I was a big fan of Sherlock Holmes thrillers with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Brice. I would
often wonder if some director would come along and produce a film where the audience got to
play the role of Sherlock Holmes. Stanley Kubrick would fill the bill. It appeared that
Kubrick saw film as something that did not really have to do with reality but was a form
of a dream, where an audience sits at the interface between reality and a dream sequence
on the screen. Just as many characters in our dreams have strong meaning to us, the story
line in Kubrick films were often latent with errors that go unnoticed to the conscious mind
but are sensed by the latent mind. Time and space were toyed with just as they are in our dreams and
characters would always have voids, making the audience scratch heads and fill in those voids.
To Kubrick, depth of a character was not filling in tons of detailed reasons why someone
behaved the way one does. That was too much like school was taught, shoveling
answers at people and tying all loose ends together, suffocating students. Depth of a
character lies in the voids that invite the audience to take part. So each of his characters branch into the audience, giving different meaning to each sitting there watching.
Dr. Strangelove ended with a rising sun.
2001 begins with a rising sun.
2001 ends with a star child starring at the audience.
A Clockwork Orange begins a teen age menace starring at the audience.
The symbols there and within those three films form a trilogy.
Pieces of Strangelove appeared in 2001.
Barry Lyndon, the Shining and Full Metal Jacket would be the second trilogy.
2001 was released on April 6, 1968 and Kubrick predicted that it wouldn't take off until
after the third week. It would be New Moon on the third week and the Michael Todd Cinestage,
where it would play for 52 straight weeks, was located on the east side of Dearborn at Lake
Street in Chicago. So when I walked into the theater the film was to begin with the Sun to my back and
the Moon in between. With the opening shot of the film, the Sun would be facing me with the
Moon and Earth in between. The north pole in the real world was to my left while the north
pole of the Moon and Earth in the opening shot was to my right, a violation of mirror
symmetry. Since the universe started with a violation of mirror symmetry, why not start a film the same way?
With the Earth located between the Moon and the Sun in the film's opening shot, any astronomer would notice that Grimaldi and Gassendi could easily be seen facing the audience. That puts the far side of the Moon facing the Earth, an impossibility. Kubrick would lace the film with many violations of the laws of physics but made the film
appear to be "real", a dream-like sequence. Kubrick would bombard the audience's senses more than any other science fiction film. His camera work would always leave the sense that free falling, body language, eating and breathing dominated the film, just as a newborn must first sense those same things at birth.
Rob Ager would provide by far the best analysis of his films I have read and he has many web pages
of evidence to back up his case.
The Shining would be his deepest film by far from my view although Barry Lyndon is now starting to draw
a lot of attention. Scroll down to the two vids on the Shining in the following you tube