We’ve all seen orange with clockwork. If not, then at least we know its content and conflicting images and the inconvenience it causes. McDowell recounts how he spent six gruelling but rewarding months with Kubrick, a renowned perfectionist, in the film; he even said that the film-shaped his life. We can see it, and when we see it, like in a movie, we understand it. The film sucks. It was unforgettable. It is visually stunning. It is full of brutal violence and contains scary rape scenes. There is a mountain for media, violence, the human spirit. No one “likes” him. If this is your “favorite movie,” you are almost certainly lying. It’s awkward and uncomfortable, provocative and challenging, and a work of art.
At least the documentation. Some context:
Several countries banned clockwork orange after its release in 1971. Critics called it “moral corruption” and a “damned film”. It has been pulled from several theatres amid the backlash. Surprisingly, he did not see a single screen in Spain until 1975. Under Franco’s fascist rule, and its censors worked hard to stifle its cultural vitality. But in the early 1970s, its grip began to loosen, and pro-democracy activists began to give in, organizing protests and inspiring workers’ strikes.
One of the protest centres was Villadolid, a secondary college in the country’s northwest with an exciting dynamism. It reflected the conservative values of something in the surrounding rural community. Still, of the 200,000 residents at the time, 30,000 were progressive students. Many locals loved the vacation the cinema provided and soon organized an international film festival that began as a great collection of the religious films to please Franco’s Catholic dictatorship. But as nationalist censorship died down, the events immediately escalated and included Truffaut, Bergman, Bunuel, and the like. And the only film you want to program? You guessed it right – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Not! It’s the orange hour hand. But it won’t be easy. And such a foam of anticipation appears, can it live up to expectations?
I have seen the orange with the hour hand on it many times, and it is a masterpiece that stands for itself and speaks for itself. And once viewed, “Forbidden Orange” is a rather disappointing live documentary with a head that speaks in an “only if you’ve been there” tone that changes the tedious details of ticket printing and moviegoers lining up in front of the theatre to them to buy a night.
Bermudez points out some funny, weird facts:
Since the Spaniards were eager to see Kubrick’s film, the Spanish director produced “A Drop of Blood to Die, Loving”. The director’s best ideas come at the end of interviewing 20 viewers before and after seeing the film for the first time, which adds contextualization here in 2021.
The document was less interesting than the conversation it stimulated, but it inspired them. It seems insane – especially in the streaming era – that so many people do so much to show a film or two, some of the lengths Kubrick himself forced, who just wanted the film to show. Is he a dictator? Possible. But he admires the persecution of his art punishment, emphasizing the documentary interview. (Shelley Duvall may feel differently.)
But it’s worth accepting his demands: full theatre. The police showed up to fight the riots (luckily didn’t need them). Organizers rejected bomb threats launched amid demonstrations. The film MUST be screened because it has become a political protest, a crack in the dam of fascist control. Bermudez lets his people talk about politics then and now, but it feels repetitive and shallow.
It briefly touches on contemporary political correctness;
By comparing the open censorship of the 20th century and the better censorship of the 21st century. He rarely took the opportunity to think about whether a film like A Clockwork Orange was even being made today. Exciting stuff, sure, but A Forbidden Orange will ultimately be better than a longer, more detailed document of still-interesting – or shorter, more focused – film culture echoes for this one so important screening. Freedom-hungry Spaniards.
It’s far from perfect, but “Forbidden Orange” should interest Kubrick geeks (guilty!) and those with more than a fleeting interest in A Clockwork Orange.