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Lolita's Boys

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  • October 2007
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Lolita
Kubrick's Lolita, in my opinion, is an excellent example of Kubrick's attempt (and success) in transforming one of the best literary works in history into a cinematic work. Kubrick's use of innuendo and visual storytelling truly conveys the novel's spirit, feel, and irony. The characters in Kubrick's Lolita are the driving force to the story and are managed by superb actors and actresses. That aside and more importantly, it is Kubrick's use of relationships, staging, environment, suggestion, and camera-work that make possible the effective production and delivery of Lolita The relationship between Humbert and Quilty is most interesting and provides a paradox that runs through this satiric work. The relationship between these two male characters is fundamentally one of "point-counterpoint." We are introduced to these pedophiliacs in the prologue of the film, and apart from the foot pampering in the opening/main titles, this is the first relationship we are shown. I would suppose that this is more a use of device versus establishing the importance of Humbert and Quilty's relationship. Nevertheless, given the fact that Quilty is shot (by Humbert) while veiling himself behind an oil painting of a young lady, in one of the opening scenes (among several other correlations), indelibly links Lolita to these two men. Moreover, once the viewer senses the connection between Humbert and Lolita in Charlotte's garden, the viewer knows that Humbert and Quilty are predestined to have a key relationship and how that relationship will end. Narration also plays an important role in delivering the film's uncanny story. Humbert's unreliable first-person narration seemed to push me further from understanding his character, versus first-person narration's normal informative and instructive function. This use of unreliable narration, unexpectedly, does not allow the viewer to know exactly what Humbert is thinking. On the contrary, it cloaks his true intentions and...