Room 237 is the story of The Shining — not the film, but rather, five different critics’ and enthusiasts’ ideas about the film. To one, it’s a metaphor for the genocide of the American Indian; for another, a metaphor for the Holocaust. To another, it’s Kubrick apologizing, in the form of a hidden code, for faking the footage of the Moon landing in 1969… Room 237 is full of crazy love for films and enough bizarre theories to keep you puzzled, and thinking, for weeks.
A kaleidoscopic deconstruction of this horror classic that the President of Sundance described as one of the most wild, entertaining and unexpected films of the year.
This project really got started when Tim Kirk sent me an article online about this (one) guy’s radical interpretation of what the Shining really meant. I read it and almost immediately I thought, “To turn this into a visual piece could be kind of interesting.” I didn’t want to just do a straight adaptation of that guy’s one idea. Me and Tim kind of batted it around, and went for these long walks with our little kids thinking about the implications of this thirty-year old horror movie, and we started researching what other people had to say. I think pretty quickly we came across Bill Blakemore’s article that he wrote in 1987, that the film was an allegory for genocide of the Native Americans. That one kind of rang a bell, and I remember being informed of that, and maybe even the article, but I kind of struggled to really see it when I saw the movie. He was actually the first guy that we interviewed. I spent three and a half hours the first time I talked to him, mostly just listening with my jaw on the floor.
Certainly a big question of mine when we were starting off was, “Are these theories going to be compatible or are they goingto be totally in conflict? Are they going to reinforce each other? Are they going to argue with each other?” Trying to find a way to braid them together kind of became the big fun of the editing process.
Rodney Ascher, Director in an interview with James Rocci
Recommended rating: cert 18