There are classes you can take, seminars and lectures you can attend, panels and discussions; there are books you can read, criticism, analysis and interpretations, there are video essays you can watch, but at the end of the day the best thing you can do to become a great filmmaker is also the simplest: watch movies.
Like writers have to read, filmmakers have to watch. After all, it’s by watching films that one first discovers their love of film, and for all those formative years before you can get some higher education in the field, films are your exclusive teachers. As you make your way through the medium, you discover what you like and what you don’t, narratively and technically, which opens new avenues of interest and exploration. You put all these avenues together, and you have a map of the kind of filmmaker you want to be.
A director’s favorite films can teach you things about them and their work that said work never could. Just yesterday, for example, we published a list of Edgar Wright’s 1,000 favorite films, and while looking it over, what jumped out weren’t the films I expected him to like – the classic comedies, the horror and sci-fi, the action flicks – but rather the films I didn’t expect – the noir and silent films, the melodramas, the legal thrillers – and it was these I felt that granted greater insight to Wright’s career and the decisions he makes, narratively and technically, more so than the obvious inspirations.
As one great director’s list deserves another’s, today we turn to Candice Drouet and the latest installment of her stellar 1.000.000 Frames series, which features a collection of the favorite films of Stanley Kubrick. These are the pictures The Master learned from, the pictures that guided him on his path to becoming quite simply one of the most astounding and respected filmmakers the world has ever known. These are, in essence, how Kubrick the man became Kubrick the director, and as such they are invaluable to understanding and appreciating his work.
How many of these have you seen?
Stanley Kubrick’s favorite films / Candice Drouet from Really Dim on Vimeo.