There is a strange film that has been quite a hit on the festival circuit this year, since its debut at Sundance in January, and now has just earned a Gotham Award nomination. It’s called Room 237, and it focuses on deep readings of and conspiracy theories related to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. It’s a fun showcase of borderline absurd cinema studies scholarship, and obviously the movie geeks and cinephiles are loving it.
Will they love another documentary focused on another Kubrick film? David Spodak, a professor at Columbia College in Chicago, is making a film not only about Paths of Glory but one that dissects and analyzes this 1957 masterpiece. Spodak doesn’t think many people, young or old, are familiar with the movie, so the doc, which is titled Anatomy of a Film, seems to be partly a defense for why it’s greater than even Citizen Kane.
”Stanley Kubrick’s early anti-war masterpiece, Paths of Glory, is considered by filmmakers and experts to be one of the best-constructed and significant American films, but remains one of the most marginalized,” he writes on the film’s webpage. “The editorial approach is to let the film play with full visual and aural continuity so that its story line can be followed. The narration and commentary intervene to illustrate artistry and technique or to put the film in historical, social and industry context.”
It’s a very different approach than filmmaker Rodney Ascher has taken with Room 237, which sometimes feels like it’s making fun of academia. Spodak is essentially doing a feature-length film equivalent of a scholarly text on Paths. This is where cinema studies is headed anyway, through video essays, and it certainly helps to have such motion picture aids for theses on motion pictures. Will people who aren’t film students or hardcore fans of this film be interested?
Anatomy of a Film is still in the works, with a crowdsourcing fundraiser at Indiegogo trying to raise at least $20,0000. So, we’ll see if it winds up in theaters, but it is at least expected to premiere at the DGA Theatre in Los Angeles next March. And the documentary already promises to feature commentary from actors Kirk Douglas and Richard Anderson and producer James Harris.
You can check out the campaign video on the Indiegogo site
, but I want to share one of the many clips featured on the main Anatomy page, as it gives you a better idea of what this doc will be like. You can find five others there, including one featuring Douglas. (these clips have been taken down by Paths of Glory owner MGM).
Do you look forward to Anatomy of a Film being finished?
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