Kubrick at Cluj

in 11st Transilvania International Film Festival

by Alberto Castellano

In the rich and articulate programme of the 11th edition of the Transilvania International Film Festival, the complete retrospective of Stanley Kubrick was an important event not only because it was the opportunity to see again (and for many young people, to discover for the first time) the masterpieces of one of the greatest and most influential directors of the post-war era, the provocative and visionary movies of an obsessive and perfectionist auteur (from his first Killer’s Kiss to his last Eyes Wide Shut), but also for some rarities like his youthful shorts and some other additional items of interest.

In 1951 he shot his two first shorts. Day of the Fight is a 16-minute documentary on a day in the life of Walter Cartier, a middleweight boxer, who rises at 6 am, goes to church for mass, looks after his dog, lunches in a friend’s restaurant, enjoys a final training session and at last at the end of the day has a match. The nine-minute Flying Padre is about two days in the life of Reverend Fred Stadtmueller, a Catholic missionary whose New Mexico parish covers 400 square miles. In order to reach everyone in this huge area, he must use his plane called “The Spirit of St. Joseph”.

In addition the festival offered A. I. Artificial Intelligence directed by Steven Spielberg, because initially the director was just Kubrick, and some interesting documentaries. Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2001) by Jan Harlan, narrated by Tom Cruise, goes through each of Kubrick’s films and talks to various participants about their memories of working with the director, such as Arthur C. Clarke, Nicole Kidman, Jack Nicholson, Malcolm McDowell and Steven Spielberg. O Lucky Malcolm! (2006), also directed by Jan Harlan, is dedicated to the actor Malcolm McDowell, the star of A Clockwork Orange, tracing his life and career through interviews with his friends, family, directors and other actors. The film in particular deals with the intense relationship between McDowell and Kubrick. Once Upon a Time a Clockwork Orange (2011), directed by French filmmaker Antoine de Gaudemar, explores the origin, problems, and dark side of Kubrick’s 1971 film A Clockwork Orange in the context of a late ’60s background of protests against authoritarianism and violence. It examines the film’s relationship with the novel by Anthony Burgess on which it’s based, and the appeal of a damned work banned from the theatres of England until 2000.