Sunday, July 26th, is the birthday of easily one of the best filmmakers to ever live, and probably my favorite, tied with Sergio Leone. That of course is Mr. Stanley Kubrick, who would have been 87. It’s strange to me to think that he died 16 years ago, and that he was only 70 (it was before his birthday). That seems so young, considering how much work he still wanted to do, and how filmmakers like Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen are still unloading movies on a regular clip well into their 70s.
But Kubrick wasn’t a do-a-bunch-of-movies guy. Every single movie he chose to do was a major decision; he devoted his whole life to making his movies. It’s been well documented how much he researched and planned and designed and slaved over every detail of his movies, and a lot of that was before he’d ever cast anyone or even written a lone of dialogue. He spent years and years researching an ultimately unmade movie about Napoleon, another several years on a holocaust project that got shelved because of Schindler’s List. He had a lot more movie in him, he just didn’t know how to move quicker.
And it’s for these reasons that I think his canon stands so apart from most other filmmakers. He only directed 13 films in a 46-year span. That’s not a very high average, one every 3.5 years or so. But the movies he did make are unmistakably his. There is a definite visual style to each of his films (maybe with the exception of Spartacus which was his only director-for-hire gig), a crispness and depth of field that few other directors could match. He’s often criticized for his movies feeling very clinical, very sterile, but I think that’s precisely why he’s so great. His movies are, to his eye at least, the perfect example of his vision on film.
Below, Vimeo user and editor Gabriel Fasano has created a gorgeous five-minute supercut of images from each and every one of Kubrick’s films, showcasing just how much like paintings each of his frames were. Setting clips to pieces of music ranging from Beethoven to the Rolling Stones to Radiohead, Fasano compiles clips from 12 of Kubrick’s films (he leaves out 1953’s Fear and Desire, which is rather okay because Kubrick himself didn’t care fro that one much) to show the many different sides of the man’s career — The humor, the fear, the excitement, the gravity, the grandeur. Stanley Kubrick was truly one of a kind.
Let us know in the comments below which of Kubrick’s films have the biggest effect on you.
IMAGE: LIFE Magazine