A Clockwork Orange Total good is as inhuman as total evil

This is one of the most bizarre films in the history of cinema and one of the most famous banned films. Since its release, it has not only provoked endless debates, but also its violent scenes have been copied by many teenagers. For this reason, it has been banned in many countries, for example, in the United Kingdom, it suffered a ban for nearly 30 years – until the film’s director Kubrick’s death, it was able to meet with British audiences.

In addition to the issue of violence, the film is also related to “brainwashing” – in the Western world, “brainwashing” seems to be the most horrific topic, even more than the psychopathic killer to make people In the Western world, “brainwashing” seems to be the most terrifying topic, even more than psychopathic killers, because “brainwashing” means the complete erasure of individuality and the complete interference with personal freedom. There are many classics in the history of cinema that show the horror of this topic, the most famous one being “Leap into the Madhouse”. This “A Clockwork Orange” puts the issue in an extreme situation: even if the subject is a shameless and depraved hoodlum, shouldn’t his right to free choice be upheld? Shouldn’t anyone have the right to deprive others of the “ability to make the right choice”, as the priest in the film says?

When the American director Kubrick read the novel “A Clockwork Orange” by the British writer Anthony Burgess, he tried to convince Warner Pictures to buy the rights to it for $200,000 in 1969. With a budget of only $2 million, he then set out to make the film “A Clockwork Orange”. Kubrick borrowed many documentary techniques for the film, including live radio, natural lighting and the use of wheelchairs to create bumps during tracking shots.

Upon completion, “A Clockwork Orange” was rated X for violence and sex by the Motion Picture Review Board. It became the second X-rated film to be nominated for an Oscar, after Midnight Cowboy. A year after the film’s release, Kubrick cut 30 seconds of footage from the film to change the rating to R for “A Clockwork Orange. A Clockwork Orange had a less successful release in the UK than in the US, where it was blamed for several incidents of murderous violence. As a result, Kubrick asked Warner to halt the release of A Clockwork Orange in the UK. The U.K. subsequently banned the film from its domestic release and the ban was not lifted until 2000.

The New York film critics rated “A Clockwork Orange” as the best American film of 1971 and Kubrick as the best director of the year. It was also nominated for Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing.

At the beginning of the film, there is a close-up of a face. It seems to be smiling, but the smile is evil and twisted, and it looks like it is admiring itself. The camera then slowly pulls away, close up, medium shot, and panoramic view. We see the surreal interior decorated with the smell of sex and drugs. This almost Dali-esque dream scene is like Freud’s ego paradise. Like other typical settings in the film, it is heavily surreal, with bizarre furnishings, strong colors and sexual innuendo ……

The story takes place in a futuristic society where several violent youths, led by Alex, have just drunk human milk, which is said to contain drugs, and they start going around for fun. First, they beat up a homeless man on the street, and then find a group of hoodlums who want to rape a young girl, for personal revenge fight. Kubrick used slow-motion to show the vicious battle between the two sides, the sound of music, tables and chairs flying, breaking glass, that can be called “violent aesthetics” (compared to this “violent slow-motion”, but also impressive is the subsequent paragraph) (compared with this “violent slow-motion”, equally impressive is the subsequent “sex fast-motion”: Alex will be two teenage prey led home for promiscuity, Kubrick with fast-motion performance of the entire sex process).

After a vicious fight, Alex and his accomplice drive away, recklessly reversing on the road. At a suburban apartment, Alex uses a traffic accident as a reason to borrow a phone from the writers who head the place, Mr. and Mrs. Alexander, and when the door opens, they burst in wearing masks, beat the writer and gang-raped his wife in front of him ……

The next day, Alex beat up his men who were disloyal to him, thus establishing himself as the boss. In the evening, they are ready to enter the rich woman “Mrs. Cat” home in the same way, but unexpectedly “Mrs. Cat” has been prepared, not only did not open the door, but also in Alex left to the police on the phone. Alex accidentally killed “Mrs. Cat”, and when he panicked to escape from “Mrs. Cat”‘s apartment, he was knocked unconscious by his men who intended to retaliate, and was finally arrested by the arriving police. Alex was sentenced to 14 years in prison for the murder.

Probably because there were too many vicious young people like Alex in that era, prison resources were extremely tight. To alleviate this problem and reduce the evil in society, the government of the time adopted an experimental treatment for these youths. The method was simple: after injecting some kind of drug into the “experimental subjects”, some extremely cruel and bloody crimes were magnified and pressurized in the way of personal movies, which were constantly shown to the “experimental subjects”. Under the effect of the drug, the original desire of the “experimental subjects” and the body refers to different directions, the innate pleasure and drug nausea make their bodies at a loss, this unbearable split state will be effective and powerful to suppress all the evil desire of the “experimental subjects”! ……

Alex, who did not know the details, volunteered to be the “experiment” for this new government experiment. The experiment is a success and Alex is transformed at the end of the experiment into a “new man” who does not fight back, does not curse back, has no sexual desire and will never harm society ……

The author of the original novel, Anthony Burgess, in explaining his point of view, said, “Thoroughly good is as inhuman as thoroughly evil; what matters is the right to make moral choices.” And Alex, who is engaged in a devilishly sinful hook, lives in this radical good and radical evil, with an organic appearance that seems to have the color and juice of love, but in reality is merely a wind-up toy. And the terrible God or the devil, and the increasingly perfected state apparatus, which plays a greater role than they do, never stop their manipulative hands, which are silently tightening the clockwork toys in the darkness, and silently watching them on their way to self-destruction ……

Kubrick’s film about the future of society, which intentionally omits the characteristics of the times, raises the question: in the future of social institutions, in the process of technological development, can people continue to choose their own behavior according to their own will? Or will it be a “clockwork orange” that is at the mercy of others and has no opinion of its own? Or how does a person maintain his or her free will in a social system? –Kubrick’s question never seems to be answered.

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