scripts, one of the most stand out pieces of the show is the type writer used by Jack Nicholson in “The Shining” with the original papers typed in uneven lettering, still eery even so far removed from The Overlook Hotel and under the bright lights of an exhibition hall. Accompanying it just across the way, are the two little blue and white dresses of the same film’s most dreaded stars, the undead twins. Rather desperately needing breath of fresh air and moving on, true to the contrasting subject matters of Kubrick’s work, the next room contained two bright white statures from the Korova Milk Bar in “A Clockwork Orange”, one of my favorite films, both in the same explicit positions for over 40 years, unmoved by time or continent or reality.
As an actor, my favorite parts of the exhibition were the occasional screens showing behind the scenes shots of Kubrick talking to his actors. Muffled by the many sounds of other screenings and the scuffling of feet, you can only see the faces of the actors, still in costume and on set watching themselves on screen, deep in thought, eyebrows knit in concentration with Kubrick perched to one side like a shoulder angel waiting for his moment to whisper… and when that moment comes, the faces of the actors changes and open in a moment of enlightenment that steers them into the direction of genius.
And genius is exactly what you’ll feel you’ve experienced as you exit the show a little while after that. A man who’s career has influenced and inspired directors from Spielberg to Scorsese, Woody Allen to Ridley Scott now feels personally closer- The great feat of any retrospective show, accomplished.
Contributing Editor: Margo Stilley
Image Credit: http://stateofunique.com/