Stanley Kubrick: A Force Majeure


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Stanley Kubrick(1928-1999) began directing films the year my family first had its contact with the Baha’i Faith, 1953. I was nine at the time. Kubrick died one week after the release of his last film on March 1st 1999. I was in my last month of my life as a full-time teacher before my retirement at the age of 55. I write this poem because of Kubrick’s qualities as a film maker in the ninth and early decades of the tenth stage of history, the second half of the first century of the history of film: 1895-1995. He was a man obsessed by film. He pushed himself and those he worked with to the limit. He had a passion, an intensity, which turned his perceptions of the world and what was wrong with it into art. His films and my life followed each other in my adolescence and my adulthood. With this television, this documentary, series on Kubrick, I caught a new appreciation of the man and his work. -Ron Price with thanks to SBS TV, "Masterpiece: Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures-Part 3," 10:00-10:55 pm, June 22, 2004.

What was that force within you, Stanley?
An impressionability?
An obedience to inspiration?
a force majeure?
A conversation with eternal wisdom?

What produced the heart, the core
of your experience with cinema?
What gave it its existence
As you created yourself
like a high-tension wire
discharging images1
for half a century?

You created the world anew,
Stanley, from silence, memory
and some menacing external vacuity,
some otherness, some temporality
gushing onto the screen
with everything you touched
relieving your overburdened mind2
giving everything a touch of the ineffable.

1 Novalis in The Bow and the Lyre, Octavio Paz, University of Texas, Austin, 1956, p.154.
2 Howard Nemerov in The Seamless Web, Stanley Burnshaw, Penguin Press, 1970, p.179.

Ron Price
June 24, 2004