Why Stanley Kubrick Still Matters

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I would say that about 50% of people don’t know the director before they watch a film. That annoys me. Actors are only a medium for the director’s creative genius. The shape and mould the artists like wet lumps of clay and make them extraordinary.

Kubrick is notorious for  taking books and transforming them into his own masterpieces. Stephen King has reportedy said that he hates the film adaptation of The Shining. Kubrick’s vision of  A Clockwork Orange  left an entirely different message than the book did. So why should we care about a man who  re-models other people’s hard work?

I admire Stanley Kubrick so much because he embraces that meaning is subjective. He takes a work of art and reads it, regardless of what the author deems as the intended meaning. Many people will take something at face value. Kubrick refuses.

Even though  A Clockwork Orange  is my favourite book of all time and is completely flawless in my eyes, I still regard the film adaptation as a masterpiece. He completely  captures Burgess’ vision of ultra-violence and the Ludovico Technique. The wonderful thing about Kubrick is his ability to create a polymerization of original and own vision, to create something extraordinary.

Kubrick never fails to mesmerise with his cinematography. 2001: A Space Odyssey remains as the most beautifully shot film I have ever seen. All of his films contain amazing camera shots. He is notorious for his use of one-point perspective; but it works beautifully. His amazing movies  span across many genres. Want an action film? Full Metal Jacket. Want a romance film? Lolita. Want a comedy? Dr. Strangelove.

I’ve always been interested in film and directing as I have mentioned before. Kubrick was probably the first person to inspire me to get into directing. He has been criticised for his number of takes in films. It took 97 takes before he was satisfied with Tom Cruise walking through a door in Eyes Wide Shut. It reportedly took 125 takes of Shelley Duvall climbing the stairs in The Overlook Hotel.

But for such a finicky, determined director, we are left with masterpieces. Films which have not been celebrated amongst those my age as much as they should be. Kubrick is one of my heroes, and always will be.

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.

– Stanley Kubrick

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Why Francis Bacon Still Matters

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My love for Francis Bacon was ignited in 2010 when I visited the Hugh Lane Gallery with my art class from school. Seeing his paintings opened up another realm for me. Margaret Thatcher once referred to him as “that man who paints those dreadful pictures”. He made many beautiful things grotesque. And I love the grotesque.

I fell in love with Francis Bacon mainly because of his focus on the unkempt  in his work. This disorder is reflected in his studio, which has been recreated exactly in the Hugh Lane Gallery. The artist once said:

“I believe in deeply ordered chaos.”

Bacon releases very twisted emotions in his work, especially in his triptychs. The artist unveils humankind’s most disturbing passions in his work. His triptychs particularly intrigue me. Bacon distorts and transforms the bodies of his subjects to make them animalistic and primitive. He reiterates to us that our natural desires are sexual. He draws special attention to our primal desires in Two Figures, Three Studies For A Crucifixion and Triptych inspired by T.S. Eliot’s poem “Sweeney Agonistes”There is also evidence of Bacon’s fascination with voyeurism. Bacon was not afraid to confront our obsession with observing others. Whether it’s porn or just simply admiring a beautiful person on the street, we cannot help to watch other people. We cannot help but to desire people. We help being transfixed by the appearance and form of others.

The triptychs are haunting sagas. They say that a picture says a thousand words. Bacon’s work’s are a book of tales from the very beginning of time. No other artist has put so much emotion into their work in my opinion. He made fresh, raw art that will preserved for decades.

My favourite piece by Francis Bacon has to be Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent XThe figure of the Pope is screaming, however, he cannot be heard. He is shrouded by dark clothes. The scene is almost as if the Pope is being held in captivity. To me, Bacon is exploring the issue of freedom of speech. The Pope, according to the Catholic faith, is God’s representative on earth. His duty is to speak God’s word. But he is a human being, and human beings are entitled to free speech. So what happens now?

Often we find ourselves speaking the words of others rather than speaking our minds. We trap ourselves into a never-ending cycle of conformity to “fit in” and fulfill our duties as socially acceptable people. The dark colours of this painting reflect the bleakness of normality and the horrid feeling of being the same as everyone else. We must all remove the drapes we are born under, to free ourselves from a boring life, and get our hands dirty.

“Ideas always acquire appearance veils, the attitudes that people acquire of their time and earlier time. Really good artists tear down those veils. “

Francis Bacon wasn’t afraid to shock. Francis Bacon wasn’t afraid to speak his mind. Francis Bacon was, is and always will be a hero.

Find more on Francis Bacon here.

Re-Cap of last weeks topics

I hope that you are all enjoying “Why It Still Matters”. I hope you have been inspired to investigate some of the people and things I have discussed over the past week. Today, I will be posting a few various links to deal with last week’s topics.

Tomorrow’s posts will be why Francis Bacon and Stanley Kubrick still matter.

Stay tuned! And thanks for reading!

Why King of the Hill Still Matters

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Although it left screens in 2010, King of the Hill remains one of the funniest TV shows to exist, in my opinion. It’s dry wit never fails to amuse. The hilarity of the characters and their lives exceeds the slapstick, vulgar comedy of Seth MacFarlane and his many mediocre productions.

Although it has never been as prominent as shows like The Simpsons or Family Guy, I would rather watch King of the Hill any day. Although it is animated, the stories and characters are very realistic. The creators, Mike Judge and Greg Daniels, parody American culture, attitudes and over-exaggerate stereotypes. Other popular animated shows do not have the refined humour that this show has. Family Guy and American Dad are to me, extremely mindless and filled with poorly constructed satire.

The show also has a long, rich celebrity guest history as well as having stars like Brittany Murphy and Kathy Najimy voice main characters. Meryl Streep, Kelly Clarkson, Chris Rock, Snoop Dogg, Arnold Schwazenegger and Gwen Stefani are among the many stars which have complemented the shows greatness.

My favourite character is Dale Gribble. Unlike his “best friend” and neighbour, Hank, he is not an avid supporter of the government, or America in general. He adopts the pseudonym “Rusty Shackleford” various times throughout the show in order to conceal his identity in his wrong-doings. Dale’s blunt and inexplicable attitude produces comedic gold. His quotes are definitely the funniest out of any other animated series.

“Boil up some Mountain Dew; it’s gonna be a long night.”

“Hell, I ain’t no quitter. I’ve been smoking for 30 years.”

“TV sets are getting smaller and smaller, and bigger and bigger. Soon the medium-sized set will be a thing of the past.”

Although I have criticised the ridiculous nature of other popular animated series, I think that Judge and Daniels have managed to balanced absurdity and realism to a point where the show could be easily performed as a live-action comedy.

TOP TEN KING OF THE HILL EPISODES:

  1. Peggy the Boggle Champ
  2. Plastic White Female
  3. Pretty, Pretty Dresses
  4. Lupe’s Revenge
  5. Megalo Dale
  6. The Peggy Horror Picture Show
  7. Love Hurts And So Does Art
  8. Peggy Hill: The Decline And Fall
  9. Peggy’s Magic Sex Feet
  10. Returning Japanese (Double Episode)