Kubrick’s boxes

I remember in my first film history class (some several lifetimes ago) being introduced to the filmmaker Howard Hawks by way of his great film ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS (1939). One of the distinguishing thematic marks of Hawks was how he treated death and human worth, as compared to the way John Ford did. Ford loved ritual (weddings, funerals, etc.) and formality (taking off one’s hat indoors, etc.), whereas Hawks’ themes were much more existential and about the individual apart from social conventions and obligations. A pilot dies and what’s left of him are just a handful of belonging that get divided up among the other pilots. That’s it. No need for weeping or even remembering too much. For how harsh this might seem, it raises an interesting question of what we can really know about anyone from what physical objects they leave behind. The desire to know, and to sift through the objects of the deceased, intensifies if the individual in question was a genius artist.

So it goes in regards to the late Stanley Kubrick and his many boxes…

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