Auteur Film Festival: “Lolita”

A half-full audience with differing opinions gathered their snacks and sat in front of a black and white screen to watch an old film present timely ideas.

The recent Hollywood controversy about sexual misconduct made Stanley Kubrick’s “Lolita” (1962) an interesting film to play because it depicts an adult man lusting for the young daughter of his new wife.

Philosophy instructor Melanie Mcquitty and English instructor Brad Saenz coordinated the Auteur Film Festival to present auteur filmmakers. Auteurs make a film their own through an individualized style and approach to filmmaking.

This was the second installment of the Auteur Film Festival, the first was a showing of David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet” (1986).

“Lolita” is based on Vladimir Nabokov’s novel. He and Kubrick wrote the screenplay of this 1961 adaptation.

“One of the things that made this film so great is what Kubrick and Nabokov did to satisfy the censors. The book is far more explicit,” Mcquitty said.

Mcquitty said that it is up to the consumer to figure out some of the sexual references that were alluded to in the film.

“That is part of what makes this ‘Kubrick’ to me,” Mcquitty said.

A panel discussion following the film was led by Mcquitty.

Panelists Saens and Chris Corning, an assistant professor of English, answered Mcquitty’s questions about the film and had a discussion with the audience once the panel opened for questions.

Corning said that these events provide an opportunity to get people to look at older films.

“As someone who grew up not wanting to watch films made before I was born, it is always cool to see people coming in to watch films that are more 50 years old. We are still looking at them, talking about them and engaging in a meaningful way with them,” Corning said. “It’s great to see students get excited about that.”

Once the panel opened the floor for audience questions and discussion, attendants vocally expressed their confusion and disgust with the story. Many said the main character was pitiful and worthy of sympathy. Conflicting opinions were discussed during the panel.

Corning said he liked listening to the students’ questions, and their input made him think about aspects of the film he hadn’t considered in a while.

“It was interesting to see what issues the students walked away with from the film,” Corning said.

Humanities major Jesse Monterroso only attended the panel discussion for “Blue Velvet,” but she thought it was a better experience to watch “Lolita” and participate in the discussion.

Monterroso said that hearing opinions from people who have experience analyzing films gave him a different insight about “Lolita.”

He said that listening to the film panel has made him consider paying attention to detail when watching films to get to the root of the meaning and the symbolism.

Monterroso said the panel discussion was informative, educational and exciting.

“The knowledge that you are gaining, and being able to use critical thinking skills when you dissect movies is beneficial,” Monterroso said.

Mcquitty said that the auteur theme will be kept for the film festivals next semester. Alfred Hitchcock and Pedro Almodóvar will be two auteur filmmakers showcased next semester.