By choosing to produce ?The Shining' Stephen King's masterpiece, in 1980, Stanley Kubrick tackled one of the most bounded and codified cinematographic genres: the fantastic mode. Kubrick produced the film just after the relative failure of Barry Lyndon, and this time, it was a huge success. ?The Shining' was released in 1980, after 11 months of tiring and intense shooting. Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance offers a masterly composition, which will certainly go down in history with the fantastic film. Shelley Duvall as the mother and Danny Lloyd as the "shining" child are also very convincing, and it was said that the young boy managed to act the way he did without even knowing he was playing one of the leading roles in a horror movie! The Shining also impacted the audiences due to its fantastically shot scenes. Kubrick used the Steadicam in order to shoot most of his scenes from a particular angle of vision. Danny's wanderings through the corridors of the Overlook Hotel, for instance, were shot from a camera placed on his shoulder. This process helped The Shining to stand as a landmark in the history of the movie industry. All those features contributed to the success of the film, but some viewers did not wholely approve of Kubrick's interpretation of the story.
[...] The Shining, actually, is much more than another ghost story or psychological thriller: it is Kubrick's own definition -and even redefinition- of the genres, a unique blend of the two, of which nobody escapes unscathed. As we have seen, there are two main possible interpretations of the movie, and Kubrick's genius provides us with no clue to choose to give more credit to one of them. In a way, he reaches the perfection which the fantastic mode often tends to come to: the unnamable and the rational are on an equal footing. [...]
[...] We will try to show that The Shining can have two different interpretations, which we will name “apparitionist” and “non-apparitionist” theses, applying ourselves to show that The Shining is a typical ghost story and a pragmatic thriller at the same time. In our last part, we will go beyond that dual approach, highlighting Kubrick's own definition of the fantastic mode, reuniting the two theses through the so- called principle of uncertainty, which is indeed a very important aspect of the mode under study here, and which stands for one of the main motives of The Shining. [...]
[...] That is the subject of our last part. By choosing to produce The Shining, Kubrick also decided to revolutionize the fantastic mode, by giving his own definition of it. Indeed, when in presence of such antagonistic ways to interpret the movie, the spectator is lost, and does not know whether to give credit to the unnamable or to the palpable, the rational. We will try to show up the tools Kubrick used in order to cast a total uncertainty onto the film. [...]
[...] Therefore, more than a horror film, The Shining could also be seen as a psychological thriller, and the ghosts would stand for mere hallucinations taking place within the protagonists' imbalanced minds. That is what we are going to develop in this second section. From the very beginning of the movie, we learn that Jack is everything but a well-balanced man: ha has troubles with alcohol, has hurt in son once in the past, is totally out of inspiration for his book and already has a glimmer of lunacy shining in his eyes. [...]
[...] As far as space is concerned, there is a very symbolic one in The Shining that deserves to be examined: the labyrinth. It is not only an important place in the movie -indeed, the final scene is shot here- but also a theme proper, which manages to enclose our two theses. Actually, the labyrinth stands for the convolutions of Jack's imbalanced mind, and perfectly embodies Kubrick's art, which consists in driving the spectator into dead-ends, without any coherent explanation -even in the end, where the final shot provides nothing but even more uncertainty. [...]
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