Anouk Aimée in 8½ (1963, dir. Federico Fellini)
Nora Gregor in The Rules of the Game (1939, dir. Jean Renoir)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, dir. Stanley Kubrick)
Interviewer: Why does 2001 seem so affirmative and religious a film?
Stanley Kubrick: The God concept is at the heart of this film. It’s unavoidable that it would be, once you believe that the universe is seething with advanced forms of intelligent life. Just think about it for a moment. There are a hundred billion stars in the galaxy and a hundred billion galaxies in the visible universe. Each star is a sun, like our own, probably with planets around them. The evolution of life, it is widely believed, comes as an inevitable consequence of a certain amount of time on a planet in a stable orbit which is not too hot or too cold. First comes chemical evolution — chance rearrangements of basic matter, then biological evolution.
Think of the kind of life that may have evolved on those planets over the millennia, and think, too, what relatively giant technological strides man has made on earth in the six thousand years of his recorded civilization — a period that is less than a single grain of sand in the cosmic hourglass. At a time when man’s distant evolutionary ancestors were just crawling out of the primordial ooze, there must have been civilizations in the universe sending out their starships to explore the farthest reaches of the cosmos and conquering all the secrets of nature. Such cosmic intelligences, growing in knowledge over the aeons, would be as far removed from man as we are from the ants. They could be in instantaneous telepathic communication throughout the universe; they might have achieved total mastery over matter so that they can telekinetically transport themselves instantly across billions of light years of space; in their ultimate form they might shed the corporeal shell entirely and exist as a disembodied immortal consciousness throughout the universe.
Once you begin discussing such possibilities, you realize that the religious implications are inevitable, because all the essential attributes of such extraterrestrial intelligences are the attributes we give to God. What we’re really dealing with here is, in fact, a scientific definition of God. And if these beings of pure intelligence ever did intervene in the affairs of man, so far removed would their powers be from our own understanding. How would a sentient ant view the foot that crushes his anthill — as the action of another being on a higher evolutionary scale than itself? Or as the divinely terrible intercession of God?
-excerpted from The Film Director as Superstar by Joseph Gelmis
Malcolm McDowell & Ludwig van in A Clockwork Orange (1971, dir. Stanley Kubrick)
Q. Alex loves rape and Beethoven: what do you think that implies?
Stanley Kubrick: I think this suggests the failure of culture to have any morally refining effect on society. Hitler loved good music and many top Nazis were cultured and sophisticated men but it didn’t do them, or anyone else, much good.
via Kubrick: The Definitive Edition by Michel Ciment, Gilbert Adair, & Robert Bononno
Jeanne Moreau in Jules & Jim (1962, dir. Francois Truffaut)
“I never laughed before I met you two. I always looked like this. But that’s over for good. Now it’s like this.”
Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange (1971, dir.Stanley Kubrick)
“Man isn’t a noble savage, he’s an ignoble savage. He is irrational, brutal, weak, silly, unable to be objective about anything where his own interests are involved—that about sums it up. I’m interested in the brutal and violent nature of man because it’s a true picture of him. And any attempt to create social institutions on a false view of the nature of man is probably doomed to failure.”
-Stanley Kubrick, 1972
Jean-Paul Belmondo in Breathless (1960, dir. Jean-Luc Godard)
“When I accepted the role, [Godard] gave me the script. Three little pages on which he’d written:
He leaves Marseilles.
He steals a car.
He wants to sleep with the girl again. She doesn’t.
In the end, he either lives or dies - to be decided.
That was it. So every morning, I learned about Poiccard’s further adventures. I had no idea what would happen to me that day. I found out each morning.”