Happy Birthday, Stanley Kubrick
I don’t mistrust sentiment and emotion, no. The question becomes, are you giving them something to make them a little happier, or are you putting in something that is inherently true to the material? Are people behaving the way we all really behave, or are they behaving the way we would like them to behave? I mean, the world is not as it’s presented in Frank Capra films. People love those films — which are beautifully made — but I wouldn’t describe them as a true picture of life.
The questions are always, is it true? Is it interesting? To worry about those mandatory scenes that some people think make a picture is often just pandering to some conception of an audience. Some films try to outguess an audience. They try to ingratiate themselves, and it’s not something you really have to do. Certainly audiences have flocked to see films that are not essentially true, but I don’t think this prevents them from responding to the truth.
Stanley Kubrick, from The Rolling Stone Interview: Stanley Kubrick in 1987