lunedì 7 maggio 2018

Understanding Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey

The book Understanding Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey - Representation and Interpretation (edited by James Fenwick and published by Intellect Books) for which I wrote the first chapter, is finally out next week! Here it is, featured in the last essay of Sight And Sound magazine.

In my chapter, titled "God, it’ll be hard topping the H-bomb": Kubrick’s search for a new obsession in the path from 'Dr. Strangelove' to '2001' I used both textual analysis and archival evidence to explore the genesis of the movie, and the search of what Stanley Kubrick called "his new obsession" after the release of Dr. Strangelove - or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb in January 1964. By analyzing three lesser-known projects the director was associated with before his involvement with Arthur C. Clarke, I documented the methods behind the sometimes-uneasy development of a new Kubrick project, and the various science-fiction ideas that were muted along the way to the eventual creation of 2001

I've read all the other chapters and they are extremely interesting; drawing inspiration from the introduction, they "offer new and interpretative approaches that examine aesthetics, performance, technological design, philosophical discourse, genre and authorial agency in 2001. Each chapter is linked by the exploration of Kubrick’s intellectual concerns as an auteur and the historicism and aesthetic representation of 2001, with the ultimate aim of bringing together a range of new scholarly perspectives from the full spectrum of Kubrick Studies. [...] Taken together, this volume represents a wide-ranging examination from a number of standpoints about one of the most important and influential films in cinema history".

Preorder the book now, at a special price, from Amazon UK.

UPDATE 15/5: Sadly, the release has been postponed to June 12.

venerdì 4 maggio 2018

In edicola su "Il Giornale": Kubrick, Clarke e 2001

Stamani, in edicola su Il Giornale (e online qui), un articolo scritto a quattro mani dal sottoscritto e Filippo Ulivieri sulla relazione – spesso idilliaca, a volte burrascosa – tra Kubrick e Clarke durante la realizzazione di 2001: Odissea nello Spazio. Attingendo dal carteggio inedito conservato allo Smithsonian Institution di Washington, io e Filippo abbiamo raccontato lo sviluppo della sceneggiatura del film e soprattutto l'estenuante tira e molla tra Kubrick e Clarke per la pubblicazione del romanzo collegato al film, una saga parallela che rivela la personalità dei due artisti. Buona lettura!

lunedì 2 aprile 2018

Fifty years ago, today

April 2, 1968: '2001: A Space Odyssey' is revealed to the world at the Uptown Theatre in Washington D.C.

Fifty years later, the title of the first review in the Washington Post is still the best description for the movie.

giovedì 29 marzo 2018

'2001: A Space Odyssey' returns to theaters with a new 70mm print

It's been in the works for a while, and it has just been officially announced: on occasion of the 50th anniversary, 2001: A Space Odyssey will be back in theaters. A new, "unrestored" 70mm print, whose production has been overseen by Christopher Nolan, will be unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival on May 12, introduced by the director. The screening will also be attended by members of Kubrick’s family, including his daughter Katharina Kubrick and his longtime producing partner and brother-in-law Jan Harlan, and also by Keir Dullea.

2001 will return to select U.S. theatres in 70mm beginning May 18, 2018. No news yet about releases in the rest of the world (either in 35mm, digital or 70mm).

Also, the 4K UHD Blu-ray (now disappeared from Amazon US and France) will be now released in "the fall of 2018".

From the Warner Bros official press release:
For the first time since the original release, this 70mm print was struck from new printing elements made from the original camera negative. This is a true photochemical film recreation. There are no digital tricks, remastered effects, or revisionist edits. This is the unrestored film that recreates the cinematic event audiences experienced 50 years ago.

image © Warner Bros 2018 - from

martedì 27 febbraio 2018

“I am certain it will all come out right in the end”

It's now official, so I can post it here as well!

On July 22 I will take part in a symposium held by the Deutsches Filmmuseum in Frankfurt, Germany, in occasion of the '2001' official 50th anniversary exhibition, 'Kubrick’s 2001. 50 years A SPACE ODYSSEY' that will be hosted there from March 21 to September 16. Here's the full program:

I will deliver a 45-minutes long presentation titled

 “I am certain it will all come out right in the end”:
The Kubrick-Clarke collaboration on '2001: A Space Odyssey' and beyond.

Here's the abstract:

The most celebrated of Stanley Kubrick’s artistic partnership, namely his work with Arthur C. Clarke on '2001: A Space Odyssey' (1968), has usually been discussed only through the lenses of the writer's published memoirs about the making of the movie. 

Mainly focused on the author’s struggle to come up with a satisfying plot and, perhaps most infamously, on his efforts to finalize a deal for the publication of the book that the two were concurrently writing, these works have contributed to a misunderstanding about the relationship between the writer and the director, that has often described in the general press as difficult or conflicted, true to the usual narrative about Kubrick the ‘dictatorial genius’. 

Actually, the two enjoyed a long friendship; the usually hard-to-please director said that his relationship with Clarke was one of the most “fruitful and enjoyable” he ever had, and when the director passed away in 1999, the writer said “My professional career owes more to Stanley than to anybody else in the world.”

By making use of the correspondence held in the Kubrick Archive and in the recently opened Arthur C. Clarke Collection in the Smithsonian Museum in Virginia, I will shed some light on the collaboration between the director and the writer on 2001, using as case histories the key points in the evolution of the plot and the issue over the publication of the book. 

I will also cover their (so far) largely ignored collaboration in the development of a screenplay based on Brian Aldiss’s short story 'Supertoys last all summer long' in the early Nineties (a project eventually brought to the screen by Steven Spielberg as 'A.I. : Artificial Intelligence'), to compare the two experiences and see if their attitudes, interests and working methods changed over time.

* * *

So if you're planning to visit the exhibition, why don't you take your summer vacation on July and kill two birds with one stone? Not to mention that the two-day symposium will feature some great Kubrick scholars, like Filippo Ulivieri, James Fenwick (editor of the book Understanding Kubrick's 2001, for which I wrote a chapter) and Vincent Jaunas!