Fear and Desire (1953)
Produced with money borrowed from Kubrick’s father and uncle, the film was shot in the San Gabriel Mountains with a tiny crew made up of a few friends, three Mexican workers, and the director’s first wide, Toba Etta Metz. Kubrick’s first feature, a walkabout behind enemy lines in an unnamed war, centers on soldiers who must each confront the themes of its title. In the first of Kubrick’s reflections on the dual nature of man, the actors play both the Americans and the “enemy.”
Mark Van Doren, a noted Columbia University professor, wrote to Kubrick at the time: “The incident of the girl bound to the tree will make movie history once it is seen; it is at once beautiful, terrifying and weird, nothing like it has ever been done in film before, and it alone guarantees that the future of Stanley Kubrick is worth watching for those who want to discover high talent at the moment it appears.”
Kubrick later called the film “a bumbling amateur film exercise” and withdrew it from circulation. In accordance with this instruction, the film is not screened at this exhibition.