Stanley Kubricks A Clockwork Orange in a Modernist Perspective

Lauge Hendriksen, Lise Stenbæksgaard & Anna Melanie Bæckmann Rasmussen

Student thesis: Project on Graduate Program


In this dissertation, the aim is to investigate how the modernist features are expressed in Stanley Kubrick’s film A Clockwork Orange (1971). First and foremost, the dissertation will define the modernist film as well as Gilles Deleuze’s concept; the time-image, as this can be related to the modernist film.
Since Kubrick’s cinematic expression occurs in the contemporary of modernist films, we find it interesting to investigate how the modernist films seem to unfold in his films with the focus being on A Clockwork Orange, and how this film in particular contains ambiguity.
In the analytic part of the dissertation, the stylistic and narrative parts of A Clockwork Orange will be analyzed with a neoformalistic approach. Here, we will incorporate the concepts of defamiliarization and grotesque aesthetics with the aim of illuminating the ambiguity of the modernist film. The analysis explains how modernist stylistics stand out and how ambiguity is implied, which is an essential part of the modernist film. The main analysis of A Clockwork Orange will be followed by a perspective analysis, where the modernist features are examined in Kubrick’s oeuvre. 
Furthermore, we will discuss how Stanley Kubrick’s style is an expression of a modernist film, as well as what the unsympathetic and monstrous characters bring to his films.
The dissertation concludes that the modernist features in A Clockwork Orange are expressed in the way that the film breaks with the classic film narrative, as well as the way that the film is cut and how the main protagonist Alex is portrayed.
Moreover, the films aesthetics are expressed through the exaggerated colors and clear contrasts that contribute significantly to the artistic effect. This is supported by the slow methodical shots and the recurring symmetrical compositions.

EducationsDanish, (Bachelor/Graduate Programme) Graduate
Publication date2018
Number of pages61
SupervisorsCharlotte Engberg