Saturday, June 23, 2007

Visit to Kubrick archive

The archive of the work of late film maker Stanley Kubrick has been acquired by the University of The Arts London, and should be open to the public in October 2007.

Some of Kubrick's films were 'Spartacus'; 'Lolita'; 'Dr. Strangelove'; '2001: A Space Odyssey; 'A Clockwork Orange'; 'Barry Lyndon'; 'The Shining'; 'Full Metal Jacket'; 'Eyes Wide Shut'.

Even if you're not a film historian, many of the themes in his work are still thought-provoking and relevant today, including war, nuclear threat, urban breakdown, crime, youth gangs, technological change, artificial intelligence, space exploration and changing sexual attitudes.

Someone in my department arranged an 'office outing' for us to check it out, as it's a collection which would be useful for some research projects, and the archive is keen to attract future collaborations.

We were shown props from films (a few masks, a model of a severed head), cameras, boxes of publicity materials for 'Clockwork Orange', including original copies of newspaper reports, and other ephemera like the iron-on patch (above). The archive includes scripts, production notes, research, correspondence, storyboards, annotated books, sketches, photographs, 35mm film and out takes, videotapes, scores, sound recordings, models, set designs, props, costumes, lighting plans, equipment and memorabilia.

There are boxes of British and international comics, from the late 20th century Comic Collections, stored there too. I had a poke about in boxes of Doctor Who and Batman, which reminded me of all the American imports we had when I was a kid living in Zambia, and some of my colleagues swooped onto boxes of Ironman.

It's all housed in a purpose built location at the London College of Communication, in south London. It's got 'high-tech' temperature control, shelving and lighting, and a very impressive glass entrance and doors too - beigey-coloured, opaque glass, so you can't actually see into the rooms when you arrive, as if the the walls and doors have been lined with brown paper on the inside. Then with a flick of the remote control, the whole glass frontage becomes clear, revealing the interior of the archive entrance! Apparently it can be used as a screen to project onto, and is made of LCD technology.

Then we went to the pub to have our weekly team meeting... and someone had the brilliant idea of starting a film club at work, so fairly productive and a nice change from being in the office all afternoon!


Annette said...

Yes great films, but am I the only one that doesn't like "clockwork orange"?
I've heard so much about that film so when it was on t.v. I watched it. God, I was dissappointed!
I thought it was boring and tedious.

Claire said...

I don't like it either!

I think the controversy surrounding it is more interesting, showing how something gets people worked up or really shocked in one decade, then attitudes change and no-one bats an eyelid years later.

Also I think it's interesting, though very disturbing, when it becomes like a reflection of real life. Maybe like that horrible case a while back, where a group of kids kicked a man to death along the Embankment just because he was there (the man who died survived the Soho pub bombing, so it seemed even more vile).

I liked the way Andrew Marr worked it into his History of Modern Britain series on BBC2 recently, I think I'll read his book when I've got more time!