Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
S is for Stanley: With Kubrick
D’Alessandro’s tenure with Stanley Kubrick started just as Clockwork Orange was wrapping and ended just as Eyes Wide Shut was ramping up. However,
if Kubrick ever explained to his long-time assistant how he faked the
Moon-landing or conceived The Shining as
an allegory of the Native American genocide, D’Alessandro will not betray the
confidence. Thanks to Room 237 and
general conspiracy theory crackpottery, fascination with Kubrick remains high
as ever. However, it will be more grounded cineastes who appreciate Alex
Infascelli’s S is for Stanley (trailer here), which opens this Friday in New York, as part of the
IFC Center’s Kubrick retrospective.
great ambition was to be a Formula One driver, but to pay the bills, the
Italian expat gigged as a hack driver. When D’Alessandro successfully ferried a
large, embarrassing prop for Clockwork over
the treacherous blizzard-iced roads of London, Kubrick recognized the sort of
work ethic he needed in his assistant. Initially, D’Alessandro was hired as a
driver, but he quickly became responsible pretty much everything around the
house (that would be Childwickbury Manor) and miscellaneous gofer work on his
hundreds of the hand-written (and sometimes typed) notes Kubrick left D’Alessandro
around Childwickbury survive for posterity. Individually, they are often
comically absurd, but collectively they suggest Kubrick was practically
helpless, but also problematically manipulative. (Yes, most were simply signed “S”).
Yet, we also clearly get a sense of the affection auteur and assistant shared
for each other.
fact, the portrait of Kubrick that emerges through D’Alessandro’s reminiscences
feels entirely fair and balanced. We get a real sense of Kubrick as an
individual, as well as his idiosyncrasies. Still, fans will probably be
disappointed D’Alessandro does not provide more insights into Kubrick’s films. For
the record, he probably offers up the best behind-the-scenes stuff on The Shining.
Still, this is definitely a side of Kubrick most
fans have never seen. It also explores that very Hollywood relationship of
talent and assistant that remains foreign to most of us yokels, aside from what
we might have seen in the infinitely more dysfunctional Clouds of Sils Maria. Recommended for ardent Kubrick admirers, S is for Stanley opens this Friday
(1/27) in New York, at the IFC Center.
Labels: Documentary, Stanley Kubrick