Friday, March 29, 2013

Hoberman on Room 237

J. Hoberman's review of Room 237, a silly-sounding essay film compiling various interpretations of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, reminds me of a conversation I had with a film professor who had just completed grading a huge stack of film analyses. When I asked how they turned out, s/he replied "the girls' papers were great; the boys just wrote about Stanley Kubrick."

In his review, Hoberman asks "is this sort of over-interpretation intrinsic to movies in general or was Kubrick practicing a radically different sort of filmmaking that would make it intrinsic to his work in particular?" Of course it's not intrinsic to movies in general; would that Stanely Donen could inspire such over-interpretation. And while Kubrick is hardly the only filmmaker to elicit such boyish burrowing (Tarkovsky comes to mind), he epitomizes the activity with pounds of exegeses available on Amazon (including behemoths on films he never made) and standing room only panels at SCMS. I'm not claiming he doesn't deserve the attention. I just wish the exegetes would now and then turn Kubrick's examination of power on themselves. To paraphrase Margo Channing in All About Eve, there are other films.

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