Fear and Desire
In Stanley Kubrick’s feature debut, four ragged soldiers find themselves stranded behind enemy lines. Shot in the San Gabriel Mountains and starring Paul Mazursky in his earliest screen role, Kubrick’s film delves into the psyche of this lost battalion—divulging their innermost thoughts through voiceover—as they plot a treacherous escape. The country they’re in is nameless, their nationalities are not revealed, and their enemies are never identified. Closer to an existentialist allegory than a battlefront docudrama, the film was scripted by poet Howard Sackler, who went on to co-write Saint Jack with Peter Bogdanovich. A climactic confrontation is rendered in jagged bursts of imagery that evokes Soviet-style montage. Financed by Kubrick’s entrepreneur uncle, Fear and Desire was released by Joseph Burstyn, who brought such landmarks of world cinema as Bicycle Thieves, Rome Open City, and A Day in the Country to American theaters. Long disowned by Kubrick, the film fell out of circulation for decades and has been seen by very few. This version of Fear and Desire is made from archival 35mm elements newly restored by the Library of Congress.
Tonight’s screening will be preceded by Kubrick’s very first moving image works: based on his own 1949 pictorial essay “Prizefighter” in Look, Day of the Fight (1951) follows twenty-four-year-old middleweight boxer Walter Cartier and his twin brother/manager in the build-up to a big match, After releasing Day of the Fight, RKO commissioned Kubrick to direct a second newsreel, and the resulting film, Flying Padre, explores the daily chores of the Reverend Fred Stadtmueller, who pilots the single-engine Spirit of St. Joseph in order to reach his remote parishioners over four thousand square miles of rural New Mexico.
Day of the Fight 1951/b&w/16 min. | Scr: Robert Rein, Stanley Kubrick; dir: Stanley Kubrick; w / Walter Carter, Vincent Cartier, Douglas Edwards
Flying Padre 1951/b&w/9 min. | Scr/dir: Stanley Kubrick; w/ Rev. Fred Stadtmueller
Bing Theater | $10 for the general public; $7 for LACMA members, seniors (62+), and students with valid ID; $5 LACMA Film Club members and Academy members with valid ID. Price includes all films in evening's program. | Tickets: 323 857-6010 or purchase online.