“The genius is not in how much Stanley Kubrick does in 2001: A Space Odyssey, but in how little,” Roger Ebert wrote in his review. “This is the work of an artist so sublimely confident that he doesn’t include a single shot simply to keep our attention. He reduces each scene to its essence, and leaves it on screen long enough for us to contemplate it, to inhabit it in our imaginations. Alone among science-fiction movies, 2001 is not concerned with thrilling us, but with inspiring our awe.”
That initial awe continued to endure in Ebert, who placed the film on his top ten of all-time in 2012, a year before he passed. Reflecting on his admiration for the film, we have a few great videos today, the first of which features an interview between the critic and author of the source material, Arthur C. Clarke. Taking place in 1997, during the time of HAL’s fictitious birth, the two discuss how the project came about, Clarke’s scientific ideas, the then-current state of technology, and more.
Following that we have two TV specials featuring Ebert discussing the work of Kubrick. The first was broadcast in 1999, following the death of Kubrick and the release of Eyes Wide Shut, and gathers Michael Wilmington, Ray Pride, Dann Gire, and Jonathan Rosenbaum to talk the director’s career and legacy, including 2001. Lastly, it’s quite brief, but there’s a talk between Ebert and Elvis Mitchell discussing more of Kubrick’s filmography. As we remember the life and work of both Kubrick and Ebert, check all the videos below.
What did you take away from the conversations? Do you share Ebert’s admiration for the film?