Sundance’s NEW FRONTIER category tends to be made of experimental cinematic art projects, but one documentary in this category stands out as particularly interesting to movie-lovers:
Room 237, directed by Rodney Ascher, which dives into the myriad theories surrounding Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining. “It’s a film-nerd love-fest,” says Sundance programmer Trevor Groth. “These obsessive people dissect The Shining, and they’ve watched it thousands of times, all finding their own coded meaning and language in it.” Like how the architecture of the Overlook Hotel doesn’t make any sense, with hallways leading to places that should technically be outside, and windows that show sunlight streaming in even though they are enclosed in the middle of the building… ?
Sundance director John Cooper straightens in his chair. “So you’re one of them,” he says, flashing his eyebrows.
Er… maybe. Um, go on Trevor.
“There’s one guy who says The Shining is Stanley Kubrick’s way of telling the world he shot the footage from the [Apollo 11] moon landing,” Groth says. The conspiracy allegedly happened when he was making 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was cover for the ruse. “He knew he and his family would be killed if he told anyone so he’s telling us through The Shining,” Groth says, describing the view of the movie’s theorists.
Well, it’s an interesting idea, anyway. Maybe even a good movie, à la Wag the Dog, someday. But proof?
Exhibit A: Check out little Danny Torrance’s sweater in the movie. I mean, how do you argue with a sweater! This one, for instance, is hard evidence that Santa Claus exists.
Anyway, the title of the doc, of course, refers to the one room in the hotel that the little boy is warned NOT to enter.
Sundance-goers will face no such restriction during the Jan. 19-29 film gathering.
Click here for more on Sundance’s New Frontier section.
On Twitter: @Breznican