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Room 237

Director • Rodney Ascher

Country • USA

Year • 2012

Duration • 102 min

Heeeere’s a bunch of nut jobs! The conspiracy theories fly over the cuckoo’s nest in this surgical deconstruction of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.

In Room 237 the exploration is as much about the phenomenon of conspiracy as the conspiracies themselves. Both will probably suck you in, regardless of how weighty you scale your love for the big film man in the sky. His masterpiece of modern horror The Shining is the Krubik’s cube in play. Nine separate readings of the film are proposed. From the connection of a baking soda can with the exploitation of American Indians, to Kubrick’s involvement with faking the moon landing and his narrative scuffle with Stephen King. Every frame is riddled with latent meaning.

It helps that Rodney Ascher’s stylised approach is cut with an almost malevolent seductiveness. The ultra slow-mos, the disembodied voices of the conspiratorialists and the clever overlay of footage sourced from Kubrick’s back-catalogue. It’s basically a mind-fuck, and it doesn’t take long before, like Jack, you inevitably give way to the madness.

We open some elevator doors on The Shining and test out one of the conspiracy theories.

Video art in the cinema. Presented in collaboration with Channels – The Australian Video Art Festival before every screening. This session we feature Melbourne artist Claire Robertson‘s Long Beach to Zabriskie Point.

“Compelling, claustrophobic and cross-referenced to within an inch of its life, Room 237 depicts Kubrick’s film as a kind of cinematic petri dish. Conspiracy theories bloom like mushrooms in the dark.”

–The Guardian

“I cut the film between the hours of 8pm and 3am, and those hours are perfect for breeding a certain paranoia. I would listen to all these interpretations and think, ‘Well yes, but no, but maybe.’ It was like opening the book of Necronomicon or falling into quicksand.”

–Director, Rodney Ascher

“What emerges from Room 237 is not a denigration of conspiracies, but a kind of celebration of our ability to create patterns where (perhaps) none exist. “Continuity error?” asks one of the Shining-ologists about a missing chair in one shot. “I don’t think so.”

–The National Post