A film about film obsessives for one in the same, Filmworker offers a portrait of the one and only Stanley Kubrick that is, as elusively as just about any of the master’s output, a portrait of someone else.
Chronicling the life of Leon Vitali; actor, editor, production manager and personal sounding board for the legend among much else, Filmworker invites you behind the lenses of Kubrick’s last few triumphs, their persisting impact on popular culture and on Vitali’s life most of all.
Having starred in Barry Lyndon, Vitali, enamoured with Kubrick as so many were and are, came to play a hugely significant role in several of the man’s iconic pictures and a fundamental one in maintaining his legacy following Kubrick’s death. Famous, or infamous if you prefer, for his onset manner, copious takes were but one element of a highly-demanding work environment even by the standards of stressful productions of which Vitali took much of the brunt.
So much of what Kubrick fans will ever want to know about his career and the vociferousness that so characterised his painstakingly produced films, Filmworker is alternately, and far beyond simple categorisation, a biography of both the famous filmmaker and his on-set counterpart. Recounting his own travails with Kubrick alongside Vitali’s siblings, co-workers and well-known names, among them Stellan Skarsgard, Filmworker paints an affectionate picture of the man instrumental to so many films we have come to know and admire.
Filmworker, revisiting several of Kubrick’s key projects, in a manner wholly more consuming than the recent Ready Player One imparts an irrevocably palpable sense of nostalgia for one particular filmic triumph, amongst many. The appropriation of classic Kubrick sequences to represent aspects of Vitali’s life, his relationship with Kubrick and indeed the documentary’s underlying bent is a wry advent that won’t go unappreciated by Kubrick followers.
Worthy and welcome viewing for fans of A Clockwork Orange and the like, Filmworker is one for the many cinephiles who will justly be as fascinated by Kubrick’s selective filmography as by the man behind it all and the man behind him.
Filmworker screened as part of the Sydney Film Festival