Discovering Kubrick’s Symbolism

The Secrets of the Films


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About the Book

Bringing to light the long-shrouded symbolism and startling spiritual depth that renowned director Stanley Kubrick packed into every detail of his iconic films, this book excavates the subtle ways Kubrick calls attention to universal truths and shocking realities still pervading our society. It cites the master director’s use of encoded graphic symbols, signifying light effects, doppelgangers, esoteric color-coding, and framing techniques that communicate Kubrick’s underlying topics. Beginning with an exploration of the inspirational themes of his classic science fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey, including the multilayered meaning of the Monolith, this book traces the themes and symbols encrypted in the films that followed during the director’s impressive career. It reveals the oblique methods Kubrick used to underscore a wide range of humanitarian alarms covered in films as diverse as A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and Eyes Wide Shut, and the fascinating links these films have to one another. Surprising revelations discovered in Dr. Strangelove, Spartacus, Lolita, and Paths of Glory are also unveiled for the first time.

About the Author(s)

Nicole M. Berg has worked in the animation, gaming, and media industries for companies such as Walt Disney Feature Animation, DUCK Studios, DIC, Film Roman, Sierra, Symantec, and has taught college-level art and animation skills. When earning her MFA degree, she trained in film pipeline processes at PIXAR and ImageMovers Digital. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Bibliographic Details

Nicole M. Berg

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 247
Bibliographic Info: 24 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8049-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3992-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface 1
Introduction 3

Part I—Understanding A Space Odyssey 5
1. The Dawn of Man 9
2. Duality: The Core Structure of A Space Odyssey’s Universe 12
3. 2OO1: A Space Odyssey’s Visual Motifs 17
4. Glyphs of Consciousness 26
5. Kubrick’s Color Code for 2OO1 35
6. Duality Revisited: On HAL, Spacesuits and Spaceships 43
7. 2OO1’s Number Symbolism 51
8. Warning: Star Gate Spiritual Mechanics 56
9. The Female Presence in 2OO1 65
10. The Star Child–Egyptian Horus Child Connection 71
11. The Ultimate Unity 76
12. Closing Remarks on 2OO1: A Space Odyssey 78

Part II—The Films Following 2OO1 79
13. The Shining: Scarier Than Ever 81
14. The Hidden Depths of Barry Lyndon 111
15. A Clockwork Orange: More Disturbing Than Ever 123
16. A Woman’s Take on Full Metal Jacket 145
17. The Uncanny Eyes Wide Shut Connection 161

Part III—The Films Before 2OO1 175
18. Dr. Strangelove: Horror Beneath the Humor 176
19. What Underlies the Film Lolita 189
20. Inserting Sources in Spartacus 202
21. Paths of Glory: Where It Begins 212
22. Closing Remarks on Kubrick’s Films Pre– and Post–2OO1 222

Chapter Notes 225
Bibliography 231
Index 235