European films

Film review: S Is for Stanley – Kubrick’s personal driver sheds light on the filmmaker’s life in touching documentary

Alex Infascelli’s low-budget documentary looks at the iconic American director through the eyes of his long-time driver, Emilio D’Alessandro, who reminisces about his 30-year friendship with Kubrick

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 December, 2017, 7:01pm
UPDATED : Monday, 04 December, 2017, 7:00pm

3/5 stars

So much has been written about Stanley Kubrick over the past couple of decades, you would think that there was nothing left to discover about him. But S Is for Stanley, a low-budget documentary by Italian filmmaker Alex Infascelli, provides an unusual peek into 30 years of the filmmaker’s life.

The film consists of Infascelli interviewing Emilio D’Alessandro, the Italian who worked as Kubrick’s driver from the late-1960s to the ’90s. Talking in his garage, D’Alessandro reminisces about his deep friendship with his boss, and the many driving jobs he undertook for him. Kubrick fans will find his stories of interest, and others will find his nostalgic remembrances touching.

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D’Alessandro is an excellent raconteur with a straightforward charm of his own. An Italian immigrant to London, and a former racing driver, he took up work as a cab driver to support his family.

Kubrick noticed him when he managed to transport a phallic prop for the director’s A Clockwork Orange across London in record time. Kubrick offered D’Alessandro the job of personal driver, and the two men became close friends.

D’Alessandro had no interest in films and filmmaking – driving was his love. Although he helped on many film sets, he didn’t watch any of Kubrick’s films during his 30 years of employment. When he finally did, he was amazed. “I realised he was a genius,” he says.

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Kubrick, he remembers, was a terrible driver who once wrote off his Mercedes by crashing it into his own garage. D’Alessandro relishes his memories of Kubrick’s hopeless driving, including an incident when the director was driving so badly he had to kick him out of the driver’s seat. A must-see for Kubrick fans.

S Is for Stanley opens on December 7

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