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Reviving A Movie Milestone: 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY

 

Sunday, April 27------It is undoubtedly one of the seminal films of the 1960s and a harbinger of the sci-fi and special effects-laden films of such blockbusters as the STAR WARS series, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and BLADE RUNNER. It is the grand-daddy of "trippy" special effects films.....2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, a masterpiece from directing legend Stanley Kubrick that is being revived on its 40th anniversary at the Tribeca Film Festival.

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY was one of the most expensive films ever produced and was a major financial risk for its studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (which, by the 1960s, was a mere shadow of its former powerhouse glory). Kubrick, on the heels of such popular successes as SPARTACUS, DR. STRANGELOVE and LOLITA, convinced MGM to bankroll his first sci-fi epic. At the time, sci fi films were generally considered to be "b movies" with only limited budgets and limited box office appeal.

However, MGM finally agreed to let Kubrick shoot the film in England, which at the time was a low-cost haven for big budget Hollywood productions (how times have changed in four decades!!). The mega-production was shot and edited over two years, at a cost of ore than $10 Million, an extraordinary sum at the time.

The film caught the imagination of a generation with its near-hallucinatory depiction of space, artificial intelligence, and the human condition. Groundbreaking both then and now, the film was a marvel for its special effects (created by Douglas Trumbull and Con Pederson), its cinematography (by Geoffrey Unsworth), and its very construction-a bigbudget, non-narrative spectacle that seems to tackle the meaning of life in the 20th century and beyond. And this was at a time when man had not yet landed on the moon and computers and artificial intelligence were concepts that the public had not yet been widely exposed to.

Based on the international best-selling novel by Arthur C. Clarke, 2001 appealed to sci-fi enthusiasts and also found a following among the "love generation" for its mind-bending visuals and intoxicating music. When one sees the film now, with its glorious imagery, it is shocking to realize that the film was completed with only minimal special effects, and relied mainly on models, sets and a mood that Kubrick struck that was both human and otherworldly.

Following today's screening, a panel of astronauts (led by Buzz Aldrin, the lunar module pilot of Apollo 11 and one of the first men to walk on the moon) and a group of scientists and filmmakers,  including director/actor Matthew Modine, Ann Druyan (screenwriter, CONTACT) and Marvin Minsky (Professor, MIT), will join host Ira Flatow (NPR Science Friday) for a discussion on the prescient predictions of the film and the realities of artificial intelligence and intergalactic space travel.

Sandy Mandelberger, Tribeca FF Dailies Editor

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About Tribeca Film Festival


Online Dailies Coverage of the Tribeca Film Festival, April 17-28, 2013

 

The Tribeca Film Festival brings together local, national, and international talent to provide the New York City, downtown community with five days of screenings, educational workshops, and various special events.
Live coverage with dailies from Lia Fietz, Suzanne Lynch, Claus Mueller, Maria Esteves 

 


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