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183 CONCLUSION Stanley Kubrick’s last six adaptations are characterized by some structural and stylistic patterns. In terms of plot construction, they are constituted by tableaux vivants and/or unrelated episodes that are usually separated by ellipses and full of unexplained mysteries. Their syuzhet is symmetrical and/or ordered into unlinked parts, and often the end recalls the beginning . On the one hand, this geometry of the superstructure is evoked by the symmetry that dominates single images, and by the symmetry that joins two or more sequences. On the other hand, this order is disrupted by the chaos introduced by the image of the maze, as in the case of The Shining , and/or by the use of a handheld camera or Steadicam. Also disruptive are the numerous cross-references among scenes, as in Eyes Wide Shut, and, paradoxically, too much order, as in 2001: A Space Odyssey and Full Metal Jacket. In terms of stylistic features, images, montage, and characters ’ reactions often seem to emanate from music, as if they were instruments in the director’s orchestra. Some films seem to be dominated by the metaphor of dance because the mise-en-scène, the montage, and the movements of the camera follow the rhythm of the music. Moreover, dialogue and voice-over are often used as music is. Words are not used for their referents and signifieds, but for their signifiers, for their rhythm and musicality. These diegetic worlds subjected to the rhythm of music are enveloped in a dreamy atmosphere, in which their protagonists are usually depicted as passive wanderers. They happen to find themselves in front of sublime visual and aural spectacles staged to entrap and entertain them, as well as their extradiegetic audience. Indeed, through the metaphor of theatre and other means, the spectators often acknowledge the status of the films as artificial works of art. These structural and stylistic patterns have allowed me to draw conclusions about the role of Kubrick in the history of cinema and his role as an adapter, as well as, more generally, about the art of cinematic adaptations. Indeed, on the one hand, at a more “immediate” level, the director’s films can be interpreted as sublime experiences that stimulate the audience to think about them and about the power of art and artists. The director’s adaptations can be read as a recreation of his own sublime experiences, which he felt during his encounters with literature and music and art in Conclusion 184 general; they are his sublime homage to other artists’ creations. Therefore, cinematic adaptations can be interpreted as an everlasting re-actualization and mise-en-scène of themes and styles. On the other hand, at a less “immediate” level, the plot structure and use of words and music seem to criticize classical Hollywood narratives, and the use of music in classical narrative sound films. More generally, the structural and stylistic patterns that characterize Kubrick adaptations seem to criticize a scientific reasoning that from causes derives effects, and from words univocal meanings. Life and art do not follow straight paths that from the outset lead to an end, and that clearly display their purposes. On the contrary, the director ’s films seem to suggest that only stylistically and structurally tortuous paths, which often negate a final aim, can recall the complexity of reality. For these reasons, Kubrick can be considered a modernist auteur in the history of cinema. In particular, he can be regarded as an heir of the modernist avant-garde of the 1920s. But, unlike his predecessors, he creates a cinema that is not only centered on the ontology of the medium, but whose main purpose seems the staging of sublime experiences. Finally, as specifically regards the director’s way of adapting novels, the structural and stylistic patterns that characterize his films are not always present in the source books. Summarizing the results obtained, the particular syuzhet construction of his films is already present in Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange, Gustav Hasford’s The Short-Timers, and Arthur Schnitzler’s Dream Story, and is emphasized in his adaptations. Similarly, the choice and combination of words according to their signi- fiers, rhythm, and musicality, is present in A Clockwork Orange, Stephen King’s The Shining, and The Short-Timers, and is stressed in the director’s films, as is the metaphor of dance, which appears in A Clockwork Orange and The Short-Timers, but which almost dominates the...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781621039822
Print ISBN
9781578062973
MARC Record
OCLC
828334142
Pages
208
Launched on MUSE
2013-10-21
Language
English
Open Access
N
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