s-is_for_stanley_1Year: 2016
Director(s): Alex Infascelli
Writer(s): Alex Infascelli
Region of Origin: Italy

Color, 78 mins

Synopsis: S Is For Stanley is the story of Emilio D’Alessandro, Stanley Kubrick’s personal driver and close personal friend for over 30 years. (Source)

Stanley Kubrick is one of the most talked about and mythic directors of the 20th century, and the veil of secrecy over his art and life are fascinating, especially because of his notorious refusal to discuss either. S is for Stanley draws the curtain back just enough, with director Alex Infascelli turning a spotlight towards Emilio D’Alessandro, initially a personal assistant to Kubrick, who would then become a close friend of the director for over 30 years. For a time, their lives were intertwined, causing a major impact on Emilio’s life and giving way to one of the most fascinating stories of recent memory.

The documentary follows D’Alessandro, as he recounts his relationship with Kubrick chronologically. It begins with how they met, with D’Alessandro, himself, a hopeful racer driver with stalled ambitions. It was he who was tasked with delivering A Clockwork Orange’s giant ceramic penis to set, across London, and during a massive snowstorm in his Mini Cooper no less. The young Italian man was determined, albeit embarrassed to do such a job, but immediately caught the eye of director Stanley Kubrick. The rest of the film details how he slowly became Kubrick’s go-to person for just about anything – personal driver, courier, prop master and much more.

Throughout, Infascelli picks apart the bittersweet memories of D’Alessandro and Kubrick’s relationship, showing how the two were close, while being cognizant of the sacrifices required to keep their friendship afloat. D’Alessandro mentions that he was so focused on assisting Kubrick, that he missed most of his children’s lives as they were growing up. Constant contact from Kubrick also proved difficult for D’Alessandro’s wife Janette, as Kubrick was constantly calling their home. The solution to this, installing a second line exclusively for Kubrick, shows both the playful ingenuity and taxing toll of their relationship.

s_is_for_stanley_4The humor sprinkled throughout the film does a great job of illustrating Kubrick’s infamous idiosyncrasies with the darker implications of his demanding nature, which come to a head when D’Alessandro’s son is involved in a near-fatal car accident. The event causes a rupture in D’Alessandro and Kubrick’s relationship, but also highlights how much they meant to each other – while Alessandro asks for privacy for him and his family, Kubrick insists on helping, paying for his son’s medical expenses and finding him the best doctors.

It’s the film’s final moments that crystalize the breadth of D’Alessandro and Kubrick’s friendship, with the former a man who was entranced not by the legend of Kubrick the filmmaker, but Stanley the man. Infascelli is telling the love story between these two men, and though it skims the surface at certain points, it reveals the story of an unsung, cinematic hero too incredible to be ignored. Through it all, D’Alessandro views himself is a minor role to Kubrick’s productions, but his assistance towards such iconic films are incredible. As it turns out, S is for Stanley is not about Kubrick, but his confidant, a man who will perhaps understand him better than any of us will ever know. These two men are proof that the right friendship can outlast anything else in life, good or bad.