It's a rare person who would give up fame and fortune to toil in obscurity for someone else's creative vision. Yet, that's exactly what Leon Vitali did after his acclaimed performance as 'Lord Bullingdon' in Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon (1975). The young actor surrendered his thriving career to become Kubrick's loyal right-hand man. For more than two decades, Leon played a crucial role behind-the-scenes helping Kubrick make and maintain his legendary body of work. In Filmworker, Leon's candid, often funny, sometimes shocking experiences in the company of Kubrick are woven together with rich and varied elements including previously unseen photos, videos, letters, notebooks, and memos from Leon's private collection. Insightful, emotionally charged anecdotes from actors, family, crew members, and key film industry professionals who worked with Kubrick and Leon add an important layer of detail and impact to the story. Filmworker enters the world of Leon Vitali and Stanley Kubrick from a...Written by
Filmworker provides invaluable insight into how sausages were made, into the workings of the greatest post-studio system director in the world, Stanley Kubrick. Leon Vitali was his right hand. Vitali's story, intimately told in the first person, is indirectly Kubrick's. We see the backbreaking details of what it took Kubrick to make 2 of his 5 perfect, genre-defining films: Barry Lyndon, the defining period costume drama, and The Shining, the defining Gothic horror film. (Vitali did not work on Dr. Strangelove, the defining Cold War film (and satire), 2001, the defining outer space film, or Clockwork Orange, the defining future dystopia film. He did, however, work on Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut, lesser films, IMO.)
The movie consists of real, factual, technical nitty-gritty, not the self-congratulatory generalizations which make up almost all documentaries about filmmakers and their films. This is the mountain both Kubrick and Vitali fought their entire lives to surmount. One comes to see how poor and shabby today's films are by comparison, especially with TV streaming and cable replacing real films.
Leon Vitali is a fascinating character study, a unique man, in and of himself. One wonders if Kubrick could have made his films without the blind devotion of Vitali. Those who question his devotion miss the point. Vitali was as uncompromisingly devoted to Kubrick as Kubrick was to his films. They both served the same demanding mistress, art.
If you love Kubrick, you have to see this.
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