Synopsis by Mark Deming
Stanley Kubrick was one of the most acclaimed and controversial filmmakers of his generation, but he was also an intensely private man who rarely gave interviews and produced most of his films under a shroud of secrecy, which tended to foster a great deal of rumor and speculation about his working methods. Jan Harlan, who worked as Kubrick's assistant and executive producer on several projects (and was also his brother-in-law), directed this documentary, which offers a rare in-depth look into Kubrick's career as a filmmaker, structured around interviews with a number of actors, writers, technicians, composers, friends, and family who speak on the record about his relentless perfectionism, his creative vision, his life both on and off the set, his relationships with actors, his unrealized projects, and his importance and influence as an artist. Among those who share their thoughts in Stanley Kubrick -- A Life In Pictures are actors Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Malcolm McDowell, Peter Ustinov, and Keir Dullea; writers Arthur C. Clarke and Michael Herr; special effects artist Douglas Trumbull; composers Wendy Carlos and Gyorgy Ligeti; filmmakers Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Paul Mazursky, and Sydney Pollack; and Kubrick's spouse Christiane Kubrick. Stanley Kubrick -- A Life In Pictures was originally produced as a television project, to be aired in three parts, though the project was shown in its entirety at the 2001 Berlin Film Festival.