“A Gentile’s House”: Lolita and the Holocaust

Along with stories of illicit sex and human derangement, Stanley Kubrick and Vladimir Nabokov both dreamed of making art about the Holocaust.

Nabokov, a three-time refugee from totalitarian governments, famously rejected literature bearing social messages. Yet at the end of his seventh decade, he vowed to his first biographer that he would one day tackle Nazi terror. “I will go to those German camps and look at those places and write a terrible indictment.”1 Decades later Kubrick made real progress toward his goal: he drafted a script, cast lead actors, and scouted a location in the Czech Republic for a film with the working title Aryan Papers. Yet neither man would complete his project.

Lolita, their only collaboration, somehow survived the censors, despite a plot centered on a professor’s cross-country travel and multi-year sexual abuse of his stepdaughter. While the subject of the movie stands at some distance from genocide, Nabokov’s 1955 novel and Kubrick’s 1962 film each play with…

A Conversation with Kota Ezawa

A couple months ago, The CJM Assistant Curator Pierre-François Galpin visited artist Kota Ezawa in his Oakland studio and talked about his next project at The Contemporary Jewish Museum, part of the In That Case: Havruta in Contemporary Art ongoing series. Then a work in progress, the three-channel video Much Ado About Nothing is a collaboration between Ezawa and contemporary dancer James Kirby Rogers, San Francisco-native and now part of the Kansas City Ballet. The installation opened to the public on July 28, 2016 and will be on view through July 2, 2017.
Pierre-François Galpin (PFG): The Havruta project re-interprets the Jewish tradition of dialogue and etymologically means friendship. Could you tell me a little about your relationship with James [Kirby Rogers] and describe how the video shoot went in January?
Kota Ezawa (KE): James and I lived in the same neighborhood in San Francisco for a number of years. His mother and I are colleagues, teaching at California College of the Arts.…

Stanley Kubrick: A Jewish Story

Stanley Kubrick was born in 1928 into a middle-class Jewish family in the Bronx. Though he was not raised in a religious family, Kubrick grew up immersed in a strongly Jewish context. [1] The West Bronx, where his father Jacob Kubrick was a physician, was home to a growing Jewish middle class in the 1920s. Here, Kubrick first encountered many of the Jewish people who would have profound influences on his film career. This included Marvin Traub, who introduced Kubrick to photography; Alexander Singer, cinematographer for Kubrick’s first film Day of the Fight; Gerald Fried, who composed the score for his first five films; writer Howard Sackler, who wrote an early screenplay for Kubrick; and Weegee, the tabloid crime photojournalist, who was born Arthur Fellig. In 1949, Kubrick moved to Greenwich Village where his proximity to a generation of young Jewish writers, like Howard Sackler and Paul Mazursky, influenced his early screenwriting and directing.

Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition on view at The Contemporary Jewish Museum

The Contemporary Jewish Museum is pleased to present Stanley Kubrick an exhibition by the Deutsches Filmmuseum, Frankfurt am Main, Christiane Kubrick, and The Stanley Kubrick Archive at University of the Arts London. In 2003, Stanley Kubrick’s personal estate was, for the first time, made accessible and evaluated. This exhibition gathers together a representative selection of these objects: annotated scripts, production photography, lenses and cameras, set models, costumes, and props, in order to document the directors entire career, beginning with his early photography and short documentaries and ending with his last film, Eyes Wide Shut (1999). In addition, the exhibition explores Napoleon and Aryan Papers, two projects that Kubrick never completed, as well as the technological advances developed and utilized by Kubrick and his team. This exhibition has been traveling internationally for 10 years and has been presented at 14 institutions. It was curated by Hans-Peter Reichmann, seni…

We All Need the Human Touch: Ray Harryhausen's The 3 Worlds of Gulliver

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
And how many times have we had Clarke's Third Law cited by the pro-tech contingent? San Francisco has been at the epicenter of a new tech boom. When programming cultural events centered on technology for Bay Area arts organizations, it may be impossible not to consider the social and political issues surrounding it.

Artful Picks: Hanukkah Edition

We've rounded up our best Hanukkah gifts from The CJM Store—with picks from Executive Director Lori Starr, Chief Curator Renny Pritikin, and Store Director Kevin Grenon! From boldly colored toys to the "notoriously awaited" RGB book, there's something for everyone—so give from the heART this year. _________________________________________________________________________________
"With chapters like, 'Been In This Game For Years' and 'Your Words Just Hypnotize Me,' this charming and informative book would be a wonderful gift for any bright young woman interested in Jewish jurisprudence and the impact of RBG on our collective psyche. I recommend the 'How to Be Like RBG' appendix!"

The Fountain: A Low-Tech Epic

As a prompt for an entry on The CJM's blog, your writer was asked to consider what makes a good movie. My usual short answer to this question is that a good, nay, a GREAT movie, allows multiple ways in. If a movie's creative team is firing on all cylinders, if the movie delivers on story, performances, design, mood, music, then you've got a classic on your hands. But even a movie that falters in one of these departments can be elevated by its other elements.

Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain (screening Thursday at The CJM as part of the CLEAT: Cinematic Lo-fi Experiments in Art and Technology) was intended to be Aronofsky's grandest, most ambitious work yet, telling the story of lovers whose relationship spans three time periods. But the movie wound up compromised by a halved budget (from $70 million to $35) that demanded radical changes to the scope and the story. With months to make a movie that had been years in the making, the resulting movie lost many viewers, wh…