Monday, May 6, 2013

The Shining As Parsed in Room 237 @ TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Room 237


@ TIFF Bell Lightbox May 10, shown in conjunction with Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.

Directed by Rodney Ascher

Featuring Bill Blakemore, Geoffrey Cocks, Juli Kearns, archival footage of Tom Cruise Nicole Kidman, the cast of The Shining, et al
Runtime: 104 minutes
Rating: 3.5 / 5
Rodney Ascher’s examination of the various theories surrounding Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 horror masterpiece The Shining runs the gamut.  Theories ranging from hysterically ridiculous to intriguing, thoughtful and can’t-believe-I-missed-that; its hugely entertaining.  Relatively unknown cineastes and conspiracy buffs state their cases as to what Kubrick actually meant by showing certain baking soda cans, bright, impossible windows, naughty bits, tricycle routes, patterns in the carpeting, architectural clues, ad infinitum. They cite Kubrick’s result as vastly different from Stephen King’s novel and ask why.
The film painstakingly dissects the film’s ambiguities and minutiae as seen by these fans establishing Kubrick as a master trickster.  These experts “read” Kubrick’s mind and motives taking into account his 200 IQ and interest in subliminal marketing.  Seek and ye shall find.  They do find - treasure troves of secret meanings. They claim everything in the film was put there for a purpose which is an ironic thing to say.  So every other filmmaker couldn’t care less.
The film takes place in an historic Overlook mountain inn (The Stanley Hotel is Estes Park) in Colorado with a huge cedar maze.  One of its rooms, Room 237, holds the source of the hotel’s haunting, the thing that drives Nicholson’s fragile character mad.  Earth is 237,000 miles from the Moon.   It’s theorizes that the film was a Trojan horse that allowed Kubrick to admit that he secretly staged the Apollo moon landing.  References from 2001: A Space Odyssey are cited.
One fan claims The Shining is a symbol of the massacre of Native Americans at the hands of white settlers.  Another says it’s a depiction of the Holocaust.  Both present convincing arguments while others aren’t as compelling.  And what about that black and white photograph at the end from the ‘20’s.  Is that really 1978 Jack front and centre?
Room 237 presents ideas that are fun, inflammatory, wise, silly, maddening and endlessly unique.  It is being shown side by side with The Shining the film responsible for the whole thing and who knows what else?

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