Documentary filmmaker Mark Cousins (whose previous film I Am Belfast was fantastic) stunned audiences at the International Rotterdam Film Festival last night when he destroyed the DCP - the film's hard drive for cinema presentations - of his latest movie Bigger Than The Shining. Wielding an axe onstage following the screening, in an impromptu Jack Torrance homage, Cousins told Screen Daily: “I think I always intended to destroy Bigger Than The Shining. It’s an experiment and a provocation, which should probably only exist for a short period. It’s a hybrid of other films, so a long life for it is not justified.”
The ninety minute long docu-video essay explored the subject of copyright and male rage by blending Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining with Nicholas Ray’s Bigger Than Life. So with those themes in mind, you can see why Cousins would want to give it a violent final act. It is said that the documentary blended the two movies to highlight similar aspects, such as shot placements, character actions, and suggesting further thematic overlaps between the two films.
As much as I would have loved to have seen the film, I have to give it to Cousins for putting in work and then depriving it from viewers; it comments on the easily-accessible, even disposable, nature of contemporary cultural objects and Cousins' commitment to his vision no matter how divisive it may be. Let's just hope someone filmed the whole thing on their phone...
Cousins' next feature Stockholm, My Love, stars singer-songwriter Neneh Cherry in her cinematic debut and is set to be released in the UK in June.