After all, it's just a ride….

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Reprise

starchildOnce more through the Stargate gentle reader, as if anticipating an appropriate manner in which to celebrate the Minty’s incept date the BFI only go and  launch a free members screening of the greatest film of all time, 2001: A Space Odyssey. The film was selected by James Lavelle as part of his Meltdown festival which he’s curating through a programme of performances and artistic pursuits hosted at London’s South Bank, he’s a massive Kubrick fan (apparently) and has since shot up in my esteemed expectations, with particular inspiration from the film lavished upon the first UNKLE album. The usual suspects were also out in force with long-time Kubrick producer Jan Harlan also in attendance this for rapturous 70mm restoration print of the masterpiece, like any good acolyte this was my fourth supplication of the film at the silver screen, and like the imperceptible mysteries of the universe it never gets old. I’ve already orchestrated my extensive thoughts on the film here so I don’t have much else to add, apart from a few general comments and some material I’ve collected over the past few weeks;

So have we learned and appreciated anything new coming out of this screening? Well, speaking humbly 2001 is a masterpiece in how it evolved technology and drove the medium of film forward in terms of optical effects, it is a masterpiece in how it shattered  film structure and narrative flow, how it trusted its audience to feel in the intentionally designed gaps both intellectually and spirituality, and it is a masterpiece in its marriage of music, composition and performance. There are maybe a few dozen examples of that level of film in the movie’s relatively brief history but what really elevates the piece into one of the masterpieces of any form of human endeavour like Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel or Stravinsky’s The Rite Of Spring is how these elements all oscillate together, how they overlap and ameliorate each other, how they provoked a quantum leap forward in the art form in every one of its formal and artistic levels and that’s when you’re genuinely gracing genius level merit. I hear that the BFI will be premiering a new digital print of the film at the end of the year as part of their epic three-month SF season, I’m sure that’s great and everything but seeing this in immaculate 70mm is simply unbeatable, with all the scratches and matte lines still intact which just feels more, well more genuine. Until then Taschen have followed up their incredible Kubrick and Napoleon books with something truly intergalactic;

So, yeah if anyone has a spare £500 knocking around and you’d like to get me a little birthday present I think we have a solution. I should mention that Jan Harlan was in exceptionally good and exuberant form and he regaled the audience with a few production anecdotes well-known to us Kubrickophiles, he did muster a big laugh when he explained how Stanley wrestled with the voiceover he initially scheduled for the film (and thank god that decision was abandoned eh?), realising that ‘if members of the audience are not of the capacity to understand the film then explaining it to them certainly won’t help’. There are some incredible photos which started doing the rounds recently and I’ve finally taken the plunge and invested in the Kubrick Blu-Ray collection which is a bargain for £22, you will laugh I’m sure when I reveal that like many disciples I had boycotted the product as it quite clearly has been transferred in the wrong aspect ratio for some of the pictures, but for that price I’m sorry but the chance to see Barry Lyndon in HD alone cannot be resisted any further;


One response

  1. Pingback: BFI Days Of Fear & Wonder Sci-Fi Season – 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) | Minty's Menagerie

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