Saturday, June 30, 2018

“2001: A Space Odyssey” - 50th Anniversary!

I went to the Tower Theater Friday night to see the 50th anniversary, 70 mm roadshow film version of “2001: A Space Odyssey,” to a surprisingly large audience of about a hundred people. Matias Bombal (a well-known Sacramento cinephile and Gabriel McAuliffe’s childhood friend), gave introductory, purplish remarks, and recalled those golden years before video conquered all.

Bombal was beyond enthusiastic about the color reproduction (“note the blues!!!!”) Since the projectionist would have to adjust the focus several times during the film, Bombal noted that he wasn’t just playing the film, but “rendering” it before our eyes. Bombal went so far overboard with his remarks it would have required the Coast Guard to reel him back in.

And it brought back memories of the first time I saw a porn movie. About 1973. The projector overheated and the sound sporadically cut in and out. The projectionist cursed and banged repeatedly on the projector, making the sound pop - his own way of ‘rendering’ the film. Ah, the majesty of film!

Nevertheless, Bombal was absolutely right. The blues were spectacular. The film was amazing. Touchstones like advertising logos in space, used originally to make the future seem more-familiar, now work for nostalgic purposes.

Bombal also made me laugh. I hesitated to enter the proper theater. I asked him, “Is 2001 being shown here?” and told him the sign above the door (for Misterrogers ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’) was ambiguous. Referring to 2001, he replied “Was it as ambiguous as the show’s conclusion?”

My dad didn’t understand 2001 when we saw it at the drive-in theater, circa 1971 (I think it was a Stanley Kubrick double bill with “A Clockwork Orange”, the first time I saw fluorescent-colored hair portrayed on film and knew instantly that that was the future of youth). I belonged to the Science Fiction Book Club, and I had already read 2001, so I overexplained it to my dad, and made him hate the film even more.

There are still a couple more screenings left at the Tower. See “2001: A Space Odyssey” rendered as it was meant to be seen! All those blues!

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