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November 16, 2013 at 12:21 AM #349
In my video editor, I superimposed The Shining, running in reverse and forwards simultaneously as Ascher suggested, starting with the “1921″ superimposed over the scene at the beginning flying over the lake. I was curious about the “midpoint”, or scene where the backwards and forwards strips come together and converge. I thought that it might be significant. What I saw blew my mind. At the exact middle, the backwards and forwards strips come together at the red painting of the African woman placed on the wall above Mr Hallorin’s head.
It was like a magic moment for me. Suddenly I understood what this movie was really about. What was Kubrick saying here? That it all begins or comes together with the Black woman, the mother of humanity, Africa, and the cradle of civilization and human life.
Mr Hallorin represents African civilization and culture, whereas Doc represents “Western” culture. Both the boy Doc and Hallorin have the Shining, or the ability, and the talent. But Hallorin is far older and more experienced, whereas Doc doesn’t yet know what to do with his abilities and powers. Western cutlure is fabulous, it has the technology, it has the science, and it has the knowledge. But Western culture, our culture, is young, and naive (it being only several thousand years old), whereas African culture is hundreds of thousands of years old. When Mr Hallorin instructs Doc, and passes on wisdom to him, it is like Egypt passing on its wisdom and science to the Ancient Greeks. Before there is an Aristotle, there is an Imhotep. We often forget this. I think Kubrick was embedding an afrocentric understanding into his movie with this. The Black woman above his bed also seems to be imparting wisdom to Mr Hallorin too, as he is lying on his bed and his eyes are looking up toward her as he is receiving his message. It is like Sheshat giving the fruit of wisdom to The Pharoah.
You notice how Mr Hallorin is not scared at all about the hotel at the beginning? He is calm, collected, and confident. It’s because he has The Tradition, handled down from his family from time immemorial. Whereas Doc, he’s scared of an uncertain future. Doc does have the ability to see into the supernatural forces all around us, but he doesn’t know how to navigate it. Mr Hallorin, on the other hand, he has been taught and initiated into how to use the proper tools to navigate the supernatural world. He has a long tradition of wisdom passed down through his family so he knows the territory, and is therefore not scared.
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