Whether we're playing the Beatles' White Album backwards to find out if Paul is dead or synching up Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon with The Wizard of Oz, people love the possibility that artists have buried layers of meaning in their favorite pop-culture relics.
To wit, the new documentary Room 237 examines the symbolism in Stanley Kubrick’s horror classic The Shining and doles out some strange theories about the film’s "true" meaning. (Obviously, The Shining is about the murder of Native Americans...and the Holocaust.) But opposed to crackpot theories culled from the corners of the Internet, Room 237 is getting serious attention. Pop culture guru Chuck Klosterman called it “the best nonfiction film I’ve seen” in 2012 and just last week The New York Times reached out to an old Kubrick aide who said, “There are ideas espoused in the movie that I know to be total balderdash.”
Whether the film’s ideas are fact or wild fiction, SIFF Cinema is going all out for Room 237. The documentary screens April 5–11 at the Uptown, with director John Ryan taking part in a Skype Q&A session after the 6:45pm showings on April 5 and 6. The Shining itself screens April 5–9 for those who want to brush up on the classic (or watch it for the first time—we won't tell). Finally, on April 10, SIFF looks at The Shining’s geometric symmetry (a key element of Room 237) by showing The Shining: Forwards and Backwards, featuring a backwards projection superimposed over the movie. Only hardcore cinema conspiracy theorists need attend.
April 5–11, SIFF Cinema Uptown, $11