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March 7: Stanley Kubrick

March 7, 2011

The masterful film director Stanley Kubrick died on this date in 1999 at the age of 70. Paths of Glory, Spartacus, Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, and A Clockwork Orange are among his best-known works, all of them long-gestated and carefully crafted; Kubrick was a perfectionist and strove to maintain control of his movies by remaining independent of the major studios. American-born and raised, he spent most of his adult life in Great Britain and had a phobia about flying that reinforced his reclusiveness. While some of his thirteen films had progressive, humanistic, and anti-war themes, he was generally thought to be politically conservative. “Man isn’t a nobel savage,” he said, “he’s an ignoble savage . . . irrational, brutal, weak, silly, unable to be objective . . . . And any attempt to create social institutions on false view of the nature of man is probably doomed to failure.”

“The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent, but if we can come to terms with the indifference, then our existence as a species can have genuine meaning. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.” —Stanley Kubrick