LIFF 2012 Day 16

2001: A Space Odyssey (US/UK) (wiki)

Only one film today, due to some changes at home meaning we had to cancel some stuff (more about that later).  The film festival guys had to approach the Kubrick estate to get special permission to show the film, and only got it at the eleventh hour.  The film is now 44 years old, but this fresh, digitally restored print loses little of it's believability and impact, although the pre-Star Wars spaceship models haven't quote got that 'massive' vibe about them yet, and someone clearly hadn't thought about maybe having a touch-screen console rather than having every ships operation granted it's own chunky button on a console the size of a narrowboat.

Kubrick's take on Arthur C Clarke's original tale of extraterrestrial life contains little of the original, expanding the story to suggest the presence of a guiding hand on evolutions' shoulder at key points of the development of human beings.  This manifests itself in the monolith, a smooth, black form that appears to the sounds of the eerie, voices of a million souls.  In the near future (as was then), another monolith is discovered on the moon, heralding another possible leap forward.

None of Kubrick's films are easy to tease apart but that is part of their charm.  The impressively obsessive Room 237 last week showed us how many secrets he likes to stow away in them, which combined with the fact that he never talks about their meaning, only deepens the mysteries.  Seeing 2001 on the big screen as it was meant to be seen (and sitting at the front so we got the full force of the final act) was an experience that grabs the mind's attention and dares it to make sense of it.  If you want your films to be transparent and be obvious of their intentions, 2001 will only frustrate, but if you can ignore the dated special effects, you're in for a hell of a ride. 7.5/10

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