The cinema of Stanley Kubrick has never lent itself to casual passions or affinities, and Rodney Ascher's Room 237 – named after the hotel room in The Shining where all the evil of the past lurks behind the door – is both a spellbinding examination of some of those intemperate enthusiasms and a close study of one of the most intricately puzzling horror movies ever made. Unfolding entirely as a visual investigation of the movie's themes, repetitions, motifs and (deliberate?) inconsistencies, Room 237 gives extensive voice to several mutually contradictory but equally compelling interpretive theories. For one especially obsessive viewer, The Shining is Kubrick's tightly coded condemnation of the European genocide of America's native population; for another it's an allegory of the Holocaust. Then there's the voice – as calm and ostensibly reasonably as any of the others – that sees the movie as the director's fessing up to faking the Apollo moon landings. The movie's most impressive feat lies in giving equal credence to all these musings while suggesting, through a process every bit as meticulous as Kubrick's or any of these "Shiners," that there's definitely something there, just behind the door.
At VIFF: Oct. 7, 9:45 p.m., Granville 2; Oct. 11, 4 p.m., Granville 2
At TIFF: Sept. 13, 6:00 p.m., Bloor Hoc Docs Cinema; Sept. 15, 5:45 p.m., Cineplex Yonge & Dundas 2; Sept. 16, 12:00 p.m., TIFF Bell Lightbox 3.
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