Things You Never Knew About Stanley Kubrick Revealed in New Film 'S Is for Stanley'

Things You Never Knew About Stanley Kubrick Revealed in New Film 'S Is for Stanley'

Sep 28, 2016

S Is For Stanley

Stanley Kubrick, the man who made 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Shining, is one of the best known directors in cinematic history. Beginning in the creative arts as a photographer, he quickly realized he wanted to make movies and by 1957 he'd completed several documentaries and also narrative features, including the astounding Paths of Glory, an anti-war movie that starred Kirk Douglas.

His career moved from highlight to highlight, from Spartacus to Lolita to Dr. Strangelove to 2001: A Space Odyssey to A Clockwork Orange to Barry Lyndon to The Shining to Full Metal Jacket to Eyes Wide Shut, his final effort. As a filmmaker, he was revered for his exquisite taste and his affinity for provocative subject matter, which attracted big audiences in theaters and has inspired intense critical studies in the years since his death in 1999.

But what was he like as a person? A mountain of books have been written about Kubrick's personal habits, especially his exacting personality. Yet we've never seen anything quite like S Is for Stanley, a new documentary that just debuted at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas.

 

Italian filmmaker Alex Infascelli visited the Stanley Kubrick estate some years ago to conduct an interview and heard about Emilio D'Alessandro, an Italian man who served as a personal assistant to Kubrick for nearly 30 years. Infascelli sought him out and discovered an extremely pleasant and modest gentleman with an astounding memory.

D'Alessandro emigrated to England and soon found himself driving a race car! He was quite naturally talented in his new profession, but after he married and started a family, he realized he needed a safer profession and became a taxi driver. One extremely snowy night, he made a much needed delivery to a film set, which eventually led to his being hired as a personal driver for Stanley Kubrick.

 

S Is For Stanley

Without knowing much of anything about the director or his films, D'Alessandro's diligent work ethic and personal loyalty quickly endeared him to Kubrick. The quiet, polite Italian gentleman became a trusted member of Kubrick's inner circle. The longer D'Alessandro worked with Kubrick, the more that Kubrick expected of him, leading to an amazing array of errands and tasks he was assigned to accomplish.

S Is for Stanley thus provides a very surprising look at the master filmmaker. Without ever delving specifically into the movies he made, the documentary reflects Kubrick's interests and passions, which were manifested in his dealings with D'Alessandro as his personal assistant. In effect, it serves as a commentary on other filmmakers we love, too. By what we see on the big screen, we know that certain subjects fascinate them as individuals; this intimate examination reminds us their individual tastes and interests play a big role in making their films so compelling to watch, over and over again.

Beyond that, it shows how Kubrick dealt with him as an individual, as visualized by the mostly handwritten notes that he left for him. Most of the notes are straightforward and very particular about how things should be done, though Kubrick also expressed kind, heartfelt emotion at times that reflected his intimate feelings for D'Alessandro as, in effect, a member of his family.

D'Alessandro is a warm, open individual and the film is often very funny as the sometimes befuddled driver tries to relate to what the master filmmaker wants and struggles to balance that with the needs of his own growing family. S Is for Stanley will be distributed by RatPac Entertainment; a release date has not yet been announced, but keep an eye out for this enjoyable, surprising look at Kubrick and his assistant.

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