Swipe Files: Room 237 and the Merit of Asking “Why?”

About 25 minutes into Rodney Ascher’s Room 237, one of Ascher’s interview subjects, John Fell Ryan, delivers a rambling, detailed description of a tracking shot in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Ascher plays the shot on screen in slow motion while Ryan talks, but Ryan becomes distracted when an infant can be heard crying in the background. “Can you hear that? My boy, yelling?” Ryan asks, before leaving to take care of his son. As he leaves, Ascher dutifully pauses the on screen tracking shot, anticipating Ryan’s return.

It’s a moment of pure happenstance—Ryan’s son just happened to start crying at that time—but the sound of John Fell Ryan Jr.’s cries will now forever be a part of Ascher’s film, which is something that neither he nor Ryan had foreseen. This moment is particularly ironic in the context of the film, which often finds its subjects inquiring about Kubrick’s artistic intentions in The Shining, even when the answer is probably unknowable and possibly coincidental.

 Here’s the full article at the Toronto Standard


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