Director Rodney Ascher obsessively investigates the film's every stray detail because in Kubrick no detail is truly stray: every poster is carefully considered, every stapler purposefully placed. Using frame-by-frame analyses, slow motion, and hilariously edited clips from other films to illustrate the narration (he never actually shows the narrators—they're all talking, no head), the documentarian shows how fastidious and fanatical the great directors are. But he also shows how audiences recreate artworks in their own images: how the moon-landing conspiracy theorists and the students of American Indian abuse discover evidence to support their own special concerns. Ascher doesn't just get to the bottom of The Shining—he gets to the very essence of spectatorship.
Room 237 screens as part of the New York Film Festival's Cinema Reflected sidebar tonight and again on October 8. More info here.