Kubrick, Stanley (1928–1999) By Oveisy, Fouad
Stanley Kubrick (b. 26 July 1928, Bronx, New York, US; d. 7 March 1999, St Albans, England) was a key late-modernist American director renowned for his creative use of cinematic elements, a bold approach to the human subject’s existential dilemmas, and a controversial tendency towards grotesque subject matter. Even though the themes and cinematic styles vary greatly throughout Kubrick’s oeuvre, the human relationship with technology and government, the individual’s traumatic response to sexual and societal norms, and the mass conditions in the wake of war and violence capture the gist of his philosophical focus on the limitations of modernity.
Kubrick’s films fall into the modernist tradition of aesthetic formalism. In the science fiction 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), he effectively uses the Eisensteinian techniques of rhythmic, tonal and intellectual montage to comment on technological teleology, human enlightenment, and the origin of violence. Kubrick established his early reputation with the noir The Killing (1956), and the World War I drama Paths of Glory (1957). The adaptations Lolita (1962) and A Clockwork Orange (1971) brought him worldwide success and acclaim. Later in his career, the psychological thriller The Shining (1987) and the Vietnam film Full Metal Jacket (1987) cemented his status as a fierce yet highly controversial critic of modern society, human nature, and the capitalistic machines of war and patriarchy.