Sunday, April 15, 2007

"2001" Analysis



And don't miss Adam Dobson's great 2001 analysis over at Metaphilm:

"To torture a cliché, 2001: A Space Odyssey is an exploration of the Human Condition—or, more appropriately, as I intend to argue, the Human Predisposition. It is, at its simplest, a road-trip movie. But there is no intended destination or conceivable measure of success: like gap-year students parading aimlessly around South-East Asia, everything is concerned with the journey itself. Kubrick’s characters are in pursuit of themselves—their own purpose and meaning, as individuals and as part of the collective. Bound up with all this is the concept of wisdom—perhaps even Enlightenment."

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Other Essays (thanks to The Kubrick Site):


2001 and the Motif of The Voyage by Claudia Zimny


Margaret Stackhouse's Reflections on 2001

2001: A Progressive Analysis by Sandra Venturini

2001: A Cold Descent by Mark Crispin Miller

2001: A critical analysis of the film score by Dariusz Roberte

2001 and the Philosophy of Nietzsche by Don MacGregor

Some Thoughts on 2001 by Roderick Munday

Design & Meaning in 2001 by Mark Martel

Extracts from "Moonwatcher's Memoir" by Arthur C Clark & Dan Ricter

Comparing 2001 and '2010' by John Morgan

The Case for Hal's Sanity by Clay Waldrop

2001: Random Insights by Barry Krusch

2001's "Hotel Sequence" by Derek Rose

6 comments:

Laura Deerfield said...

I remember the first time I watched 2001 so clearly.

I was about 14, it was at a slumber party. The other girls were all out at the pool, going into the daylight after telling scary stories in the dark of a walk-in closet.

The parents put it on (and, in retrospect, I suspect had just dropped acid.) I stood behind the couch and watched the opening - silent and yet so *big* and *important*... I asked what it was, and if I could watch. They told me I wouldn't enjoy it, it was for grown-ups. Well, I wasn't the kind of kid who ever appreciated being left out because of my age - so I sat down on the floor and watched.

I was baffled and completely entranced - and knew I'd have to watch it again in a few years... and yet, despite not quite getting everything, I had grasped the essence of it. It speaks in such grand gestures and on a mythical level that a grasp of the narrative details is not needed, and the willingness to accept *not* understanding is part of the experience of the film (while at the same time, letting the presence of that enigma drive one, the great mysteries that spark creativity.)

And yet... I can't even imagine a film like this being made today. The pacing, and most especially the abstract ending would be difficult for any director to push through.

Mystery Man said...

Oh my God, what a great comment. I could've never sat through it as a kid, that's for sure. The first time I ever view a Kubrick experience, I usually go through the same emotions - boredom, particularly during long conversations, frustration at its pacing and obscurity.

But then there's something about it that makes me want to return to it again and again and again. And then I read essays and slowly appreciate every single, meticulously calculated detail in the film. (I went through all those same emotions about his Napoleon script, and I've probably read that script more times than any other.)

With respect to your final comment, it's possible, but it would have to be outside the studio system. I'm not sure there are any geniuses out there who are capable of obsessively composing a film at that level. Although I don't emulate Kubrick's narrative style, he inspires me to take a story and every detail to higher levels, ya know?

Thanks again,

-MM

Laura Deerfield said...

It was one of the works that was seminal in an idea I developed that art could bypass the conscious level of thought and actually pull people along - and by doing something more direct than describing, or representing, actually create an experience, which would have a deeper and more profound impact than representative art ever could.

I toyed with this in my more experimental poetry, especially in graduate school - but film has the advantage of being a more engaging and potentially overwhelming medium.


One other note, as brilliant as the opening is, it does perpetuate a myth about humankind. The earliest tools were most likely not weapons - but sticks used to knock down fruit and dig for roots... and were probably used primarily by women. (At least that's what I learned in my anthro classes.)

Mystery Man said...

re: "...that art could bypass the conscious level of thought and actually pull people along - and by doing something more direct than describing, or representing, actually create an experience, which would have a deeper and more profound impact than representative art ever could."

That's a great comment. I think great art can move you without it trying to explain itself, ya know? And in that respect, so many of Kubrick's films fascinate because they closed-room mysteries that don't explain everything, and you're moved by it without exactly knowing why and you return to it again and again.

But that shouldn't diminish something that's representative either or poetry or any other form of art, because we need it all. I can still be moved whether I read alone a piece of poetry or listen to a reading of a poem in Russell Simmon's "Def Jam Poetry" as much as when I sit through a movie, I'm a little embarrassed to admit.

I wish we could return to the days, like in the 50s when poets who got published were viewed as literary gods. If we could only give that much respect to poetry as we did then.

-MM

Laura Deerfield said...

Ah, well, these days most of my work is much more representative and narrative. I rarely do anything as abstract or as dense as I did in grad school. And frankly, I think my poetry is better.

It would be nice if poets had some kind of status, but the audience for it - especially if you aren't touring - is so small. That's OK - just challenges me to make the most of a new form.

Mystery Man said...

"but the audience for it - especially if you aren't touring - is so small."

Damn, uncultured illiterates.

Hehehe...

-MM