THE SHINING – Forwards and Backwards
On 3/9/2011, John Fell Ryan and Akiva Saunders produced the first screening of
THE SHINING FORWARDS AND BACKWARDS, SIMULTANEOUSLY, SUPERIMPOSED. In their experimental film, they digitally re-edited THE SHINING so it plays both forward and backwards at the same time. By keeping the opacity of the top layer at 50%, the two versions are superimposed equally on top of each other. Only the audio from the forwards playing version is heard so that pure sonic chaos doesn’t overwhelm the viewers.
Somewhat shockingly, the visual symmetry of certain critical story points seemed to be more than just a coincidence. The screen position of the actors during pivotal scenes also seem to flawlessly interweave in a graphically pleasing way. Was this planned by Kubrick (as presupposed by some) or is this just a curious by-product of happenstance and wishful thinking? Either way, the visuals speak for themselves and the viewer can see whatever they want to see within the imagery.
A selection of scenes were featured in the 2012 documentary ROOM 237 but there hasn’t been a public screening of the experimental film in several years. There is not a full version in HD available on the internet as far as I know.
Since I’m a film editor and a somewhat slavish fan of all things Kubrick…I have re-created the experiment and am posting an HD version of it so you can judge for yourself. I began by aligning the forward and backwards versions to match still frames available on-line from the original experimental project. All I needed to do was eye-match one frame and the rest would be in synch. It took 10 hours to render out the master file and another 8 hours to upload. The 720p HD stereo audio version clocks in at 12GB and is available to view here:
I’ve also created a 2K DCP version with 5.1 audio to screen in the future.
Learn more about the original project and its creators:
The KDK12 tumblr page
John Fell Ryan’s ADHOC article
Screen grabs of the original project on KDK12
The 3D version of The Shining Forwards and Backwards
Enjoy your trip down the rabbit hole…