Kubrick Classics Debut at the Museum of Fine Arts

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Bianca Rullo  Journal Contributor

Director Stanley Kubrick became a legend in the film industry through his acclaimed works that never failed to shock and captivate audiences. There is no doubt that his five-decade-long career produced a noteworthy catalog and gained him a cult following made up of people varying in age and background. If you are one of these people and weren’t born in time to witness any of his masterpieces on the big screen – the Museum of Fine Arts has you covered!

Throughout this month, the MFA is treating movie buffs and Kubrick fanatics alike with an authentic cinema experience by screening a retrospective collection of Kubrick’s work from 1953’s Fear and Desire to 1999’s Eyes Wide Shut. With the exception of Lolita, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and A Clockwork Orange, all films will be shown in their original 35mm. Films included in the “Films of Stanley Kubrick” series will also be premiering in chronological order with ticket prices ranging from $7-11. Specific dates and prices can be found on the MFA website.

“From Kirk Douglas’s ‘I am Spartacus!’ to Jack Nicholson’s ‘Heeere’s Johnny!,’ Stanley Kubrick’s films are fixtures in our pop-culture lexicon,” declared the MFA in a promotional statement on its Facebook page.

Although the iconic one-liners and scenes are what initially draw our attention to these films, what collectively makes them a staple of American pop culture surpasses such things. Kubrick’s socially conscious films provide audiences with insight into some of the thoughts and apprehensions of American society during the time periods they were based on. This is evident in the satirical Dr. Strangelove, which portrays Kubrick’s interpretation of what would have happened if America had engaged in nuclear warfare with the Soviet Union, a red scare concept that Americans genuinely feared in the 1960s.

Kubrick’s ability to show audiences, rather than tell them has always separated him from other revered directors. When Full Metal Jacket was released in 1987, Americans had probably grown weary of Vietnam War films. However, Full Metal Jacket possessed a flare and an intensity that other films with the same subject matter lacked. Most critics find this intensity derives from the realism in its portrayal, which ultimately makes Full Metal Jacket just as provocative as it is striking.

Unlike some other directors, Kubrick never lost control of his artistic vision and always pushed boundaries. He dared to create film adaptations of highly controversial novels, such as Lolita and A Clockwork Orange, and somehow managed to transform them into groundbreaking works that were characteristically his own. Whether you would consider yourself a film enthusiast or not, this is an ideal opportunity to introduce yourself to Kubrick, revisit your favorite movie on the big screen, or reflect on films surrounded by controversy that each defined particular aspects of their respective decades.

The series will present films including Fear and Desire, Killer’s Kiss, the Killing, Paths of Glory, Spartacus, Lolita, the Shining, Barry Lyndon, Eyes Wide Shut, Full Metal Jacket, 2001: A Space Odyssey and film favorite, A Clockwork Orange. The films will play Feb. 1 – Feb. 24.