LACMA’s Kubrick exhibit attracts film fanatics

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is getting ready to say goodbye to the Stanley Kubrick exhibit, celebrating one of film’s most influential directors.
The exhibit opened back in November 2012 and is reaching its final date of June 30 this week. For long running Kubrick fans the exhibit gives a nostalgic bliss, for those new to his work, it gives an intriguing introduction to the director. To all museum visitors, the exhibit presents a small entry into the mind of Kubrick.
If you’re unfamiliar with the name Stanley Kubrick, I assure you that you’ve probably seen one of his films before, and if not that you’ve heard references, seen spoofs, or listened to a pop song with his name in the lyric. It would be hard to believe that you haven’t once in your life uttered the catchphrase, “Here’s Johnny” reminiscent of an insane Jack Nicholson. Kubrick’s work appealed to masses, even generations, and it continues to live on even after his death in March of 1999.
Before Kubrick had the titles director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer, and editor under his belt, he started his career behind the camera in his late teens photographing for Look magazine in the 1940s. He then went on to make his first film Fear and Desire and from there made films such as Paths of Glory, Spartacus, Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and Eyes Wide Shut. Many of his films are considered by many as cult classics.
One of the reasons why Kubrick’s films stand out is because he dealt with subject matters that pushed boundaries at their time of release, and sometimes still. He would tell the story of the unlikeliest characters, for example the pedophiliac nature of Professor Humbert, the slowly going insane Jack Torrance, and the very violent Alex.
Another reason for the success of Kubrick’s movies is the quality of the performances he got out of his actors. He was known to take dozens of takes of the same scene, not only to get the shot he wanted but also to mess with the psyche of the actor involved. Depending on the emotions a character was to portray, he would treat or rather I say mistreat some of his unlucky actors even off the set in order to get the actor in the right mindset at all times. And he also put a few actors in harmful real situations to get the best reactions. Although this sounds crazy these are common techniques that directors have used before and still do.
But one of the overall elements that stand out most in a Kubrick film is the look of his films. From the color schemes and patterns used on the set, camera angles, wide angle lenses used, long tracking shots, lightening and composition; these all yell Kubrick’s name when you watch any of his films. And yet with these essentials all of his films have their own specific look, he evolved with each production. It’s no wonder why he has become such an inspiration to many film directors today such as Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, and Martin Scorsese.
The setup to the exhibit at LACMA introduces in its first room earlier photographs taken by Kubrick from the 1940s and his personal camera lenses used on his film sets. After this every room after is each dedicated and decorated for one of his films, they include factoids about the production, production photographs, props and relics from the sets, and a television playing stand out scenes of the movies on loop. The feel when walking through the exhibit is close to the thrill of the old school haunted house rides at the fair, the sheer excitement for the surprise around the next turn. And near the conclusion of the exhibit is a large dark room with 2 screens playing a montage of famous scenes from all of his films. In here you can find many fan boys and art enthusiasts sitting on the floor of this dark room fully engaged to the screens before them.
It’s highly recommended that if you can make it, try to visit this exhibit before it closes on June 30, it wouldn’t hurt to get familiar with the work of Kubrick, I promise that his movies are on Netflix, you could even ask your elder relatives to borrow a Kubrick film from their vhs collection (Yes, these elders even know what’s up) because Kubrick’s type of genius is a rarity in film making, and Hollywood today, and there’s no say if and when the silver screen will be blessed with such a director.