So you’ve got a Kubrick Supercut, eh?

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http://www.fastcodesign.com/3038802/stanley-kubrick-loved-the-color-red-supercut

Whenever I see things like this, it compulsively drives me to work on my own Kuby Collective. Hooray for competitive motivation, but more so– it irks me that people are more drawn to superficial observations of Kubrick’s work than what he’s actually trying to do with his work.

This supercut took some doing (I’m assuming), but taking Kubrick’s symbolism out of context does more of a disservice than anything else.

Something I’ve learned in my research (and the many visits to the LACMA exhibit) is in Kubrick’s films, the context in which the symbol resides is equal to importance (or possibly more so) than the lone symbol itself.

Yes The Shining has that vividly luscious elevator blood, but it also has a ton of green imagery. Yes in the hedge maze, but also in the clothing, the accoutrements, and the furnishings. For all of the time Jack Torrance wears red in the 2nd half of the film, he wears varying shades of green for the first half.

Don’t get me wrong– it all means something, but it’s beyond Kubrick’s enjoyment of a color

Red serves as a multipurpose color in The Shining: vibrant fresh red, darkened burgundy red, and the combinations of red & black, or the combination of red, white, and blue (Gee what could THAT be?)  The meanings are connected, but determined by the context in which each shows up.

In 2001, red is primal, seminal. More so dealing with natural “human” tendencies: such as the dichotomous relationship between HAL’s technological self and his human emotions/attributes.

A Clockwork Orange’s red is more primary/elementary. Red, Blue & Yellow are shown together, and the primary color group can’t be ignored because red is more visually accosting than blue or yellow.

And for the record, in Full Metal Jacket– that prostitute’s tank top is hot pink. Pink, while similar to red, is still a different color entirely, and in this instance communicates (duh!) desire, femininity and like wearing lipstick, might be meant to connotate the imagery of a flushed/excited vagina.

Red is something he uses in every film, but he also uses blue, yellow, green, orange, and black to similar degrees. It is also more important to pay attention to the WHAT that the red is: is it a telephone? a t-shirt? A hallway? The meaning is embedded with how it’s being used, more so than “red is being used”.

Someone who built special comprehensive libraries for every film, who nitpicked the source material over which literal year has better conceptual year resonance (I wish I were kidding) is going to be putting more thought behind “Oh I’ll just use red here!”.

Superficial attempts to understand Kubrick’s work serve as useful as High Holy Synagogue services held in East Jesus, Tennessee, and it’s why (I believe) he stopped talking about this work all together.

I wonder why people don’t do this sort of thing with Scorcese’s or Lynch’s work. Or why historians don’t collect all of the paintings that are named Untitled, or start with some number. Nobody’s going around telling us Marcel Duchamp used x amounts of pigments across his entire body of work, so it’s interesting that it’s Kubrick-based.

So to everyone, go ahead and keep observing. I’m going to show you all what it means real soon.

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