Have you ever seen a hidden message?
In 1980 Stanley Kubrick released his classic horror film, The Shining. Loved and hated by equal numbers, the film is considered a genre standard by many loyalists, while other viewers dismiss it as the lazy result of a legendary director working far below his talent level. In between these two poles, however, live the conspiracy theories of ardent fans who are convinced they have decoded The Shining’s secret messages regarding genocide, government conspiracy, and the nightmare that we call history.
Rodney Ascher’s documentary, Room 237, fuses fact and fiction through interviews with the fans and scholars who espouse these theories, and reworking the film’s scenes forward and backward. Room 237 is about more than people who like a famous movie; its vision encompasses original intent, fair use, analysis, and criticism. It investigates what it means to be a fan—why do we need to find deeper meanings in film, and how do those insights change our lives? —Sundance
As an audience, we sometimes accept criticism with a great deal of foreboding when discussing opinions about a film. Our fear is that maybe just maybe they're right and we're wrong. I won't say that's entirely the case with all the opinions in this film, but I will say "The Shinning" is a richly mysterious and deep subject, filled with endless symbolism that one could easily think: "Hey, they have a point."
The Shining is a great film by a brilliant director known for his attention to detail. Hence the axiom here is that nothing on this film by accident and so every speck of dust on this film is paraphrased as no one is really in the mind of Kubrik. And even though parts are somewhat interesting as a topic of conversation between cinefiles, the full picture carries far to many ludicrous theories to be taken seriously.
Fascinating film detailing the ultimate in cineaste obsession in a selection of theorists offering their takes and hypothesis on the (hidden?) meaning of Kubrick's 'The Shining'. Some are obviously crackpot theories but some have some validity for the meticulous Kubrick could not have made that many continuity errors could he? Maps of the overlook, changes in costume or design..etc. A must.
This week: striking reality & cinema-blending images, Rosenbaum on TIFF, and some naturally occurring companion pieces to Leviathan.