Kubrick, Anya

Kubrick, Anya
(1959– )
   Anya Renata Kubrick is STANLEY KUBRICK’s first daughter. He was already a stepfather to Katharina, his wife Christiane’s daughter by a previous marriage. Kubrick named the independent production company that he created to produce LOLITA (1962) “Anya Productions” after his daughter. Anya Kubrick told journalist Nick James that her father was always a genuine presence in the lives of his daughters. “He always worked at home as much as he could; and my mother, who is a painter, was also working at home. . . . The result is we’re all visually well trained. Each of us is a reasonable photographer. ” When Kubrick was filming, he was really happy for his girls to go on the set, Anya remembers; they always felt they could watch him work. “He wasn’t a remarkable father; he was a remarkable filmmaker. He was a very nice, good, rather Jewish father-probably over-protective but no more so than many. He would always be there for us and he was fantastic in a crisis. ” Even if he was immersed in making a film, Anya felt she could phone and say, “I have to speak to you. I’ve really got a problem. ” And he would oblige.
   Anya is married to Jonathan Finney, a conductor and opera singer, and runs her own opera company; she has one son. Over the years she has resented the allegations in the press that her father was a misanthrope, a recluse who never left the house. “It’s very easy to make anybody’s behavior sound odd. You take anyone doing anything out of context, and it sounds peculiar. ” People say he had no friends:“It’s exaggerated,” she counters. It is true, she explains, that he did not go out much—he lived in a big country house and friends came to see him.
   Concerning the gossip about Kubrick that has proliferated, especially in the yellow press:“There are certain themes—his being a hermit—that are journalistic exaggerations of his characteristics. ” She remarks that, the more she reads about her father, the more she thinks that Howard Hughes was a perfectly normal person. “Recluse is a word that gets thrown at him in practically every article; and as far as I can work out, a ‘recluse’ must be defined as someone who doesn’t talk to journalists. ” Kubrick did not talk to journalists as a rule, because he thought them untrustworthy reporters; “but he spoke to everyone else. And those who knew him well liked him and respected him. ”
   Reporters at times described Kubrick as manipulating his associates in the film industry by being passive-aggressive in dealing with them. Anya counters that he was neither manipulative nor passive-aggressive; rather, he was a negotiator of the first order. “He argued his point and often won” when negotiating with studio executives; he was a debater. When he was trying to persuade someone to see his point of view, “he argued hard. ‘Manipulate’ has the idea that he was pulling strings, being sneaky. He was not sneaky; he was direct. The point was to get things right. . . . He was a challenge. ”
   Anya affirms that it was Kubrick’s custom not to respond to the misinformation about him in the press. “He never answered back. After a while it became obvious you could say just about anything, and he wasn’t going to retaliate. ” He would usually say, “Don’t worry about it. ” But she adds, “He was starting to worry about it and minding the maliciousness and inaccuracy. ”
   Anya concedes that the family is not going to be able to modify the myths about Stanley Kubrick very much. But she believes that they should speak out. “We can reinterpret certain things. It’s a kind of sloppiness to say that someone was a perfectionist, which he certainly was,” when it came to making his movies, but then to also say that he was obsessive. “There’s a world of difference between the two. Obsessive is a medical condition. ” She concludes,“We figure: let’s get ourselves into the clippings file,” although people will say it is special pleading on the part of Kubrick’s family“. At least it will be there, and we do have the advantage that we did know him rather well. If we say nothing, then our silence will be seen as confirmation. ”
   ■ James, Nick, “At Home with the Kubricks,” Sight and Sound 9 (n. s. ), no. 9, Special Kubrick Issue, (September 1999); 12+.

The Encyclopedia of Stanley Kubrick. . 2002.

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