2001 Space Odyssey Cinematography

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I just re-watched ‘2001 Space Odyssey’ by Stanley Kubrick, and holy shit– this movie is one of the best movies of all-time.


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I think I first watched this film when I was like 10-12 years old, from my Dad (who is an epic film buff).

Anyways, the book is inspired by the short story, ‘The Sentinel‘ by Arthur Clarke. This movie is most famous for the songs: ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ by Richard Strauss (inspired by Nietzsche’s book), and ‘The blue danube’ by Johann Strauss II. If you haven’t watched 2001 Space Odyssey, you’ve definitely probably heard these songs somewhere:

Significance of 2001 Space Odyssey

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The significance of 2001 Space Odyssey (which was filmed in 1968, nearly 50+ years ago!!!) is that it has inspired pretty much all modern sci-film films, including Star Wars, The Matrix, and Aliens/any sci-fi film by Ridley Scott.

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When watching 2001 Space Odyssey, I was blown away by the set design, the camera-work, the special effects, the philosophical questions on existence and human life, as well as the phenomenal cinematography.


Contact sheets from 2001 Space Odyssey

To start, let me share some thumbnails from the movie. I watched the film on my laptop, and took a screenshot whenever I found a scene which was interesting. Then afterwards, I used Lightroom to import the screenshooted PNG files, and used the ‘Print’ function in Lightroom and exported it as a ‘5×11 contact sheet’ as a JPEG image.

I took a screenshot whenever I was inspired by the cinematography, the framing, the facial expressions of the actors, or any other moment which I felt was significant:

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2001 Space Odyssey Philosophical Musings

Some philosophical musings:

Scene 1: The origins of human life

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Question 1: “What does it mean to be human?”

In the beginning of the film, you see a bunch of apes (our forefathers) living in the desert, barely staying alive, and working hard to simply procure food and care for their children.

In one epic scene, you see one ape accidentally discover the use of old bones from an animal– which could be used as a weapon. He later teaches his tribe this, and uses their bone-weapons to kill an opposing leader of another tribe.

Ideas/thoughts that ran through my head:

  1. We all descended from apes, and through millennia have become what we know as ‘modern day homo-sapiens’. ‘Homo sapien’ means that we are from the ‘homo-erectus’ species, but we are distinguished because we are ‘sapien’ (intelligent). Therefore first of all, it is humbling to know that even though we are insanely intelligent today, at our core, we are just primal apes. This explains a lot of our tribal-violent behavior today, even though we are intelligent.
  2. We are significant in our use of tools: In the movie, the first ‘tool’ was actually a bone-weapon. Therefore, the tribes/individuals that thrive and took over the world were the ones who could best effectively use tools/equipment/weapons. Much of human advancement on planet Earth was through warfare, and the civilizations with the best weapons are the ones that took over the world. Significance: In today’s world, the individuals who can best leverage materials/tools/equipment are the ones who can build the most power.
  3. Technically we aren’t the center of the universe: Through pure chance, humans became the kings of planet Earth. Our ability to terraform the Earth, procure food, and domesticate/conquer other species is what gave us our advantage.

This is where the movie gets a bit crazy: out of nowhere, you see this huge alien-like black stone-slab. Perhaps it was this alien civilization that first taught our ape-ancestors how to use tools?

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