Fear and Desire
Stanley Kubrick's first film is a fascinating snapshot of a director in development
Stanley Kubrick’s little seen 1953 debut feature, Fear and Desire, which was funded by his family and friends, finally gets a DVD and Blu-ray release. It’s an unconventional but compelling film as four soldiers find themselves trapped behind enemy lines during an unspecified war. There’s a strange sterile atmosphere with esoteric, disassociated dialogue and voiceovers offering monologues on the nature of self and duty giving it all a vaguely disconnected sci-fi feel. It is slightly pretentious, particularly for a first film, but it’s still incredibly interesting to see this snapshot of Kubrick’s development to become one of the most respected directors of all time – you can already see his very deliberate editing style coupled with very precise use of tight close ups.
Even if this wasn’t Kubrick it’s still a fascinating film while Eureka have put together another wonderful ‘Masters of Cinema’ bundle bulking out the feature (which runs at just over an hour): a trio of early Kubrick documentaries (Day of the Fight, Flying Padre and The Seafarers) sits alongside a new introduction from film critic Bill Krohn, plus new essays on Kubrick’s early work by James Naremore.