The material about director Stanley Kubrick’s process is finally more interesting than the discussions about his temperament.
Intrigued by Kubrick’s exacting and innovative methods — for example, shooting “Barry Lyndon” as much as possible with candles, torches and sunlight — Vitali set off to study the craft of moviemaking. His quest led him back to Kubrick, just as the director was starting to work on his 1980 film, “The Shining.” In short order, Vitali became a casting consultant (he auditioned child actors for the role of Danny Torrance) and then a factotum for Kubrick. In “Filmworker,” a documentary directed by Tony Zierra, Vitali tells his story.
The portrait Vitali creates of his former boss reveals a man of great curiosity, generosity and creativity, but also a frequently imperious and unreasonably demanding perfectionist.
The material about Kubrick’s process is finally more interesting than the discussions about his temperament. Addressing Kubrick’s mania for multiple takes, Vitali observes that the filmmaker did not ask for them because of dissatisfaction with his actors, but because he needed to break down a scene, observe how it was or was not coming together, before he could ever abandon it. Kubrick himself had trouble deeming any work truly finished.
Today, almost 20 years after Kubrick’s death, the film shows that Vitali’s work is not over. As a consultant to the Kubrick estate, he does quality control for the video releases of his old boss’ films, and more.
“Filmworker,” a documentary directed by Tony Zierra. 94 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences. Grand Illusion. The New York Times does not provide star ratings with reviews.