The Festival pays homage to perfectionist and visionary Stanley Kubrick, whose 1972 adaptation of the novel A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess caused quite a stir in its day. Cannes Classics is screening two films in his honour, A Clockwork Orange and Once Upon A Time... A Clockwork Orange, the documentary by Michel Ciment and Antoine de Gaudemar.
In Stanley Kubrick’s imagining of the 21st century, violence rules supreme. Alex and his gang spread terror and commit crimes of gratuitous violence. After being arrested for murder, Alex is subjected to an experimental aversion therapy designed to stamp out crime. Back on the streets and harmless, he runs into one of his former victims.
Stanley Kubrick assaults the senses of the viewer from the opening scene. At the time, the press and critics of the day applauded the director’s aestheticisation of violence, taking the film as a philosophical and psychedelic fable. Audiences were not so enthusiastic. The extreme violence and crude sexuality of A Clockwork Orange was the stuff of nightmares for many a cinema goer. England, where the film was shot, experienced a wave of copycat crimes. Stanley Kubrick made the decision to withdraw the film.
Almost forty years later, Michel Ciment and Antoine de Gaudemar have resurrected the story of this cinematic legend in a new documentary. Splicing clips from the film with interviews with the protagonists of the day – including actor Malcolm McDowell and widow of the film-maker, Christiane Kubrick – Once Upon A Time... A Clockwork Orange brings to today’s audiences the visionary work of a bastion of cinema. The tribute is set to continue tomorrow in a Masterclass with Malcolm McDowell.
Once Upon A Time... A Clockwork Orange is to be screened at 4.45 p.m. in the Buñuel Theatre.
A Clockwork Orange is to be screened at 7.45 p.m. in the Salle du Soixantième.