Stanley Kubrick Quotes

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Quotations by Stanley Kubrick.

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A film is - or should be - more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what`s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.

A filmmaker has almost the same freedom as a novelist has when he buys himself some paper.

How could we possibly appreciate the Mona Lisa if Leonardo (Leonardo Da Vinci) had written at the bottom of the canvas, `The lady is smiling because she is hiding a secret from her lover`? This would shackle the viewer to reality, and I don`t want this to happen to 2001.

To make a film entirely by yourself, which initially I did, you may not have to know very much about anything else, but you must know about photography.

(on Charles Chaplin) Chaplin is all content and little form. Nobody could have shot a film in a more pedestrian way than Chaplin.

I`ve never achieved spectacular success with a film. My reputation has grown slowly. I suppose you could say that I`m a successful filmmaker - in that a number of people speak well of me. But none of my films have received unanimously positive reviews, and none have done blockbuster business.

The criminal and the soldier at least have the virtue of being against something or for something in a world where many people have learned to accept a kind of grey nothingness, to strike an unreal series of poses in order to be considered normal.... It`s difficult to say who is engaged in the greater conspiracy - the criminal, the soldier, or us.

Part of my problem is that I cannot dispel the myths that have somehow accumulated over the years. Somebody writes something, it`s completely off the wall, but it gets filed and repeated until everyone believes it. For instance, I`ve read that I wear a football helmet in the car.

Anyone who has ever been privileged to direct a film also knows that, although it can be like trying to write `War and Peace` in a bumper car in an amusement park, when you finally get it right, there are not many joys in life that can equal the feeling.

Call it enlightened cowardice, if you like. Actually, over the years I discovered that I just didn`t enjoy flying, and I became aware of compromised safety margins in commercial aviation that are never mentioned in airline advertising. So I decided I`d rather travel by sea, and take my chances with the icebergs (...) I am afraid of aeroplanes. I`ve been able to avoid flying for some time but, I suppose, if I had to I would. Perhaps it`s a case of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing. At one time, I had a pilot`s licence and 160 hours of solo time on single-engine light aircraft. Unfortunately, all that seemed to do was make me mistrust large aeroplanes.

I haven`t come across any recent new ideas in film that strike me as being particularly important and that have to do with form. I think that a preoccupation with originality of form is more or less a fruitless thing. A truly original person with a truly original mind will not be able to function in the old form and will simply do something different. Others had much better think of the form as being some sort of classical tradition and try to work within it.

Perhaps it sounds ridiculous, but the best thing that young filmmakers should do is to get hold of a camera and some film and make a movie of any kind at all.

(on An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)) I think Louis Gossett Jr.`s performance was wonderful, but he had to do what he was given in the story. The film clearly wants to ingratiate itself with the audience. So many films do that. You show the drill instructor really has a heart of gold - the mandatory scene where he sits in his office, eyes swimming with pride about the boys and so forth. I suppose he actually is proud, but there`s a danger of falling into what amounts to so much sentimental bullsh*t.

I think the big mistake in schools is trying to teach children anything, and by using fear as the basic motivation. Fear of getting failing grades, fear of not staying with your class, etc. Interest can produce learning on a scale compared to fear as a nuclear explosion to a firecracker.

I have a wife, three children, three dogs, seven cats. I`m not a Franz Kafka, sitting alone and suffering.

Sanitized violence in movies has been accepted for years. What seems to upset everybody now is the showing of the consequences of violence.

The destruction of this planet would have no significance on a cosmic scale

I believe that drugs are basically of more use to the audience than to the artist. I think that the illusion of oneness with the universe, and absorption with the significance of every object in your environment, and the pervasive aura of peace and contentment is not the ideal state for an artist. It tranquilizes the creative personality, which thrives on conflict and on the clash and ferment of ideas. The artist`s transcendence must be within his own work; he should not impose any artificial barriers between himself and the mainspring of his subconscious. One of the things that`s turned me against LSD is that all the people I know who use it have a peculiar inability to distinguish between things that are really interesting and stimulating and things that appear to be so in the state of universal bliss that the drug induces on a "good" trip. They seem to completely lose their critical faculties and disengage themselves from some of the most stimulating areas of life. Perhaps when everything is beautiful, nothing is beautiful.

I don`t mistrust sentiment and emotion, no. The question becomes, `Are you giving them something to make them a little happier, or are you putting in something that is inherently true to the material?` Are people behaving the way we all really behave, or are they behaving the way we would like them to behave? I mean, the world is not as it`s presented in Frank Capra films. People love those films - which are beautifully made - but I wouldn`t describe them as a true picture of life. The questions are always, is it true? Is it interesting? To worry about those mandatory scenes that some people think make a picture is often just pandering to some conception of an audience. Some films try to outguess an audience. They try to ingratiate themselves, and it`s not something you really have to do. Certainly audiences have flocked to see films that are not essentially true, but I don`t think this prevents them from responding to the truth.

I don`t think that writers or painters or filmmakers function because they have something they particularly want to say. They have something that they feel. And they like the art form; they like words, or the smell of paint, or celluloid and photographic images and working with actors. I don`t think that any genuine artist has ever been oriented by some didactic point of view, even if he thought he was.

I`ve got a peculiar weakness for criminals and artists, neither takes life as it is. Any tragic story has to be in conflict with things as they are.

I believe (Ingmar Bergman), (Vittorio De Sica) and (Federico Fellini) are the only three filmmakers in the world who are not just artistic opportunists. By this I mean they don`t just sit and wait for a good story to come along and then make it. They have a point of view which is expressed over and over and over again in their films, and they themselves write or have original material written for them.

{on the complaint that his films were emotionally cold] I ought not to be regarded as a once happy man who has been bitten in the jugular and compelled to assume the misanthropy of a vampire.

The screen is a magic medium. It has such power that it can retain interest as it conveys emotions and moods that no other art form can hope to tackle.

If it can be written, or thought, it can be filmed.

The great nations have always acted like gangsters, and the small nations like prostitutes.

Art consists of reshaping life but it does not create life, nor cause life.

I would not think of quarreling with your interpretation nor offering any other, as I have found it always the best policy to allow the film to speak for itself.

A film is - or should be - more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what`s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.

I never learned anything at all in school and didn`t read a book for pleasure until I was 19 years old.


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