Adventures in Cinema and Film Writing, Composing, 14/02/2017

I’ve got plenty more to say about the classic John Stuart Mill books that I’ve been revisiting. There’s actually a lot of interesting stuff in there, but I’ll get back to that tomorrow. Today was an especially busy day, and I didn’t get the time to go over my notes in the detail I want to before I write a good philosophy post.

No, today was a day of progress in my cinema projects. Since the start of this year, I’ve been able to make some real, decisive strides in getting You Were My Friend made. There are multiple people I’ve met in Toronto’s and Hamilton’s arts community who are interested in helping me make it, whether as crew or advisors.

I also haven’t sent any bones to my Patreon donors in a while, which I really should. They haven’t gotten any special projects since my previews of Class reviews. Not only that, but I feel like I let them down with the Class reviews, because it turned out to be kind of a mediocre show by the end.

It would be a very personal writing project for me, since watching
Kubrick's films as a child were almost a religious experience for me.
Not in terms of receiving some kind of dogma, but as a mystical
experience. I knew I wanted to do something creative with my life
after seeing his work.
So here are a few thoughts about a project I’ve been thinking about doing since late last year. You’ll be quite surprised, as no one has ever thought of doing such a thing before – philosophical essays about the films of Stanley Kubrick.

Seriously, though – What would distinguish that from any other set of blog posts written by Ras Trent college intellectuals from a haze of weed smoke at 1.00am? I joke, but it’s a valid question.

It’s not like there already aren’t a healthy amount of film studies books and articles written about philosophical ideas in Kubrick films. It was one of the earliest “Pop Culture Thing and Philosophy” books.

The books like the one I linked above are mostly of the tired format of using a theme, image, or event from his films as an example to illustrate some concept in a philosopher’s work. Usually, those essays are based on bog-standard, boring takes on the concepts, which makes the essay suitably uninteresting.

When I wrote a chapter in one of those books, I at least used a less stereotypical, more interesting take on my philosopher of choice.

But here’s my take. First, the structure. I’d have a few broad concepts in mind, through which I want to read Kubrick’s films, and treat those films themselves as philosophical explorations of the ideas.

I think the first essay I write will be the one on The Shining. The idea
for this book first came to me when I read about how much Stephen King
hated Kubrick's The Shining, even though King's book was actually
kind of terrible, and his own television adaptation was awful. Kubrick
could tell the story of a father trying to kill his family better than King
because Kubrick was actually capable of accepting the horrible truth of
that narrative: that a father could genuinely desire to kill his family.
So I’d write an essay on each feature film in Kubrick’s corpus. And each essay would consider, to a greater or lesser focus depending on its prominence in the film, the same three ideas. 1) Accepting abyss of a godless existence. 2) Kubrick’s vision of humanity and the wider universe as machines. 3) Kubrick’s lurking concern for justice, particularly regarding violence against women.

I also want to touch on the nature of adaptation, a key part of Kubrick’s creative method. I think of it as a collaboration, and Kubrick often did collaborate with the author on the film’s production when they were still alive. But it would also be the story of Kubrick becoming so much better at telling the story he’s adapting than the original creator.

The essays won’t be so straightforward as to deal with each of these in sequence. Each essay will be long – 5-8000 words. It will weave all these elements together into a narrative of each film’s existence. Each film will be an opportunity to see the assemblage of all these parts, from a different perspective.

The goal would be to reveal a vision of Kubrick as an artist and a vision of his art that is more complete and complex than ordinary, sequential essay writing can provide. Like seeing all sides of a building at once.

I think I’ll get started on it soon. I'll offer previews to Patreon sponsors, and possibly start a Kickstarter alongside it to fund an Amazon release.

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