(Do Not) Overlook. Room 237 and the Dismemberment of The Shining

Marco Lovisato

Abstract


Few movies in the history of cinema have been as enigmatic and thought-provoking as Kubrick's horror masterpiece The Shining (1980). The movie's maze structure and archetypical background of mythical reminiscence have challenged many film scholars and cinephiles to unravel the intricate pattern that Kubrick created. In 2012, the young filmmaker Rodney Ascher made Room 237,a documentary not so much about The Shining itself as about the many interpretations generated from Kubrick's movie. Assembled from movies' excerpts and archival materials, and with commentary by five people with different interests but united by an authentic obsession with The Shining, Room 237 is an enlightening journey into the most obscure regions of cinephilia, where repeated viewings of movies and overlap between cinema and everyday life confuse different levels of reality, causing an interpretation of the world mediated by cinema. Furthermore, the fragmentary structure of Room 237, constituted by a wide variety of material (from found footage to the visual analysis of The Shining's most compelling scenes), embodies and represents the progress of cinematographic spectatorship, from the movie theater to the home video years, and the Internet era with its digital streaming services. The article's main goal is to show how Kubrick's The Shining is particularly suitable for repeated compulsive viewing that encourages sensory overload and a potentially infinite cycle of interpretations. Furthermore, analysis of Room 237 will highlight the distinctive traits of contemporary remix aesthetic, which Ascher seems to choose as a vehicle for a reflection on the different ways of modern cinephilia.

Keywords


Kubrick; Room 237; The Shining



DOI: 10.6092/issn.2280-9481/7351

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Copyright (c) 2017 Marco Lovisato

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