Originally posted here
Mystery Man recently posted a video and link to an article about 2001, and I decided my response there merited repeating in my own blog.
My discussion of films tends not be be analytical so much as experiential, and this is no exception.
I remember the first time I watched 2001 so clearly.
I was about 14, it was at a slumber party. The other girls were all out at the pool, going into the daylight after telling scary stories in the dark of a walk-in closet.
The parents put it on (and, in retrospect, I suspect had just dropped acid.) I stood behind the couch and watched the opening - silent and yet so *big* and *important*... I asked what it was, and if I could watch. They told me I wouldn't enjoy it, it was for grown-ups. Well, I wasn't the kind of kid who ever appreciated being left out because of my age - so I sat down on the floor and watched.
I was baffled and completely entranced - and knew I'd have to watch it again in a few years... and yet, despite not quite getting everything, I had grasped the essence of it. It speaks in such grand gestures and on a mythical level that a grasp of the narrative details is not needed, and the willingness to accept not understanding is part of the experience of the film (while at the same time, letting the presence of that enigma drive one, the great mysteries that spark creativity.)
And yet... I can't even imagine a film like this being made today. The pacing, and most especially the abstract ending would be difficult for any director to push through.