Stanley Kubrick’s “Lolita” – A Most Ambitious Fantasy

The fourth entry in Plot and Theme’s year-long look at the filmography of Stanley Kubrick.  Check out all entries here.


Introduction

In 1962, Stanley Kubrick adapted the Vladimir Nabokov novel Lolita for his sixth feature film.  Though published only 7 years earlier, Nabokov’s novel was already reaching the status of a classic work due to its controversial subject matter, witty wordplay, and themes of erotic fantasy, hebephilia, and sexual predation.  Working with Nabokov on the screenplay, Kubrick’s adaptation faithfully recreates the key aspects of the novel, capturing the sexuality, irony, and tragedy of a man who lusts after a prepubescent girl.

Still shackled by the Hayes Code, Lolita was thought to be unfilmable, and the director himself later expressed that had he known how severe the censors were going to be, he probably wouldn’t have bothered to adapt Lolita.  Fortunately, he did.

Would You Like to Know More?

Advertisements

Park Chan-wook’s “The Handmaiden” Expresses Powerful Sexuality with Startling Style

Weird, exciting, and vibrant, Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden is an erotic tour through a world of subjugation, trickery, and betrayal framed by a bizarre love triangle.  The story was inspired by the novel Fingersmith by Welsh writer Sarah Waters, with Park and his co-writer Chung Seo-kyung adjusting the setting from Victorian England to Japanese-occupied Korea during the 1930s.  The structure of the film is cyclical, re-telling the story three times from different viewpoints and revealing new truths with each telling.  There’s an unreliability to the narrative, as truth and facade alternate with each new perspective.  But ultimately, The Handmaiden has an fervent romanticism about it, as the heart of the story is about love, sexual exploration, and self-discovery – all with a tinge of deviancy.

Continue reading “Park Chan-wook’s “The Handmaiden” Expresses Powerful Sexuality with Startling Style”

The Xenomorph and the Perversion of Sex in “Alien”

INTRODUCTION

Sexual interpretations of Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) abound, but few tie the overt sexuality of the film to its professed objective, which is to be scary.  Alien is a horror film (specifically, a slasher; Ridley Scott excitedly explained the film to his cast as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in space).  So then, why the sexual imagery and themes?  Sex can be scary.  Even when consensual and enjoyable, it can adopt an air of fear, anxiety, and discomfort.  Scott’s brilliance with Alien and its sexually-charged themes lay in the way it transitions from our quaint hang-ups with sex to the terrifying violence inherent in the act of rape.  Visual symbolism in the film initially reminds us of both male and female sexual anatomy, but transitions piecewise into the aggressive sexuality of the rapist.  As the film proceeds, the male aspects of the sex begin to dominate until the unbridled Xenomorph literally rapes its final victim.  These sexual characteristics serves to disturb the audience in two fashions:  first by suggesting the anxiety and the scariness of the sexual organs and sex itself, and second by perverting sex into a primal violence and forcing the audience to experience it firsthand.

Continue reading “The Xenomorph and the Perversion of Sex in “Alien””

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: