It’s been 50 years since the release of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and we’re still trying to make sense of it. Stanley Kubrick’s science-fiction masterpiece is regularly voted as one of the greatest films ever made. But 2001 is one of the most puzzling films ever made, too. What, for instance, is a shiny rectangular monolith doing in prehistoric Africa? Why does an astronaut hurtle through a psychedelic lightshow to another universe, before turning into a cosmic foetus? And considering that the opening section is set millions of years in the past, and the two central sections are set 18 months apart, how much of it actually takes place in 2001?
Film journalist Joost Broeren will give an introduction.
Stanley Kubrick, UK 1968
Language: English, subtitles: Dutch
Kubrick himself wouldn’t be too upset by all this head-scratching. “You’re free to speculate about the philosophical and allegorical meaning of the film,” he told an interviewer in 1968, “but I don’t want to spell out a verbal road map for 2001 that every viewer will feel obligated to pursue or else fear he’s missed the point.” Kubrick’s co-writer, Arthur C Clarke, answered some of the story’s questions in his tie-in novel, which was published just after the film’s release. But the director edited out anything which might have made it too easy to comprehend. He likened the film to a painting and a piece of music, something to experience “at an inner level of consciousness”.
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