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Study event review: Stanley Kubrick Archive

A week or so ago, I decided to attend the Kubrick Student Event. I have to admit that I was quite nervous at first. Participating in such an event, was going to be the very first time that I would engage myself in an official academic activity, outside my own comfort zone.

The first thing that motivated me, was the fact that I saw the event as an opportunity to gather all the information and knowledge I have come across, regarding Kubrick’s work throughout the years. There were a fair amount of movies, as well as some  extra material that was sent to us from the OCA so we could prepare ourselves accordingly. Having to evaluate all that material in a critical way was a form of reflection.

While we were in the archive, I realised how crucial research is. That is because I could literally see only a fragment of the methods that this remarkable artist had been using and the fact that research had been such a big part of his work, speaks for itself. Moreover, redrafting is one of my personal struggles when it comes to writing so I find that research often makes me feel more confident and reassured. 

I personally found the archives to be quite obsessive. The ways that Kubrick had been gathering and filling all that information, appears to be excessive and haunting. From what I saw that day, I assumed that he had been entirely submerged into his projects and the result, most of the time, was greatness. Despite the neurotic habit of archiving absolutely everything, Kubrick is definitely a well-established artist and one of my favourite movie-makers. So, I guess that obsession can be constructive.   

Another interesting speculation I have made on the day was regarding the ideas that get lost during the process of movie-making. There had been countless costumes, photos, scripts, sketches that were turned down by Kubrick as he was progressing with a movie. I suppose that this is a privilege that one enjoys while making a movie: watching ideas get lost forever and others being born on the spot. Archiving all that material, kept some of this magic alive as did sharing it with others.

Visiting the archive, has definitely been enlightening and inspiring from a cinematographic point of view too. Especially for me, as this is a path  that I might consider following in the future. I really valued the opportunity to take an intimate look into an established artist’s mind, whose work I am very fond of.

Furthermore, I was excited for having the chance to discuss my experience with Jayne and fellow students from the OCA, after our visit to the archive. It was fascinating to see how such a diverse group of people, with totally different academic and social backgrounds, reacted to the same piece of information.  

Finally, I have to admit that attending the event, was not that scary after all. I have most certainly enjoyed it, for both academic and personal reasons and I am looking forward to attending the next one.

Find out about the archive here.

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Posted by author: Maria Riga
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