Saturday, March 30, 2013

Room 237 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center

"Crazy wasn't a yardstick we used." Producer Tim Kirk's quip, in response to a question from the audience about whether any reading of The Shining was too off-the-wall to be included in Room 237, the documentary that Kirk and Rodney Ascher made about interpretations of Kubrick's film, gives you a good sense of the inclusive spirit of the movie. Ascher gives equal time to everyone, whether they are offering perfectly sensible remarks on motifs in The Shining (like those by Bill Blakemore, who joined Kirk and Ascher for the Q-and-A), providing interesting demonstrations of strange but probably unrevealing continuity errors, or passionately declaiming that Kubrick made The Shining to express his anguish about being involved in the faking of the moon landing. The rationalist in you may wish that Ascher would adjudicate between these theories --- surely some of the claims people make (like that Kubrick must have lied about why he changed the number of the hotel room because the original room number doesn't exist at the Timberline Lodge) are either true or false --- but the cineaste in you will revel in the no-holds-barred debate, which demonstrates the power of good movies to sustain a staggering array of interpretations.


donuts4dinner said...

I hadn't even heard of this but must see it! Yesterday! I went from never having seen The Shining six years ago when I met my horror-loving boyfriend to seeing it pretty much every weekend, because that's how often IFC shows it. God bless them.

Jess and Garrett said...

Aside from its willingness to give credence to crazy views, the best thing about this movie is that it makes you want to re-watch The Shining to see (a) how crazy aforementioned interpretations actually are and (b) what your own crazy take might be. Let us know what you think (we promise not to judge you too much if you think it's about faking the moon landing).

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