Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes

STANLEY KUBRICK’S BOXES is an authored film by Jon Ronson exploring the hundreds of boxes the legendary film director Stanley Kubrick collected during his decades at Childwick Manor in Hertfordshire.

The film asks the question, Is it possible to get to understand the man – and his extraordinary working methods – by looking through the things he left behind in boxes?

This is a biography of a remarkably talented man as seen though his archive.

Stanley Kubrick’s films were landmark events – majestic, memorable and richly researched. But, as the years went by, the time between films grew longer and longer, and less and less was seen of the director. What on earth was he doing?

“The good news,” wrote Nicholas Wapshott in the Times in 1997, bemoaning the ever-lengthening gaps between his films, “is that Kubrick is a hoarder … There is an extensive archive of material at his home in Childwick Bury. When that is eventually opened, we may get close to understanding the tangled brain which brought to life HAL, the [Clockwork Orange] Droogs and Jack Torrance.”

Two years after his death, Jon Ronson was invited to the Kubrick estate and let loose among the fabled archive. He’s been returning ever since. This documentary will reveal what he found.

In one portable cabin, for example, there are hundreds and hundreds of boxes related to Eyes Wide Shut, marked EWS – Portman Square, EWS – Kensington & Chelsea, etc, etc. Ronson chooses the one marked EWS – Islington because that’s where he lives. Inside are hundreds of photographs of doorways. The doorway of his local video shop, Century Video, is there, as is the doorway of his dry cleaner’s, Spots Suede Services on Upper Street.  Then, as he continues to flick through the photographs, he finds, to his astonishment, pictures of the doorways of the houses in his own street. Handwritten at the top of these photographs are the words, “Hooker doorway?”

Judging by the writing on the boxes, probably just about every doorway in London has been captured and placed inside this cabin. This solves one mystery  – the one about why Kubrick, a native of the Bronx, chose the St Albans countryside, of all places, for his home. It didn’t matter. It could have been anywhere. It is as if the whole world is to be found somewhere within these boxes.