PERFORMING ARTS

Stanley Kubrick: New York Jewish Intellectual

Rutgers Univ. Apr. 2018. 296p. photos. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780813587103. $34.95; ebk. ISBN 9780813587127. FILM
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Abrams (film studies, Bangor Univ., Wales; The New Jew in Film: Exploring Jewishness and Judaism in Contemporary Cinema) has built a mountain of articles, reviews, books, archives, and anecdotes concerning Kubrick's films, culled from them details theoretically related to elements of Jewishness, and restated them. The "New York Jewish Intellectual" is not defined but implied. The director's Jewishness is described as based on his genes, not his secularized lifestyle. Biographical information touches on Kubrick's early life in the Bronx, later years in England, photographic accomplishments, entry into filmmaking, and directorial controlling style. Thematic analyses of Lolita, 2001, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, and Eyes Wide Shut yield varying degrees of removed and concealed Jewishness. These inconsistencies position Kubrick's religiosity as a "palimpsest": a parchment written, rubbed clean, and rewritten. Authority figures emerge as reflections of the biblical story of Isaac and his father, Abraham; fearful crises, as Holocaust images; left-handedness, yellowish complexion, weakness as concealed clues of Jewishness.
VERDICT To approach this work without knowing Kubrick's major films, oy vey! For film enthusiasts and Kubrick fans, Peter Bailey's Critical Insights: Stanley Kubrick flies above this thematically burdened work.

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