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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Monday September 16, 2019 

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OPINION – LOLITA AND HAPPINESS


Editor Andrew L. Urban wonders why there is no chorus of disapproval to greet the US film, Happiness (opens 25/3/99), in which an otherwise average psychiatrist and family man lives with his paedophilia secret until forced to confess it – to his own young son.

Just a brief note to Trish Draper and the other isolated voices of unreason who were outraged over Lolita – before seeing the film. Here is another film you haven’t seen, also rated R and this one dealing head on with paedohilia. He is a father and family man, a psychiatrist no less, unable to help himself. Bill is a genuine paedophile, unlike Humbert Humbert in Lolita.

"But they should hear about ...and see Happiness. After they’ve seen Lolita."

But perhaps more people have heard about the Lolita story because it is adapted from Nabokov’s novel that was first published in 1954, and Kubrick made his famous version in 1962. The story gets garbled and simplified in the telling, of an older man seducing his stepdaughter. Of course, the film doesn’t match that simplistic outline at all. But who has time for complexities and subtleties when moral indignation carries so well in the media?

Well, no-one in Canberra has yet heard of Todd Solondz’ new film, Happiness. But they should hear about it, and they should all go and see the film. After they’ve seen Lolita.

"It’s as difficult an aspect of the human condition as is prostitution, drug addiction and politics"

They should sit there and take a moment to try and understand the subject and maybe with that new insight they will be able to do something positive and useful about the problems associated with paedophilia. It’s very complex and very much resistant to simplistic, knee jerk reactions.

In fact, it’s as difficult an aspect of the human condition as is prostitution, drug addiction and politics.

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