Monday, November 10, 2014

Hilde's Day Out...Trains, Trains and Trains - 4

My frustration level reached an all time high last week when I completed Part 4 of this blog, clicked on publish and immediately lost same...poof, gone, disappeared as if by some kind of evil residual Halloween magic. I had enjoyed writing it and laughed all the while at my own silliness which is now impossible to recreate. Besides that, I've lost interest so I'll just go with a basic description of this event before moving on to a new blog.

Toronto is the only Canadian city which will be hosting the Stanley Kubrick display of movie mementos, props, scripts, screenplays, and assorted memorabilia. There are many extensive and detailed newspaper articles, blogs, excellent photos, and reviews available of this exhibit. My intention is not to duplicate any of those but rather describe my personal experience and enjoyment of what I saw.

I walked along King St. W. clinging to my blowing umbrella for about ten kilometres. (Mapquest says, one, just one kilometre. They are clearly mistaken.) As I mentioned previously, I happened to be photographing a pub, that advertised martini madness Wednesdays. Drat, it wasn`t Wednesday. Fortunately, I glanced across the street and saw the TIFF building, After backtracking so that I might cross at the light as all fine Canadians do,  I entered the TIFF Bell Lightbox and sought out a cashier. I requested a ticket. "For what time?" she asked. I must have looked baffled since I didn't realize that there were timed entries.

"Now?" I responded in my best city girl upspeak. I noted a surprised look on the cashier's face as she studied the fatigued, droopy haired, physically mature, soggy woman that stood in front of her. I suppose she thought I`d linger in the TIFF bar for a while first, while enjoying one of the Kubrick inspired cocktails. Had I known about them at the time, that might have been the case.

She looked me up and down appearing to check out my girth before deciding that they had room for me. Then, she asked whether I was a student. My very tired synapses connected just long enough to appreciate her subtlety and announce, "senior" thereby getting a discount.  She smiled that I got the hint and granted my request...a bargain at $10.
The seven thousand square foot exhibit was divided into room-like sections covering each decade of Kubrick's career. It began with one of his 1950's black and white films and ended with Eyes Wide Shut, a movie which was released in 1999, the year of his death. Several areas included good sized film clips projected onto walls.

I perused the early work with little interest. I did not believe that this exhibition would take me the projected hour to go through. Then came in leather, tunics, tall boots, and chain maille. I was fascinated. From the colour illustrations of the scenes, works of art in their own right, to the costuming and elaborate staging. Fantastic !

I became aware of all the people taking pictures with giant expensive cameras and also with giant expensive cell phones. Hmmm...didn`t I remember hearing something prior to entering that sounded like "no photos" ? Since I too wanted a few pictures I decided to go with the childlike excuse, " but everyone else is doing it". Even with my senior ticket, I didn`t think I could get away with "oh I forgot" should I be confronted. Since I felt guilty and was trying to be sneaky about my picture taking, my photos are sadly of a lesser quality than I would have liked.
Illustrated Scenes

The battlefield warriors were numbered
All work was intricate and detailed. Kubrick was indeed a perfectionist. I couldn`t help but think how the task of film making must now be somewhat easier with the use of computers. On the other hand I suppose, with technology comes a whole new set of expectations and problems.

The next room contained scenes from the 1962 movie, Lolita. What was most interesting to me were the typed letters...on a typewriter no less,  that were received from clergy and church officials denouncing the film. It was based on a novel by Vladamir Nobokov and the story was about a mature man obsessed with a young girl. Although I have never seen it, I remember and understand the fuss.

As I approached the 2001: A Space Odyssey monolith, the music and drums reverberated in my head. I had seen the film when I was a teen and the memory of the music, specifically Gregory Ligeti's 'Requiem', was particularly strong. No wonder the soundtrack won an oscar.

2001 was considered a sci fi masterpiece of its time based on a book by Arthur C. Clarke. I was disappointed when I saw HAL, the artificial intelligence that took over the space craft. To me, it looked like nothing more than a giant camera lens not even worthy of the photo which nobody was allowed to take. (I have one, but don`t tell...besides, they`re all over the internet anyhow).

I couldn`t resist getting into the picture with the space suit worn by actor Keir Dullea...a sneaky selfie of sorts. I do remember the astronaut`s oft terrified steely blue eyes, peering from the suit as he sparred with HAL, in an attempt to save his own life. I would have preferred to have a picture with the ape, but alas...

***Aside...a mental aberration as it were. Has anyone else seen the t.v.commercial which attempts to emulate the monolith and ape scene?  I can only wonder what percentage of the population actually gets this commercial. Perhaps it doesn`t even matter. It`s clearly not well done or even that memorable since I don`t recall what the commercial is for.

I had also seen A Clockwork Orange. Although many of my friends hated the movie, I found it intriguing at that point in my life. Yes, it was filled with disturbing behaviour as well as disgusting acts of violence. On the other hand, I remember imagining that society was closer to some of that than we cared to admit. And that was in 1971. There were scenes of graffiti, deserted buildings, and blowing trash. There was a home invasion. Behaviour modification akin to torture was tried to rehabilitate the criminal element. Once again, there was a classical music soundtrack and the film was based on a book. This is the only photo which I took of this display. It`s a mannequin from the Korovian Milk Bar Scene. 

I learned from some later reviews that there were many details of the movie included in the room representing The Shining. Again,  not having seen the film I knew nothing of the carpeting, the typewriter, the maze, and so on. All were on display.  I do recall seeing movie previews with two little girls in blue dresses. I`m not certain whether it was part of the exhibit or if it was simply Halloween costuming on that day, but two young women showed up. They were actually extremely creepy, holding hands and walking with frozen expressions. When they reached for a door marked REDRUM while staring straight at me, I took a couple of fast pictures and hid my camera lest they be the TIFF exhibit photography police. They continued to follow as I quickened my pace through Eyes Wide Shut and exited the building.
I learned a lot from the Stanley Kubrick exhibit. Not only did I get educated in the complexities of movies and film making but I realized how much I would have missed had I avoided this display thinking that it wasn't "my cup of tea".

After a wonderful time in the city, I took yet another train, the GO train and met a friend for dinner.  During the trip, I reflected on my busy and productive albeit hectic day which I imagined would result in several blogs. It has.

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