27 March 2008

Kubrick and Asperger

Are you familiar with the theory that Stanley Kubrick suffered from a highly functional form of autism called Asperger Syndrome? Here's a snip from an autism website:

People with Asperger's Syndrome usually have normal or above normal IQs. Asperger's can be described as an inability to understand how to interact socially.
Frederic Raphael would likely dispute that Stanley Kubrick had an IQ bigger than his IQ, but Kubrick does hold the Guinness Book World Record for the most number of retakes for a movie at 127. Try to judge for yourself if Stanley Kubrick was a highly functional autistic while watching this documentary. Vivian Kubrick offers the commentary track. She was seventeen when she made this behind the scenes look at the making of The Shining, during which her dad broke the record while directing Shelley Duvall.

Here's more from the InterWebs on AS
Asperger syndrome is one of five Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD) and it is increasingly being referred to as an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Asperger syndrome is characterized by deficiencies in social and communication skills. It is considered to be part of the autistic spectrum and is differentiated from other Autism Spectrum Disorders in that early development is normal and there is no language delay. It is possible for people with Aspergers syndrome to have learning disabilities concurrently with Asperger syndrome. Asperger's syndrome is often not identified in early childhood, and many individuals do not receive diagnosis until after puberty or when they are adults. In most cases, they are aware of their differences and recognize when they need support to maintain an independent life. There are instances where adults do not realize that they have Asperger syndrome personalities until they are having difficulties with relationships and/or attending relationship counseling. Recognition of the very literal and logical thought processes that are symptomatic of Asperger syndrome can be a tremendous help to both partners in a close/family relationship.

Aspergers syndrome is sometimes viewed as a syndrome with both advantages and disadvantages, and notable adults with Asperger's syndrome or autism have achieved success in their fields. Prominent Aspergers syndrome-diagnosed individuals include Nobel Prize-winning economist Vernon Smith, electropop rocker Gary Numan, Vines frontman Craig Nicholls, and Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of Pokémon. Some Aspergers syndrome researchers speculate that well-known figures, including Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Glenn Gould, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Stanley Kubrick, had Asperger syndrome because they showed some Aspergers syndrome-related tendencies or behaviors, such as intense interest in one subject, or social problems. Einstein's brain was investigated after his death. Einstein did not start talking until he was three and he frequently repeated sentences obsessively up to the age of seven. As an adult his lectures were notoriously confusing.
Abnormalities in the Sylvian fissure of Einstein's brain could possibly be associated with autism. I also read a biography of Walt Disney and the descriptions of his mercurial character at work, where he fired animators for minor slights, and his poor ability to judge people contrasted with his vast imagination and brilliant insight and creativity suggest Asperger as well. There is a lively debate going on in the InterWebs around these post-mortem diagnosis of famous people who may have suffered from autism. Names like Emily Dickinson, H. P. Lovecraft, Syd Barret, Andy Warhol, Greta Garbo and Paul Cezzane are mentioned as possible "aspies."


Anonymous said...

The best evidence for Kubrick being an Asperger is not perfectionism,it is the recurring themes of his films.
Aspies see themselves,or think the world sees them as robots,computers,or aliens.In A.I.Artificial Intelligence,the main character is a robot who thinks he is human.HAL,in 2001 is also a piece of artificial intelligence,a human-like computer. The definition of "A Clockwork Orange" in the first page of the book "a clockwork orange-meaning that he has the appearance of an organism but is in fact only a clockwork toy"

soma8 said...

you sound like one of the interviewees on "Room 237" with your ridiculous cherry-picked "evidence".

Filmgurulad said...

Your theory about Stanley Kubrick having Asperger's would explain his obsession of filmmaking and his sense of an imagination.

P.S. You are wrong about the former member of Pink Floyd, he did not have autism and instead suffers from a different disorder.

blablubbbbbbbbb said...

the handshake scene (where old james mason is in the background) , where kubrick has an expression of "lets skip this senseless gestures of welcoming" while trying to avoid taking to much part on it, while the other people , like normal, celebrate the ritual of welcoming, is quite obvios, and seems typical for aspergoid character parts.

Federico Del Monte said...

Check this link for a thesis on Kubrick & Asperger: