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Previously in Web Citations:

Modem Bride

Wedding planning made so easy even your mother can handle it.

Be Fruitful and Multiply

When it comes to modern reproductive technology, many are turning to the Web for a helping hand.

Democratic Vistas

"I sing the body electric," Walt Whitman wrote. Little did he know what he was prophesying.

Something for Everyone

As more and more live video comes to the Web, there's always something on -- but is there anything to watch?

The Law and Spirit of the Letter

The digital age may (or may not) spell the death of print, but it has breathed new life into the art of type.

Be-In Digital

In some quarters, the spirit of Haight-Ashbury is still kicking. Should we care?

Guiding Light

Outside the Islamic world, the Net can serve as eyes and ears to the faithful.

What Side Are You On?

Order and chaos, right and wrong, good and evil. True believers know what the U.S. v. Microsoft case is really about.

For more, see the complete Web Citations Index.

Lifetime Achievement
March 17, 1999

Stanley Kubrick's death on March 7 at the age of seventy triggered an avalanche of posthumous media attention, in large part because of the director's legendary reclusiveness. Looking back at his fifty years of filmmaking it seems clear that Kubrick came closer than any other filmmaker to envisioning what the Information Age might look like -- the jarring conjunctions of intimacy and distance, the ubiquity of brands and mega-corporations, and the dangers of ceding privacy in the quest for security. Kubrick was one of the few directors who properly understood the twin roles that technology and loneliness would play in modern life.

   The 25th Anniversary
(From Stanley Kubrick:
The Master Filmmaker

Perhaps this explains why there are more Web sites devoted to Kubrick and his oeuvre than to almost any other director save Quentin Tarantino (many of whose fans were still in preschool when Kubrick released his last film, Full Metal Jacket) or David Lynch (whose dark, unsettling films become cult classics almost coincident with their release). On the Web, at least, much of the enthusiasm for Kubrick centers around 2001: A Space Odyssey. Released in 1968, a year before the lunar landing, 2001's vision of space was unlike anything that preceded it, though not so much in what it added as in what it took away. Kubrick created a place where noise and speed played no role (much like early cyberspace) -- a dark, silent, slow-motion abyss altogether different from the fast-paced, noisily explosive, consciously make-believe worlds of Star Wars and other intergalactic westerns that have succeeded it. As with many of Kubrick's films, much of 2001's visual iconography has risen to the level of cultural reference, from HAL's unblinking red eye and detached monotone to the appearance of the monolith accompanied by the booming overture to Strauss's Thus Spake Zarathustra.

Those interested in learning more about Kubrick would do well to consult any one of a number of studiously maintained sites devoted to his work, such as the Kubrick MultiMedia Film Guide and Stanley Kubrick: The Master Filmmaker. The most comprehensive effort is The Kubrick Site, a compendium of essays, articles, reviews, scripts, rare interviews, and miscellaneous Kubrick-related paraphernalia that does justice to its subject's maniacal perfectionism.

At the time of his death Kubrick was in the final stages of work on his last film, Eyes Wide Shut, a "psycho-sexual thriller" starring Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise that is now scheduled for release in the middle of July. Kubrick's absence will certainly be missed at the film's premiere -- as it will be at the dawn of the new millennium, when the Vienna Philharmonic plays the opening chords of Strauss's Blue Danube Waltz as the clock strikes midnight on January 1, 2001.

--Gina Hahn

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More on Technology and Digital Culture in Atlantic Unbound and The Atlantic Monthly.

Gina Hahn is The Atlantic Monthly's special projects editor. She edits the Arts & Entertainment Preview and contributes frequently to Atlantic Unbound.

Copyright © 1999 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
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