Barry Lyndon: A Masterpiece of Period Drama by Stanley Kubrick
Barry Lyndon is a 1975 film written, directed, and produced by Stanley Kubrick, based on the 1844 novel The Luck of Barry Lyndon by William Makepeace Thackeray. The film stars Ryan O'Neal as the titular character, a roguish Irishman who rises and falls in the social hierarchy of 18th-century Europe.
The film is widely regarded as one of Kubrick's finest works, and a masterpiece of period drama. It features stunning cinematography, meticulous production design, authentic costumes, and a rich musical score. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won four, including Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, and Best Original Score.
The film follows the adventures of Redmond Barry (O'Neal), who loses his father in a duel and becomes infatuated with his cousin Nora Brady (Gay Hamilton). When Nora marries a wealthy British officer, Barry challenges him to a duel and flees to Dublin. He joins the British Army and fights in the Seven Years' War, but deserts and joins the Prussian Army. He becomes a spy for the Irish gambler Chevalier de Balibari (Patrick Magee), and later his partner in crime. He seduces and marries the rich widow Lady Lyndon (Marisa Berenson), and assumes her late husband's aristocratic position. However, his ambition and extravagance lead to his downfall, as he faces the resentment of his stepson Lord Bullingdon (Leon Vitali), the hostility of his creditors, and the loss of his wife's love.
Barry Lyndon is a film that explores the themes of fate, fortune, class, morality, and human nature. It is also a film that showcases Kubrick's mastery of visual storytelling, using natural light, long takes, zooms, and paintings as references. The film has been praised for its historical accuracy, its aesthetic beauty, and its emotional impact. It is a film that deserves to be seen on the big screen, or at least on a high-quality Blu-ray disc.
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Barry Lyndon is not only a film about a historical period, but also a film that reflects on the nature of history itself. The film begins with a quote from Thackeray's novel: \"It was in the reign of George II. that the above-named personages lived and quarrelled ; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now\". This quote sets the tone for the film's ironic and detached perspective on the events and characters that it portrays. The film does not romanticize or glorify Barry's life, but rather exposes its vanity and folly. The narrator, voiced by Michael Hordern, often comments on Barry's actions and motives with sarcasm and cynicism, sometimes contradicting what we see on the screen. The narrator also reminds us of the inevitability of death and the futility of human ambitions.
The film also explores the themes of fate and fortune, and how they shape Barry's life. Barry is a man who relies on his luck and his charm to get what he wants, but he also suffers from the whims of chance and the consequences of his choices. He is a man who tries to make his own destiny, but he is also a victim of circumstances beyond his control. As Thackeray wrote in his novel: \"Let the man who has to make his fortune in life remember this maxim. Attacking is his only secret. Dare, and the world always yields: or, if it beat you sometimes, dare again, and it will succumb\". Barry follows this maxim throughout his life, but he also learns that daring has its price, and that the world can be cruel and unforgiving.
Barry Lyndon is also a film that depicts the contrast between war and peace, between violence and civilization, between passion and reason. The film shows us the horrors and absurdities of war, as well as the beauty and elegance of peace. The film shows us how Barry is shaped by both war and peace, how he adapts to different situations and environments, how he gains and loses love and power. The film shows us how Barry is both a hero and a villain, a lover and a fighter, a gentleman and a rogue. The film shows us how Barry is a complex and contradictory human being, like all of us. As Kubrick said in an interview: \"Barry Lyndon isn't a hero in the modern sense of the word to say the least. He's not even an anti-hero because that would imply some quality which would make him attractive\".
Barry Lyndon is a film that challenges and rewards its viewers with its slow pace, its long shots, its subtle emotions, its rich details, its stunning visuals, its haunting music, its brilliant performances, its profound insights, its dark humor, its tragic irony. It is a film that invites us to reflect on our own lives, our own dreams, our own failures, our own mortality. It is a film that reminds us of what Kubrick said in another interview: \"However vast the darkness we must supply our own light\". ec8f644aee