One of the truly great masters of the cinema, Stanley Kubrick’s films are a perfect fit for the Byrd Theater. His visual acumen and striking compositions; his sense of scale in tandem with his films’ grand themes (humanity’s relationship to technology; the punishing nature of war; crime, greed, and distrust; our relationship to history; the perils of marriage and intimacy); his lively, dry wit— these qualities distinguish Kubrick’s movies throughout his illustrious career.
We’ve selected one of his first features, The Killing (1956), and his last, Eyes Wide Shut (1999), as well as several high spots in between to share with audiences in May.
Take in his scrupulous visual design in the service of his heist film, The Killing, and its plot’s inexorable meeting-out. Witness the remarkable hypocrisy of the French officer class in the fact-based, ironically rendered World War I film Paths of Glory (1957)—which makes stunning use of one of Kubrick’s stylistic techniques, the guided tracking shot.
Witness his satire of both right-wing and leftist British politics in his futurist A Clockwork Orange and revel in its use of an original scoring of Beethoven’s greatest symphonies. Give yourself over to the lush period details and hypnotic slowness of his historical epic Barry Lyndon and its gorgeous, dark rendering of 18th century British aristocracy. Dare yourself to look away from the aura and spectacle of the mountainous setting for the Overlook Hotel – as well as Jack Nicholson’s manic performance – and its deeply historical haunting in The Shining.
See the lacerating performance of the late, great Lee Ermey as the Marine Corps drill sergeant from hell, Gunnery Sgt. Hartman, and the film’s mockery of Vietnam War basic training. Then finish out the retrospective with Kubrick’s final film, Eyes Wide Shut, featuring the then-married Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman as a professional New York couple beset by doubt and sexual guilt in a story based on the Austrian Arthur Schnitzler’s Freudian novella, Traumnovelle (Dream Story).
This ambitious series is for true cinephiles! Any lover of film – or of Kubrick’s unique cinema art – will be richly rewarded by seeing all or any of these movies at the Byrd. Only the Byrd offers the opulent environment and outsized screen on which Kubrick and other great directors intended their movies to be seen. Enjoy this rare opportunity to share his visual imagination and his probing of human folly.