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Stanley Kubrick and Me: Thirty Years at His Side Hardcover – 23 Jun 2016
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"As good an insider's view of middle- to late-period Kubrick as there is. . . . The book is funny and casual throughout. Of special interest are D'Alessandro's set notes, revealing, for example, that the cat lady room in "A Clockwork Orange" figured two decades later in "Eyes Wide Shut."" "Kirkus"
Utterly charming . . . [A] sweet and sentimental record of service to a creative genius . . . the book's invitingly conversational tone and descriptions paint an all-too-human portrait of a cloistered artist and ardent workaholic who expected everything and more from his employees and returned their devotion in kind. "Publishers Weekly"
"Through detailed anecdotes and tender accounts of life both on location and off, D'Alessandro sheds light behind the scenes of Kubrick's famously controlled sets and offers a unique portrait of the man himself." "Vice"
"No great man is great for his butler, they say, . . . as if the private life of someone extraordinary should always contradict his public image. That is not the case with the beautiful portrait that Emilio D Alessandro and Filippo Ulivieri paint in "Stanley Kubrick and Me." [...] D Alessandro tells about a generous man, caring, perfectionist in his work, demanding in every aspect of the daily life. [...] It is a delightful book, indeed: gentle and delicate as the summer that slowly says goodbye and vanishes." "La Stampa"
"This memoir is exquisite, not to be missed." "Il Sole 24 Ore"
"There are so many details about Kubrick s daily life (and I mean 'daily, ' not 'private': there is no gossip here) in this outstanding book352 pages you read in a snap. [...]" Stanley Kubrick and Me" is perhaps the most important book ever written about Kubrick. It offers a portrait full of warmth, a touching memoir about the filmmaker, and at the same time it clears away all the stupid and crazy stuff about him that has plagued his image for years.""L Unita"
"This is a story of genius and sweetness. It is an exciting book because it gives tons of detail about how Kubrick s films were made, but it is also, and surprisingly, a sort of sentimental novel, beautifully written . . . a story of warm feelingsan oblique tale of two souls in which genius and humility are knit together and sometimes exchange places."
"Here is a perfect match, here are two men who greatly admired each other and are happy to show it. [...] Stanley Kubrick and Emilio D Alessandro, the visionary genius and the man who drove him anywhere, the imaginative director and his factotum, the art of thinking and the craft of doing, the mind and the body. They're like two happy kids at a birthday party."
"Il Venerdi di Repubblica"
"His portrayal of Kubrick is heartfelt, yet detached. There is a controlled admiration running through the pages, a need to understand who Kubrick really was beyond the legend, and above all without the usual tales that depict him as someone who was furiously, obsessively, and crazily cut off from the world. [...] Emilio was the ideal character in a unique story, told with devotion, respect, and freedom. Here, there are no unnecessary frills and no implausible details that often damage many accounts of extraordinary encounters."
"Il Venerdi di Repubblica"
"At last, a new book that for the first time seems to succeed in capturing the real Kubrick, the everyday manwho is indivisible from the artist, because thanks to the book you see how Kubrick was always on. always working, focused on his job. . . It is a very humorous book, and a touching one, even moving: something that is indeed a paradox for an artist who kept tears constantly away in his films. [...] The book offers relaxing reading for any Kubrick fan who has tried for years to distinguish the truth from the Internet bullshit. After reading the book, I think I love Emilio, and Stanley as well." "Globalist"
About the Author
Filippo Ulivieri was born in 1977. He is a writer and teacher of film theory. The leading expert on Stanley Kubrick in Italy, he has published articles on the director's life and films in several newspapers and magazines, and created the site ArchivioKubrick. He lives in Tuscany and Plymouth, UK.
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There is plenty on Kubrick's work habits and behind-the-scenes stuff here but the centerpiece is Emilio and his observations and interactions with Kubrick on and around the productions of Kubrick's films starting with A Clockwork Orange onward, working as Kubrick's driver and later assistant to the director.
Great read, highly recommended for any Kubrick fan, film fan, and those who appreciate a peak behind the curtain of film production and long-standing friendships.
It is hard to believe the author tolerated some of the demands put on him although he was no doubt very well paid. The book is about the author almost as much as about his subject and one’s perception of him veers between admiration for his dedication (which does become rather repetitive) and irritation at his, at times, insufferable self-importance. This book does not deal with the technical aspects of Kubrick’s movies but I would recommend it to anyone interested in Stanley Kubrick and is a useful addition to the volume of books and other material written about the man.
The tone of the book is reverential; at times, it seems to be self-consciously attempting to refute the image of Kubrick as a reclusive, alienated genius. It largely, but not fully, succeeds. Kubrick presents as a warm, compassionate man, deeply committed to his art, his family, and those that he knows and trusts. More than any other director, Kubrick’s movies were portals into the recesses of our humanity. To bring this to life was an arduous, dogged effort, and the book pulls no punches in demonstrating the extent to which Kubrick worked himself to achieve his cinematic feats. Though a compassionate man, the accounts of Kubrick’s working relationships with his actors, and his assistants, show what can seem like a contradiction between his personal warmth and professional practice.
Stanley brought others along on his artistic journey with him. The account is clear that Emilio was expected to work nearly 24 hours a day, effectively always being on call, to support the director in his work. This involved not only creative pursuits, but anything to do with home maintenance, family tasks etc, that anyone would routinely take care of themselves. There seemed to be little trust in his requests – though he delegated, he wanted to understand exactly how things would be achieved, who would carry out the task, what risks were being accounted for etc, and would involve himself from beginning to end. As the account shows, working in such a detailed way was the key to his success as a filmmaker, but one wonders why he needed to be so involved with instructing on domestic tasks. And through this demanding approach, he showed little respect for the private, family time of his employee(s). An example would be when he requests Emilio to sleep over whilst his daughter is recording at a studio in London, to protect her and keep her company, rather than assuming that an adult can manage their own affairs.
Emilio himself comes across as a decent, honest man, committed to his work and implicitly understanding that he is achieving greatness by association in supporting Stanley. At times, he comes across as almost parental towards Stanley, taking care of the management of his life as a mother would do for an infant – such as when Stanley reports that he went to St Albans shopping all by himself, evoking pride from Emilio. In general, this book can leave you with the sense that the great genius was not competent at practical affairs – reports of him losing his keys, losing his wedding ring, relying on Emilio for basic tasks, fill the book. This was endearing, as it was presented in a light-hearted, familial tone, but for some it could undermine the respect they had for Stanley. For me, it showed his humanity.
Overall, the work presents Stanley as a humane man who established far more than a business relationship with his assistants – he involved Emilio to a huge extent, their families became close, and he allowed his greatness to illuminate the lives of others. There is no hint of ego in Kubrick in these pages – though highly demanding and rigorous, one gets the sense that every action was for a purpose.
In summary, it’s not an intellectual read, but a personable and multi-dimensional account of a complex and talented character. At times, it can spill into too much detail about the tasks Emilio spent his time conducting – administration, plumbing, handy-man work – which can be tedious. But overall it is an important, bottom-up insight into Stanley Kubrick’s approach to those he lived with (though the reverential tone does make you wonder what aspects of the man’s character Emilio excluded).
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