Much has been said about 2001 as a 2-act or a 3-act film, or whatever. I have always seen it as a four-movement symphony, much like the Beethoven's 9th that Kubrick loves so much. The first movement is the Dawn of Man, which (like a regular symphony) sets up the themes and is echoed in later movements. The second movement involves the NASA-like guys and their reaction to the monolith (chuckle). Beethoven's 9th's 2nd movement is also a scherzo (joke). Third, we have the HAL segment, containing much of the darkest and most intelligent filmmaking of the movie. The 9th's third movement is also slow, but innovative. The final movement is the trip into the Monolith, and the special effects galore. Interestingly, the 9th's fourth movement is the choral section, and for Kubrick, the fourth movement has no dialogue at all. This is not surprising, since SK uses words as banal expression, and images as real "choral" communication. I think that 2001 is a film that sort of encompasses art as a whole rather than just utilizing the cinema. It is a movie, it is a painting, it is a philosophy book, and finally a musical symphony. What a triumph. (Z.R.)
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