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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 1:34 pm 
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Much as I’d like to move past the whole notion that Kubrick is a great master of cinema and get into the meat of my thesis, there doesn’t seem to be any way to do so as long as this belief remains essentially unshaken. The reason being that—when you are convinced you know what’s what, you can’t ask the question “What if?”

Some notes from Kubrickon, part two:

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there’s a particular sort of intellectual enrapturement that Kubrick films tend to invoke in people, and it seems to go along with a lack of a certain sort of intelligence: a lack of imagination.

The many exegetists of The Shining display a rich imagination in the ways they “decode” the film’s supposedly hidden meanings; yet they might not be too happy to be told that their findings were the fruit of their imagination.

Kubrick’s films “hijack” these viewers’ imaginations and redirect them to Kubrick himself: he gets all the credit, and the exegetists get to feel like they are—like Charlie Manson and the White Album—picking up messages from the Master (rather than from their own unconscious).

It is impossible to argue productively when someone is arguing from a faulty premise. In the words of autist author Paul Collins, they are “not even wrong.”

Sweatyk is the resident Kubraphile whose position is that Stanley Kubrick is a genius; even while he professes to be open to a reevaluation of his own values, and has been looking at the movies with an “open mind”—he is only becoming more convinced of the master’s genius.

I would answer that this is something like trying to use an IQ test to gauge someone’s intelligence: the results are always faulty because the premise that intelligence is synonymous with what an IQ test measures is faulty. All an IQ test measures is a person’s capacity to do IQ tests.

The same applies, I believe, to Kubrick movies: they create the criteria for their own evaluation. Kubrick creates a cultural context for genius or artistic greatness via his movies, which then supports the idea that the movies are works of great artistic genius. Ditto with his genius: it was a genius for hoodwinking people into believing that he was a genius, or more precisely, in the idea of individual genius (which is a foundational lie of western civilization—the lone frontiersman, cult of the individual—but I may not be able to get to that just yet).

From Kubrickon Pt 2:

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At this point, I begin to feel like a presumptuous interloper, rudely challenging people in their fantasy projections onto the Kubrick oeuvre. It doesn’t matter if my desire is to free them from a cinematic delusion—that makes it even more presumptuous (who says they want to be free from delusion?). But it’s ironic, because this wasn’t my goal anyway. It’s just that I can’t proceed towards the real goal without first breaking the spell of those projections, not because I want to break it, but because the spell makes the opening hypothesis literally unthinkable to anyone still under it.

2001: A Space Odyssey is the head corner stone of the Kubrick mythos, and I suspect that, without it, the whole edifice crumbles. The idea that 2001 was a great visionary masterpiece of cinema—an idea which I believe Kubrick used the movie to seed in the collective consciousness—is what created the context for the disproportionate—shall I say delusional?—regard for all his subsequent works.

First off, to give credit where it’s due, 2001 is a remarkable technological achievement and it would be pointless to argue otherwise. Almost sixty years later, it still looks as good as current special effects, and in fact better than the current CGI stuff. I would never try to argue that Kubrick wasn’t a master of visuals, because clearly he was. However, visual mastery does not a cinematic genius make.

The other thing I will allow about 2001 is that, like most of Kubrick’s films, it is filled with interesting and intelligent details and thematic material: it avails itself to deep analysis. This proves there was an unusual intelligence behind its making; but once again, unusual intelligence does not a cinematic genius make. The confusion of a visually stunning, unusually intelligent puzzle of a movie that endlessly fascinates the intellect with a work of art is the issue here, and of course it begs the question, “What is art?” etc. etc.

To keep it as simple as possible, let’s say that art is the product of imagination. Here’s what I will argue 2001 is devoid of, and why.

Pauline Kael called the film “monumentally unimaginative.” On the face of it this comment seems perverse. Clearly there was plenty of imagination that went into the film—at the technical level and the level of problem-solving (imagination isn’t all about inventing). But Kael was no dummy, and rather than simply dismissing her comment as proof of a blind spot, it pays to explore a bit what she meant by it.

Quote:
2001 is said to have caught on with youth (which can make it happen); and it’s said that the movie will stone you—which is meant to be a recommendation. Despite a few dissident voices—I’ve heard it said, for example, that 2001 “gives you a bad trip because the visuals don’t go with the music”—the promotion has been remarkably effective with students. “The tribes” tune in so fast that college students thousands of miles apart “have heard” what a great trip 2001 is before it has even reached their city. . . .

2001 celebrates the invention of tools of death, as an evolutionary route to a higher order of non-human life. . . . Kubrick literally learned to stop worrying and love the bomb; he’s become his own butt—the Herman Kahn of extraterrestrial games theory. The ponderous blurry appeal of the picture may be that it takes its stoned audience out of this world to a consoling vision of a graceful world of space, controlled by superior godlike minds, where the hero is reborn as an angelic baby. It has the dreamy somewhere-over-the-rainbow appeal of a new vision of heaven. 2001 is a celebration of cop-out. It says man is just a tiny nothing on the stairway to paradise, something better is coming, and it’s all out of your hands anyway. There’s an intelligence out there in space controlling your destiny from ape to angel, so just follow the slab. Drop up.

It’s a bad, bad sign when a movie director begins to think of himself as a myth-maker, and this limp myth of a grand plan that justifies slaughter and ends with resurrection has been around before. Kubrick’s story line—accounting for evolution by an extraterrestrial intelligence—is probably the most gloriously redundant plot of all time. . . .

Kubrick’s inspirational banality about how we will become as gods through machinery [is] big-shot show-business deep thinking. This isn’t a new show-business phenomenon; it belongs to the genius tradition of the theatre. Big entrepreneurs, producers, and directors who stage big spectacular shows, even designers of large sets have traditionally begun to play the role of visionaries and thinkers and men with answers. They get too big for art. Is a work of art possible if pseudoscience and the technology of movie-making become more important to the “artist” than man? This is central to the failure of 2001. It’s a monumentally unimaginative movie . . . The light-show trip is of no great distinction; compared to the work of experimental filmmakers like Jordan Belson, it’s third-rate. If big film directors are to get credit for doing badly what others have been doing brilliantly for years with no money, just because they’ve put it on a big screen, then businessmen are greater than poets and theft is art.
"Trash, Art, & the Movies"

I agree with everything Kael says here (that’s why I quote it), including her most-quoted point, that 2001 is almost devoid of artistic imagination (as compared to the problem-solving kind).

The story—the most interesting parts of it anyway—is more or less stolen from Nigel Kneale’s terrific 1956 BBC mini-series, Quatermass and the Pit, in which an alien artifact is dug up and found to be evidence of humanity’s distant ancestors and progenitors. Childhood’s End, the Arthur C. Clarke book that most directly inspired the film, was “deeply rooted in the work of Olaf Stapledon.” (Baxter, p. 204) Stapledon was a visionary, as every sci-fi aficionado knows, but his work is arguably best known as a result of being plagiarized by less talented writers like Clarke. (Loaded statement, that, would need to research it better to be sure.)

The whole secret government mission about which the crew is kept in the dark is standard sci-fi stuff, nothing new there; ditto the AI that turns against its creators (an idea which goes back to Frankenstein, at least). As for the star gate stuff, “men like gods,” evolutionary leaps of consciousness, all as old as the Bible, if not older, newly boosted by the LSD culture which 2001 both cannily pilfered and cynically catered to—thereby ensuring its lasting cultural significance (if the film had come out ten years earlier or later, it would probably have tanked).

But let’s get down to specifics, namely that 2001 lacked imagination (monumentally so) at a dramatic level for a very good reason, namely, because it was written as an intentional form of state propaganda, a Trojan Horse to promote specific values pertaining to capitalist, elitist agendas, and carry them forward into the new millennium. (That’s my thesis statement.)

“The immediate inspiration for 2001 wasn’t science fiction, but the American West.” Who knew? But it makes perfect sense. How the West was Won was 1962 film, 162 mins long, with four directors, that included documentary footage and was shot in “three-panel Cinerama.” “All over the world, entrepreneurs who, with studio encouragement, had built or rebuilt cinemas to accommodate Cinerama, demanded films to show in them. Kubrick would sell 2001 to MGM as part of that product.” The working title was “How the Solar System was Won.” (Baxter, p. 202)

Ding. The penny drops. “Businessmen are greater than poets and theft is art.”

Essentially, the story of 2001 is this: once we were but apes, but one day an intergalactic intelligence arrived and inspired our simian ancestors with the idea of “tool-technology”—and of using technology to “get ahead” (through violence). This alien intervention eventually led to man developing the capacity for space travel and artificial intelligence. The alien intelligence, having already prepared for this development millennia in advance, lured space-faring man, accompanied by AI, into a second encounter.

How exactly the apparent malfunctioning of AI and the last man’s meeting and merging with galactic intelligence (passing through the star gate) are connected, even mutually dependent, isn’t clear, to me at least (maybe I am just dense). Since Kubrick and Clarke’s vision remains mysterious and obscure, it’s easy for the gullible to assume that the film’s creators knew something we don’t, that their imagination was so far beyond ours that we are still trying to decode their masterful message. Possibly, but isn’t it also possible that this was deliberate, that neither Kubrick nor Clarke really understood their story either, because they hadn’t worked it out that well?

By his own admission, Kubrick was more interested in creating a myth than telling a story. So why wouldn’t he and Clarke have deduced that as long as they concealed the story’s incoherence and unoriginality with a mixture of a stupendous stylistic method and the extreme intellectual assurance, even arrogance, of their delivery, audiences would do the rest, especially if they were half out of their minds on pot and LSD, in a suitably dissociated state not to really care if it all added up. If so, they were right. Audiences didn’t care, and neither did critics.

Quote:
“Clarke and Kubrick made a match. Both were solitaries by nature. Both had a streak of homoeroticism that favored the sort of film 2001 would become: sleek, sexless, preoccupied with style. Both were opinionated and conceited—Clarke’s nickname was ‘Ego.’. . . Clarke had been faithful to a boyhood vision of science as savior of mankind, and of mankind as a race of potential gods destined for the stars.” (Baxter, p. 203-4)

And together they created a myth; only “this limp myth of a grand plan that justifies slaughter and ends with resurrection has been around before”. . .

My point here (and I think Kael’s too) is that the story of 2001, what there is of it, is perfectly congruent with a very basic form of state propaganda, one which Kubrick apparently believed in: that the only God is science, and that in mastering science man will become the master of his own destiny and a god in his own right, extending himself outward into the stars and “beyond the infinite.” And the conquest of space was an essential part of this “spiritual” journey, by which man would meet his maker and recognize his own spiritual potential, etc., etc.

The Big Lie of this myth is how it turns an inward journey (one of zero distance, with no temporal or spacial context to it) into an outward, linear progression, and a form of conquest rather than surrender. 2001 is the story of the spiritualized Ego—except it’s not a cautionary tale, it’s a celebration.

As we now know, all these elements are fundamental to post-millennial beliefs, ranging from the mystical to the scientistic, i.e., the post-New-Age makeover of the old religious doctrines (sacrifice and resurrection), now including alien intervention (Graham Hancock must love 2001), consciousness expansion, space travel, artificial intelligence, and transhumanism. How capitalism will save the world by conquering the solar system, roughly, with the added bonus that, hey kids, this is a spiritual expansion, not just an economic one (but you do get to take all your favorite toys into eternity).

Imagination and artistic “genius”—which to me means being a vessel for a non-localized intelligence—start at the very basic level, that of individual autonomy, honesty, and authenticity. No form of imaginative genius would ever be serving corporate, political agendas, because imagination, properly applied, takes us inward, not to expansion of structures but to their final dissolution. It is the means by which the psyche uncovers its own hidden nature to itself. There’s no way to hijack this process because it’s a very small, elusive, ephemeral thing, one that vanishes like a soap bubble the moment you try to put a handle or a brand—or a state agenda—to it. It is a moment of truth that communicates through nuance to the observer, not some grand statement about the nature of Man or our cosmic destiny.

The very grandeur of Kubrick’s vision proves its paucity. It appeals to the conqueror/colonizer in us all. And conversely, to the dissociated, fragmented child that wants to be a star so badly it will kill to get it.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 9:07 am 
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I enjoyed this above post very much.. And agree 100%

I tried to watch "2001" again some years ago and was stunned at how bad it was.. ! There was little to no dialogue.. And just a totally empty movie, that I could tell. I enjoyed the story "The Sentinel" when I was young and had read it before I saw the "2001" back in the day.. I saw it originally in High School, on a big screen, but not in a theater.

And Kael is right! I think I was stoned when I watched it the first time!

It's a fairly ridiculous movie, as I see it now.. I couldn't believe how empty it was.. having not honestly remembered much of my viewing decades before, when I saw it again in the "present era" - though not recently.

The AI failure , in the real world [cf. "Turning Test"], has always made me laugh. And there is definitely something about HAL which is humorous.

I couldn't stop laughing throughout the recent film "Interstellar" And I'm suppose to write about it for a friend.. If I think enough about "2001" I think it will give me insight to "Interstellar" There is a sequence in which the hero of that movie , call him MM, goes through a Stargate , either to a Black Hole, around one,, Or , as I hypothesized, to the Bardo, the realm of the Dead. And the sequence is a direct rip - off of "2001"

And a lot of "Interstellar" was a laugh out loud Comedy.. especially if you watch stuff like this , below, on the Internets.

Bogus Reentry Vehicles , Part One

Attachment:
jupiter640.jpg
jupiter640.jpg [ 84.59 KiB | Viewed 5301 times ]


I met Tim Leary in San Francisco at some kind of convention, in approx. 1973, and he promoted something called "Starseed" - which I felt, immediately, at the time, was total dung. And still do. He really thought [or at least, was tortured enough while he was in jail, to promote whatever he was told?], that humans next move / destiny would be to shoot out, like jizzum, into Outer Space, spreading "Man's" seed; And leave the Earth behind, as though the planet were a shell or an egg shell which could be discarded when outgrown.

Imagine that: The monkeys trash one nest and then figure - "Let's blow it up and leave, who cares, "Onward and Upward" "

Really , so sick.. Also the attitude has something to do, psychologically, with hatred of woman/ Mother.

The "Interstellar" was the same premise / motif.


Last edited by liberty on Tue Dec 30, 2014 2:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 12:45 pm 
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liberty wrote:
Also the attitude has something to do, psychologically, with hatred of woman/ Mother.

Yep. But disowned/unprocessed, which amounts to mother-bondage, the desire to return to the fetal state, as achieved via Kubrick and Clarke's "star-gate."

It seems the "defense" has nothing to say in response to these charges, however. . . ?

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 5:48 pm 
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Funnily enough, we've been here before. From chap 4 of The Prisoner of Infinity, "Infinite Infant":

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The attempt to escape psychological bondage to the mother by leaving the body (or the planet) behind is the attempt to extend the infantile into the infinite. It’s a bit like the star child at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey—the favorite “trip” movie of the counterculture. The floating fetus or the infinite infant is the final goal of both science and fantasy: Man’s creating God in his own image. But the star-child projected onto the screen, like the body in the mirror (or in our mother’s eyes), is not a real flesh and body; it’s only an image. Its perfection is the result of perfecting an illusion.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 2:46 pm 
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"Tarkovsky supposedly made Solaris in an attempt to one up on Kubrick after he had seen 2001: A Space Odyssey (which he referred to as cold and sterile). Interestingly enough Kubrick apparently really liked Solaris and I'm sure he found it amusing that it was marketed as the the Russian answer to 2001."

http://www.criterion.com/lists/106755-s ... rite-films


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 4:11 pm 
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sweatyk wrote:
I was prepared to rethink my position on Kubrick and am still open to the idea but the more I look the more evidence I see for his genius. So I suppose I represent the very obstacle that Jasun is attempting to overcome. He has accused me of being a yes-man in the past and not without good reason but that man has left the building. Let the games begin. :ugeek:

I guess sweatyk is still in the changing room, trying to get his boots on?

Quote:
“Kubrick himself, and the film version of The Shining in particular, is the locus of a certain kind of obsessive yet strangely inarticulate worship; the faithful tend to incant the words ‘genius’ and ‘masterpiece’ and ‘great’ over and over again, as if those terms constituted the workings of an argument rather than its conclusion. These are people in thrall to the very idea of greatness, and they cleave ferociously to their idol.”
—Laura Miller, Salon.com

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 6:02 pm 
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Well, I just fundamentally disagree with Kael and Jasun's interpretation of 2001. Since they misinterpret the film all of the conclusions they draw are based on flawed premises. It took 30 years for Jay Wiedner to discover that the monolith is the movie screen turned on a 90 degree angle. The proportions are identical to a cinerama screen. Then Rob Ager too that idea and ran with it. This is the key to understanding this film and it doesn't end there, it's only the beginning. The movie 2001 is about cinema itself and the hero's journey is one of discovering that is a character trapped in the film. I'm in the midst of collating the screenshots to present my argument- I may need to start a blog to do so and I will link here when it's up (tho it may take some time).


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 7:33 pm 
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The ten best movies of all time, as chosen by 358 directors including Woody Allen, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Quentin Tarantino, the Dardenne brothers, Terence Davies, Guillermo del Toro, Martin Scorsese, Olivier Assayas, Michael Mann, Guy Maddin, Francis Ford Coppola, Mike Leigh, Aki Kaurismäki…

http://www.bfi.org.uk/news/sight-sound-2012-directors-top-ten

2. 2001: ASO


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 8:12 pm 
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sweatyk wrote:
Well, I just fundamentally disagree with Kael and Jasun's interpretation of 2001. Since they misinterpret the film all of the conclusions they draw are based on flawed premises. It took 30 years for Jay Wiedner to discover that the monolith is the movie screen turned on a 90 degree angle. The proportions are identical to a cinerama screen. Then Rob Ager too that idea and ran with it. This is the key to understanding this film and it doesn't end there, it's only the beginning. The movie 2001 is about cinema itself and the hero's journey is one of discovering that is a character trapped in the film. I'm in the midst of collating the screenshots to present my argument- I may need to start a blog to do so and I will link here when it's up (tho it may take some time).

So, let me get this straight. Your response is to ignore all the points made above, your counter-argument being: "I just fundamentally disagree"?

Some defense! :lol:

And why do you disagree? Because you have found the "key" to understanding the movie which proves it's great (and cite Jay Weidner, a shameless Kubrick worshipper who considers 2001 the most profound spiritual experience of his life, whose arguments are flimsy at best and who resorts to outright lying at worst, and who is currently spreading anti-moslem hysteria via Red Ice); but, most importantly of all, you have your own pet Kubrick-worshipping project underway, so we should just hold on while you put that together?

Some play!

Lastly, to prop up your non-existent case for the defense, you throw consensus opinion at the court?

:roll:

Prosecution: 10. Defense: 0.

Actually, you should get minus points because, for anyone paying attention, you have strengthened the case against Kubrick.

Nice work, prof.

:twisted:

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 8:19 pm 
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I don't understand how you roast Armond White for his review of Room 237, but at the same time you criticize the people who theorizes on that film for being worshipers, (which I agree with).


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