Saturday, April 2, 2011


Having finally finished Don Watson's marvellous Recollections of a Bleeding Heart, I have moved on to John Baxter's insightful and funny Stanley Kubrick:  A Biography.  The Year of the Biography is going well, though I have been tempted by some friends to get back on the crime fiction and scifi bandwagon.  So far, I stand firm...
Brilliant, if a little long, Don Watson's book is well worth the read - especially if you are a fan of the good old days when parliamentarians could string a sentence together...

There are two quotes attributed to Kubrick that I have always loved, and that have made me interested in the character of the film maker.  The first, 
 "Perhaps it sounds ridiculous, but the best thing that young filmmakers should do is to get hold of a camera and some film and make a movie of any kind at all,"
is so very obvious, and in a sense, zen, that it's kind of like the old parable of the priest and the acolyte discussing the nature of reality.  The acolyte, attempting to come to grips with this, says to his teacher, "At last!  I understand!  There IS no reality!"  The priest, disgusted with his student's attempt at existentialism, slaps the young man hard in the face and says, "Then there is no pain!"  It's kind of like a "duh!" moment, which is really what (as far as I can gather, anyway) what zen is all about.  The second quote is one that characterises my own reckless and impulsive motto for living:
Brilliant, eccentric, and (unfortunately) gone.
" If you can talk brilliantly about a problem, it can create the consoling illusion that it has been mastered." (Bold added.)  
That is, you better be careful when talking bullshit.  Ha ha!
These insights, and his films (obviously) make him a fascinating character, and his works The Shining and Full Metal Jacket are amongst my favourites.  As crazy as these auteurs usually are, or at least seem, they add to the wealth of human culture, and their value is incalculable.

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