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Soderbergh's recut of 2001


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#1 Carl Looper

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 06:14 AM

Somewhat unfortunately, if not unsurprisingly, Soderbergh's recut of 2001 has been taken down.

 

It was here for a little while, but alas, no more.

 

http://extension765....rn-of-w-de-rijk

 

I was fortunate enough to see it not so long ago and I found it quite compelling if not downright superb. It's weird watching a film you know so well and seeing it shifted a little, into a parallel universe. Just wish it was still there and up for discussion.

 

Soderbergh recasts the story in terms of a stare off between Dave and HAL, foreshadowing this from the beginning, and recapitulating such at the end in what I found was unexpected, uncannily powerful, and extremely simple, at the same time. And all quite inter-consistent with the original film.

 

It doesn't in any way alter the sense of what is otherwise happening in the original. Rather it amplifies such in a way I reckon Kubrick would have appreciated - pure speculation of course - and perhaps verging on sacriligious, but it clicked for me. It was as if Kubrick had come back and done it himself.

 

There is a sense in which the star gate sequence onwards is taking place at the same time that Dave is disconnecting HAL. As if what follows is both from Dave's point of view following disconnection of HAL, and from HAL's point of view where the disconnection has yet to complete. In a strange sense they both take the journey through the Star Gate. And they both experience the hotel at the end of the universe, but in a way that transcends any limits on time.

 

A stare off between Dave and HAL, in which HAL finally realises the future can never belong to him.

 

C


Edited by Carl Looper, 24 January 2015 - 06:14 AM.

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#2 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 25 January 2015 - 10:16 AM

When I read the subject line all I thought was, "You have GOT to be f!@#$%& kidding me!"  Then it all made sense as Soderbergh's utter arrogance has always come through in his films.

 

But this just takes the cake.


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#3 Carl Looper

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Posted 25 January 2015 - 05:49 PM

Soderbergh is certainly arrogant - but arrogance is often a defence mechanism around a work rather than determinants for a work. I found the cut itself wasn't in any way arrogant. Indeed I found it was incredibly respectful.

 

It belongs to a tradition in film studies in which one reworks a film for the purpose of coming to terms with how that film works, at various different levels. Its stuff that film students do all the time. In other words it's not just the domain of fans.

 

Although generally, in film studies, the idea is to bring some critical thought into play. Something Soderbergh doesn't appear to be doing here. It arguably swings more towards a fan film than a film study film. On the other hand, critical thought isn't the sole domain of analysts and whatever paranoid model they are trying to maintain. It is equally the domain of creative thought. And Soderbergh can be said to fit into this frame. Something I much more prefer in film study methods. The idea is that to see and understand something is to also actively participate in it - and as a necessary consequence - to alter it. 

 

But of course, here is where Soderbergh, or anyone else pursuing such a method, is likely to encounter the most resistance. Paranoid dismantling of films is easy. And easy to laugh at, and consequently easy to dismiss as irrelevant. Skitzofunctional reworkings of a film risk being interpreted as an attempt to improve a work, or otherwise exploit a work. But as anyone knows, working in this form of film study, notions of improvement or exploitation are the last things on one's mind. Indeed one often has to avoid showing such work in public, less one be lynched for just such a perceived crime.

 

Traditional paranoid analysis of films are arguably more exploitative, in that they can be more readily shown, more readily received as academic, and more readily able to reinforce one's academic credentials.

 

I'd venture.

 

Carl


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#4 Carl Looper

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Posted 25 January 2015 - 06:25 PM

A second reading possible on Soderbergh's retake is that the stare off between HAL and Dave isn't the end of the story, but the beginning of a new one - that HAL isn't yet finished with Dave, Or Dave with HAL. And that the gulf between them (the complete disconnect between them) is not an obstacle for either of them. That the drama between them isn't yet over.

 

This might rub up against Clarke's conclusion, and by inference, Kubrick's conclusion, but it's no less an interesting one.

 

And ultimately, so many films have been inspired by 2001, I think it strange to treat Soderbergh's study as doing anything in any way worse.

 

But without it being publically available, it does make it difficult to elaborate this thread.

 

C


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#5 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 25 January 2015 - 08:53 PM

I dissected many a film in my media arts grad program, including 2001.  But that is a far cry from having the audacity to re-cut AND publish a cinematic masterpiece of the 20th century..


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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 26 January 2015 - 12:10 AM

I think it's the publishing and credit taking which reads as a sat attempt at controversy and press is really what's at odds here at least for me.


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#7 Carl Looper

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Posted 26 January 2015 - 06:18 AM

Yes, I've been feeling the odd one out on this one.

 

Where I'd find myself at odds with Soderbergh is not his take on 2001, but the commentary:

 

"plus, it’s TECHNOLOGY’S FAULT. without technology, i wouldn’t have been able to spend so much intimate—and, ultimately, inappropriate—time with the film. by the way, i’ve seen every conceivable kind of film print of 2001, from 16mm flat to 35mm internegative to a cherry camera negative 70mm in the screening room at warner bros, and i’m telling you, none of them look as good as a bluray played on an pioneer elite plasma kuro monitor. and while you’re cleaning up your spit take over that sentence, let me also say i believe SK would have embraced the current crop of digital cameras, because from a visual standpoint, he was obsessed with two things: absolute fidelity to reality-based light sources, and image stabilization. regarding the former, the increased sensitivity without resolution loss allows us to really capture the world as it is, and regarding the latter, post-2001 SK generally shot matte perf film (normally reserved for effects shots, because of its added steadiness) all day, every day, something which digital capture makes moot. pile on things like never being distracted by weaving, splices, dirt, scratches, bad lab matches during changeovers, changeovers themselves, bad framing and focus exacerbated by projector vibration, and you can see why i think he might dig digital. - See more at: http://extension765.....UamjSPx3.dpuf"

 

And in particular this:

 

"the increased sensitivity without resolution loss allows us to really capture the world as it is"

 

The concept of capturing a world as it is, I always find somewhat baffling. In any art, (and photography is no exception) there is no difference between the world as it is, and what is really captured. And this includes so called distractions: be it splices, dirt, scratches, (or the the video look of digital photography for that matter) - or everything that goes into creating photography on all sorts of levels (lighting for one) -  all of these constitute the world that photography (in whatever form) is capable of giving us. If an artist seeks to remove "distractions", or leave then in for that matter, that is also part of the world that is really captured.

 

To suggest that some worlds are more really captured than others, becomes quite baffling.

 

C


Edited by Carl Looper, 26 January 2015 - 06:21 AM.

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#8 Carl Looper

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Posted 26 January 2015 - 07:30 AM

But I otherwise get what Soderbergh is possibly trying to say. For example, in Barry Lyndon, Kubrick is taken by the idea of period lighting - candlelight, sunlight, etc. even if occasionally this requires some minor assistance from electric lights. Inspiration is drawn from particular period paintings in which the light depicted is simply not electric light. The world to be created is one in which candlelight and sunlight are the appropriate devices. A downside here is that certain limitations in film technology mean that some aspects of this envisaged world can't be created, which digital might otherwise allow.

 

There's no evidence to suggest that Kubrick would not embrace digital, and on the contrary, that he might. But it's really beside the point. To use the term 'Kubrick', apart from meaning the living breathing human being, is to also reference the actual work that goes by that name, rather than the work that might do so, or didn't. If I speak of Kubrick in the present tense here, it's to keep his spirit with us. It's not to suggest he is still alive.

 

Registration. Yep. This is a problem with film technology. Not if you want a world made up of individual frames of course, but if the world you envisage is one which is not only spatially coherent, but also temporally so, (especially if you want it strictly so), there additional work required to be done. And again, digital (as much as video before it) is quite a good solution in this respect.

 

C

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#9 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 26 January 2015 - 02:26 PM

There's no evidence to suggest that Kubrick would not embrace digital, and on the contrary, that he might.

 

I absolutely believe Kubrick would have made use of digital.  In Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures, Spielberg talks about how Kubrick brought the project of A.I. to him and that Stanley wanted to wait before they began production since digital technologies were about to explode.  And that film was released in 2001.  This was all discussed in another thread.

 

 

Registration. Yep. This is a problem with film technology.

 

Registration hasn't been an issue for over 70 years.  Now, all of a sudden since Soderbergh says so, it is?...


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#10 Carl Looper

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Posted 26 January 2015 - 04:52 PM

Registration hasn't been an issue for over 70 years.  Now, all of a sudden since Soderbergh says so, it is?...

 

Soderbergh is just one of many who have mentioned this over the years. He's not the first and he's not the last. Its not an issue in many types of work. Its only an issue if you make it one, and it can certainly be made into one.

 

For which some might very well find a digital solution appealing.

 

But equally there are mechanical solutions. And hybrids of both.

 

C


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#11 Carl Looper

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Posted 26 January 2015 - 05:16 PM

 

I absolutely believe Kubrick would have made use of digital.  In Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures, Spielberg talks about how Kubrick brought the project of A.I. to him and that Stanley wanted to wait before they began production since digital technologies were about to explode.  And that film was released in 2001.  This was all discussed in another thread.

 

Whether discussed in another thread or not (and many things are discussed in many threads many times) Soderbergh was speaking to shooting in low light, which might very well have been a requirement in AI, but I've never found it a big discussion point in that context. Not nearly as much as it is discussed in Barry Lyndon.

 

I suspect, in AI, Kubrick was more interested in what digital might have had to offer in terms of digital effects work, than in terms of low light photography. But certainly there's no reason he would have excluded the latter as a consideration.

 

C


Edited by Carl Looper, 26 January 2015 - 05:19 PM.

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#12 Carl Looper

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Posted 26 January 2015 - 05:37 PM

We should remember that what digital had to offer back in 2001, wasn't yet the digital photography that we understand today. Cameras such as the RED camera are still years away, although such cameras had certainly been on the drawing boards of many artists/technicians, including myself.

 

I don't know if Kubrick was waiting for such cameras, for AI.

 

C


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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 January 2015 - 05:41 PM

Kubrick was a control freak, so the question is whether digital would have allowed him more control over the shooting and post processing all the way to releasing, or not.  I think he would have tested and tested it extensively and probably not have jumped onto the bandwagon early on like others did, back when it was the F900 and then the Genesis camera (plus at the slow rate he made movies, a decade would have passed after "Eyes Wide Shut"), but eventually he probably would have found reasons to go with digital.  He was paranoid about labs damaging his negatives and may have found comfort in the thought of being able to clone his digital files and vault them in different places under his control.  Or maybe not.


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#14 Carl Looper

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Posted 26 January 2015 - 05:47 PM

Ha ha. Yes, a "control freak" is a good way of putting it. And certainly digital has a lot to offer the control freak.

 

C


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