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I’ve not had much luck with watching films lately. At least films I’m not already familiar with. Unless they’ve been French ones, I’m okay with French at the moment but nothing much else. So I’ve had 2001:A Space Odyssey out the library to watch since before Christmas and been avoiding it. I finally got round to it on Sunday evening for no better reason than that it was due back yesterday. And why oh why did I not watch it sooner? I’d so have watched it a couple of times more. It’s so on the list of films I need to buy when I eventually have the cash. Sheer filmic indulgence. The music not only starts a good 2 minutes before the picture, there’s an intermission in the middle for it and the music carries on after the credits, for a good 4 minutes after the words THE END appear on screen. Brilliant. Such daring, such music, such arrogance. I’m in awe of Kubrick for getting away with it! Aesthetically perhaps one of the most gorgeous films I’ve ever seen. Okay, so the plot doesn’t entirely make sense, and the last 20 or so minutes bemused me utterly (the whole ‘star child’ thing, just, huh?), and I was throughout thoroughly aware I was watching a film, analysing constantly as it went along. Logically I know that nothing much actually happens for about 2 and a half hours but I’d happily waste many more hours of my life on beauty like that. My inner theorist is squeeing excitedly over the use of the classic narrative technique of portraying an encounter with the sublime, something wonderous and awe-inspiring, beyond the reach of our easy understanding. No wonder HAL and Dave go mad…caught between the immense and the minute. Because I’m suddenly now inspired for where the other half of my essay is going to go I’ve dug out my lecture notes and been gratified to find out that everything Dave’s encounter with the ‘infinite beyond’ is classic ‘encounter with the sublime’ stuff. I would try and sum up the effect the film had on me but, I found a quote that says it better so there we go…

In the words on Immanuel Kant…

“at once a feeling of displeasure, arising from the inadequacy of the imagination in the aesthetic estimation of magnitude to attain to its estimation by reason, and a simultaneous awakened pleasure arising from this very judgement of the inadequacy of the greatest faculty of sense being in accord with ideas of reason.”

Just for a moment I felt witness to something beautiful beyond my comprehension. I was a little girl again, holding a kaledoscope up to the light and pretending I was flying through the stars, staring up at the summer light shining through the stained glass windows in Notre Dame cathedral.

It’s been a long time since something touched my soul like that. I feel oddly at peace, almost blissful…I think the music helps…

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