Maybe Stanley Kubrick isn't the first person you'd think of to answer an existential question like why life is worth living -- it's not like his body of work screams (or even really whispers) confidence in humankind. However, he did offer an incredible answer in a 1968 Playboy interview with Eric Nordern, one that has been reproduced in a remarkable comic by Zen Pencils' Gavin Aung Than that not only illustrates Kubrick's quote, but tells a story depicting the life of a young man being turned upside down by the legendary director's work.
"However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light."
Kubrick doesn't seem like he was a sunshine-and-rainbows kind of guy -- A Clockwork Orange, Dr. Strangelove, Eyes Wide Shut, Full Metal Jacket -- they're not films you'd watch to be convinced that life and all the people in it are worth sticking around for. ("Whoa, V. Sounds dark!") Hold your horses! Kubrick did say that life is meaningless. ("You're not helping, V.") Okay, okay -- he did say life is meaningless, but he goes on to say that because of that, people must create their own meaning. ("Hmmm -- that's kind of nice.")
It is, especially for filmmakers, because his words, especially the quote in bold above, makes sense to us on two different, yet intertwined levels. Without being overly saccharine, in the same way that we cast light onto a scene in order to illuminate that which we find beautiful, meaningful, and valuable, so too must we cast light into our lives in order to find those same things. (Forget it, Hallmark. I'm already employed.)
In 1968, the director sat down with Playboy's Eric Nordern for an interview, in which they talked about, among other things, his fear of flying. This turned into a long meditative discussion about mortality and life, purpose and meaning. Gavin Aung Than, illustrator of Zen Pencils, which adapts inspirational quotes into cartoons, created the comic as a fun, entertaining, and rather heart-felt way to share Kubrick's incredible insight into what it means to exist. Check it out below:
You can read Stanley Kubrick's original Playboy interview here at Brain Pickings.
What did you think about the comic? Do you think Kubrick's thoughts on life, death, and meaning are reflected in his films? How? Let us know in the comments below.
- Stanley Kubrick Answers a Question -- Zen Pencils
- Stanley Kubrick on Mortality, the Fear of Flying, and the Purpose of Existence: 1968 Playboy Interview -- Brain Pickings
[via Filmmaker IQ]