How much are we missing intelligent, creative directors such as Stanley Kubrick in the new millennium? Twenty years after his death, the Design Museum in London stages an exhibition centering on the creative directive process of Kubrick’s very distinctive filmmaking. He possessed the eye of a photographer, the narrative mind of a novelist and the technological curiosity of a child born in the second millennium all qualities that put him miles ahead of his own time and of his peers in the film industry. London became his home in the sixties of the last millennium, in search of creative freedom. He never left. He just recreated the world in his own back garden. Elstree Studios and extremely well researched locations in London became in turn Oregon for the Shining, the battered Vietnam of Full Metal Jackets, even New York as depicted in Eyes Wide Shut. We are given exclusive access to original letters from people criticizing or distancing themselves from the director toxic brand throughout his career. Including the hotel depicted in The Shining requesting Kubrick to use a non-existent room number as the association with the thriller would clearly discourage their potential customers. Amazing to hear how much business they are currently generating through the association with The Shining with tourists boasting they slept in the room that was the set of the film. Sorry to break the news, it actually wasn’t.
It is both magical and terrifying to view film props, production drawings by Saul Bass and Ken Adams and costumes. Walking from room to room and travelling chronologically into different film sets and historical periods, I feel like taking a chilling, lysergic trip not only into Kubrick’s methodical, obsessive, analogue mind, but being allowed a universal insight into the scary nature of the human mind.