I was wrapping up my 4th year of Architecture studies in university when I learned of Stanley Kubrick‘s death on March 7, 1999. The news came as a shock not only to me, but I can remember a heavy cloud of sadness had fallen over the entire school that week. As a way of paying a personal tribute to one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema, the following weekend I held a “memorial service” of sorts at my house in the form of a party which went on into the wee hours. I had some friends bring their recently finished lighting installations from a school project into my basement and turned it into The Clockwork Orange Room, and my living room upstairs played 2001: A Space Odyssey on infinite loop. There was such a massive void created by his death that I felt the only way to fill it was with a celebration.
From around the world, words of reverence from his fans, colleagues, and friends soon poured in, but few can come close to those of Steven Spielberg and the following interview with the director which I just discovered this morning. The interview is, in fact, taken from the DVD of Eyes Wide Shut, the final film of Kubrick’s which was released on July 16, 1999, a mere four months after his death. In the interview, Kubrick shares a brilliant collection of stories, thoughts, and reflections on the man who he had not only admired as a filmmaker, but also came to know as a dear friend. Among the many gems you’ll hear Spielberg talk about include: the rainy night he waited in line to see Dr. Strangelove and his father pulled up in a panic to tell him he was being drafted for the army; the night he and his drugged-up friends went to see 2001: A Space Odyssey (Spielberg admits although he wasn’t high, he actually had an even deeper mind-expanding experience than his buddies); and the irony of how he learned the news of Kubrick’s death.
Once I started watching this I was glued to my seat until the very last second. It’s one thing to hear a film critic elaborate on their feelings for Stanley Kubrick, but listening to Steven Spielberg elaborate on the power and depth of Kubrick’s legacy is in a league entirely its own.