A provocative re-reading of Stanley Kubrick’s work and its focus on masculine desire
The work of Stanley Kubrick amounts to a sustained reflection on the male condition: past, present, and future. The persistent theme of his filmmaking is less violence or sex than it is the pressurized exertion of masculinity in unusual or extreme circumstances, where it may be taxed or exaggerated to various effects, tragic and comic—or metamorphosed, distorted, and even undone.
The stories that Kubrick’s movies tell range from global nuclear politics to the unpredictable sexual dynamics of a marriage; from a day in the life of a New York City prizefighter preparing for a nighttime bout to the evolution of humankind. These male melodramas center on sociality and asociality. They feature male doubles, pairs, and rivals. They explore the romance of men and their machines, and men as machines. They figure intensely conflicted forms of male sexual desire. And they are also very much about male manners, style, taste, and art.
Examining the formal, thematic, and theoretical affiliations between Kubrick’s three bodies of work—his photographs, his documentaries, and his feature films—Kubrick’s Men offers new vantages on to the question of gender and sexuality, including the first extended treatment of homosexuality in Kubrick’s male-oriented work.