The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Seminal Image #866


Barry Lyndon
(Stanley Kubrick; 1975)

10 comments :

Feta said...

Great film. I really think that Barry Lyndon was Kubrick's cinematographic magnum opus, even more so than 2001 or A Clockwork Orange.

palinode said...

When I was younger, my father was obsessed with this film, and this image in particular. He would rent it (on videodisc, I think) every few months and watch until this moment, at which point he would always fling his finger out at the screen and demand that the entire family look closer.

I bet that the disc eventually developed a skip at this exact spot, which would have irritated other customers, except I'm sure that no one else ever rented Barry Lyndon on videodisc.

Vanwall said...

I love how Kubrick conned his way to get the right camera and lenses - he gave his all for his art.

David said...

Barry and his droogs. A magnificent image from a magnificent film.

Brent McKee said...

Maybe it's me, but I seem to recall the film being panned when first released. It is only with the fullness of time that it has achieved the fame that it now has.

Vanwall said...

You're right, Brent, it wasn't well thought of, altho I liked it even then.

estiv said...

I seem to recall the film being panned when first released.

I'm not sure, but it was definitely a commercial letdown after 2001 and Clockwork Orange. Supposedly Kubrick told the studio it would earn nine figures, at a time when only one movie (Jaws) had ever done so. Didn't come close. As wonderful as I find it, I think it also marks the beginning of his losing control of pacing, a problem that only got worse as the years went by. And I say that as somebody who also loved Eyes Wide Shut.

swac said...

I held off watching this on TV and video for years, and my patience was rewarded with a theatrical revival screening while I was in Toronto in the early '90s.

Well worth the wait, it's pacing and look don't work nearly as well on the small screen as in the movie theatre, where you practically get sucked into the image.

marklunn said...

getting sucked into the image, that's what going to the movie theater is all about...

SunRa said...

This is the most remarkably beautiful image I've ever seen drawn from a movie. It's proximity to a painting from the highest aesthetically advanced Golden Age is uncanny. Kubrick is without a doubt the true Rembrandt of the Cinematic Arts. His immersion in European culture is fabulous and awe inspiring.