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HCFF: Malcolm McDowell discusses the legacy of “A Clockwork Orange” and Stanley Kubrick


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It’s been 50 years since Anthony Burgess released his dystopian novella “A Clockwork Orange,” and 41 years since Stanley Kubrick released his beloved adaptation of the classic work. In the time since, the film has become one of Kubrick’s most famous movies, standing high in the ranks among “The Shining,” “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Full Metal Jacket.”

Attendees of the Hero Complex Film Festival screening of the movie on Saturday were lucky enough to be treated to a Q&A following the film with star Malcolm McDowell. The 68-year-old still fondly looks back on the project that ended up being his most famous work in his career, and the director who brought that greatness out of him.

“The great thing about Kubrick is that he took on pretty much every genre of filmmaking and made a masterpiece, which must have pissed off a lot of his contemporaries,” McDowell remembered fondly of his director, who passed away in 1999. “He did amazing things.”

Kubrick is now considered one of the most famous filmmaking geniuses of all time, but McDowell said that it was hard to see him that way at the time of filming “A Clockwork Orange.”

“I never could consider him to be a genius because how can you work with a genius? You can’t,” McDowell said. “In retrospect of course he’s a genius I suppose because of all the movies he’d done. I didn’t have them in my mind; you know, I’d just seen [‘2001: A Space Odyssey’]. I didn’t see ‘Strangelove’ until later, thank god.”

It’s sort of strange that a movie as divisive and extreme as “A Clockwork Orange” would have such a strong life nearly half a century after its release, but McDowell credits that to its strong source material.

:”Why does is this movie still relevant today? No movies last 40 years. And it’s an extraordinary achievement on Burgess’s part that he wrote this dense extraordinary novel about a universal subject,” he said. “Kubrick — you know, it’s the perfect storm. To get someone like Kubrick with his vision and his extraordinary eye, the look of a movie was sort of light years against of everything.”

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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