The filmic space of the Overlook Hotel in the Shining through the sets

Jesús Lazcano López


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For the construction of the Overlook Hotel (The Shining, 1980) Stanley Kubrick recreates, at Elstree Studios in London, 1:1 scale replicas of different fragments of hotels, motels, and vacation resorts scattered throughout the United States. Through a meticulous work of observing photographs and making models, sets of the different areas that make up the hotel are built. Kubrick composes an architecture that emerges from a fragmentary, constructed and assembled body which, through the narrative possibilities offered by the Steadicam and montage, is transformed into a seemingly unitary filmic space. The hotel is rendered as a plausible architecture; however, it is full of paradoxes, external references, subtexts, and spatial impossibilities—which emerge with an attentive viewing of the film—through a persistent subversion of the logics of space. Using models, photographs, and interviews, and comparing them with the film, plans of the different areas of the Overlook Hotel are drawn up with the aim of reflecting on the intention of their possible assembly. They are also drawn with the aim of reflecting on the existing link between the narrative structure of the film, based on intertwining times and spaces, and the way in which the sets come together on screen. Through an analysis based on architectural expression, the article will study some of these spatial inconsistencies to speculate on a possible interpretation of the film in which architecture plays a central role from its conception, not only due to the importance of its sets during the production and filming stages, but also on an iconographic and narrative level.     

Palabras clave

Architecture; Film; Kubrick; The Shining; Filmic space


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