It took Stanley Kubrick and his crew no less than four years to make 2001: A Space Odyssey. Upon finishing Dr. Strangelove, the legendary filmmaker felt he wanted to do a “good science fiction film,” and on Columbia Pictures’ Roger Caras’ advice, he contacted the science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke with the idea of joining forces to make a film about “man’s relationship to the universe.” Frightfully interested, as he put it himself, Clarke agreed and the two of them started brainstorming and carving out the skeleton of the idea they wanted to transfer to the screen. Clarke offered Kubrick six of his short stories, with the filmmaker soon settling on ‘The Sentinel.’

The following two years were spent on transforming the short story into a novel and a screenplay simultaneously. While the novel exhibits a clearer, tighter, more solid narrative structure, Kubrick claimed that film is basically a visual experience and opted for a far more cryptic presentation of the story. He wanted the film to hit the audience in their hearts, minds and stomachs unlike all any other film primarily concentrated on the story and economic, practical ways of telling it to the viewers. 

2001: A Space Odyssey, therefore, has more in common with the art of music or painting, as many experts pointed out long before we did. The obvious lack of dialogue and the structure at first glance incoherent and incomprehensible meant the audience had to match the demands of the film and invest themselves fully in it, which is probably why the initial response from the critics was so diverse. More than a few audience members were left puzzled and disappointed, feeling Kubrick dedicated far too much attention to the impeccable technological aspect of 2001, at the expense of dehumanizing the characters and abandoning character development. This is a film that is meant to be experienced, not merely watched; a film that asks to be felt, not only seen and heard.

2001: A Space Odyssey is a pioneering work of filmmaking art, Kubrick’s greatest achievement and certainly one of the most influential exhibits of filmmaking craft in the history of cinema. Just as bedazzling as it was back in the sixties, this film is an experience unlike any other, regardless of the angle you approach it from.

A monumentally important screenplay. Screenwriter must-read: Stanley Kubrick & Arthur C. Clarke’s screenplay for 2001: A Space Odyssey [PDF1PDF2]. (NOTE: For educational and research purposes only). The DVD/Blu-ray of the film is available at Amazon and other online retailers. Absolutely our highest recommendation. Cannes Classics will host the world premiere of an unrestored 70mm print of Kubrick’s groundbreaking science fiction epic, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Set for Saturday, May 12, 2018, the screening will be introduced by filmmaker Christopher Nolan, who will be attending the Festival de Cannes for the first time. 2001: A Space Odyssey will return to select U.S. theatres in 70mm beginning May 18, 2018. “Warner Bros. will continue the celebration later this year when Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases 2001: A Space Odyssey for the first time in 4K resolution with HDR. Also produced in close collaboration with Nolan, the home entertainment release will be available in the fall of 2018.”

Gallery:

If you saw Stanley Kubrick’s classic motion picture 2001: A Space Odyssey, chances are you were attracted to it by posters featuring the paintings of Robert McCall. His vision of the wheel-shaped space station and of space-suited astronauts on the Moon have adorned movie theaters and art museums around the world.

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