Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Space May Be The Final Frontier, But It's Made In A Hollywood Basement*
The Discovery drama got me thinking about Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, which I happened to see a few days ago. (Incidentally, the spacecraft in the film was also named Discovery!) Somehow, 2001 was very different from what I had imagined it would be. I was probably expecting something on the lines of Star Trek or Apollo 13 (God knows why!), which might explain why I initially found the pace of the film to be “slow”. But, then I realised that it was deliberate. Kubrick was trying to depict the tedium, the eeriness, the sense of dislocation that space travel entails. It is palpable in the laboured breathing of an astronaut out on a space walk, the deafening silence that descends the moment the action moves outside the spacecraft, the shots of the astronauts in “hibernation”, the sequence where an astronaut endlessly jogs and shadow-boxes around the interior treadmill in the spacecraft. In fact in the 139-minute film, there's less than 40 minutes of dialogue. It reminded me of the surreal Solaris, directed by Andrei Tarkovsy. In the film, a psychologist goes to replace a dead scientist at a base on a remote planet, which is bizarrely sentient and can exert its influence on the minds of the humans present.
What I found startling was that the images of the space drama that had been hogging the front pages of our newspapers for the last few days were strangely reminiscent of the stills from 2001, a film which was made way back in 1968!
* Copyright: Red Hot Chilli Papers (from Californication)

"...was probably expecting something on the lines of Star Trek or Apollo 13 (God knows why!)"

Yes indeed, why, why, why, why, WHY??!!! I thought you'd read up exhaustively on the film before seeing it...

Did you lie down in front of the screen with a bag of marijuana when the stargate sequence came on? - like all the hippies back in 1968 who went to the hall solely so they could trip out. (Like whoa, man.)
Actually, I do the reverse. See a film first and then read up on it extensively, because I am always mortally afraid of SPOILERS! You are right, given the length of the stargate sequence it should have been one hell of a trip.
Don't see why all this brouhaha is made of this tediously slow movie. I know, I know I am a philistine, but believe me Jabberwock, even Tridib made himself sit through it because he felt it was his moral/aesthetic duty to do so. Now be honest, Tridib.
Best regards from NY! »
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