Friday, December 4, 2009

Barry Lyndon: yet another Kubrick masterpiece

After several recent mentions of Barry Lyndon on Daring Fireball, I thought I should re-watch this Kubrick film I recall the least. It's available for "Watch Instantly" on Netflix, so I put it at the top of my queue, and watched it over the last couple nights.

The cinematography in Barry Lyndon is beautifully painterly. Several scenes reminded me of the Rembrandt and other paintings I've seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Of course I cried during the one emotional scene. It's much more effective for some reason because you know it's coming. (And much more effective on me now that I have children.)

Are there any other filmmakers who have made so many masterpieces as Stanley Kubrick?

A little bit of trivia that stood out on Kubrick's excellent Wikipedia page: "…the only Academy Award Kubrick ever received was for supervising the special effects of 2001: A Space Odyssey."

A couple months ago, a Daring Fireball post led me to Jeremy Bernstein's 1966 interview with Kubrick. The video has been removed from, but I don't recall it being difficult to find. I believe I downloaded a ZIP of MP3s, which I listened to instead of podcasts for a couple days. It truly is "75 minutes of audio gold".

Update: A friend on Facebook (thanks Aaron) pointed out that Barry Lyndon (as Wikipedia puts it) 'saw a considerable number of sequences shot "without recourse to electric light."' That make this masterpiece an even more impressive achievement.