Muthah from another planet

2001: A Space Odyssey isn't a sci-fi flick, it's the sci-fi flick

The presence of the smooth black slab in 2001: A Space Odyssey underscores the inability of humankind to grasp truly profound ideas, which are often the simplest. When our simian ancestors first encounter the slab during the film's opening segment, they stroke and caress it with noble-savage awe. Flash forward to 2001, when the same geometric object is uncovered on the moon, and what is the reaction by technologically sophisticated Homo sapiens? They want to have their picture taken in front of it. So much for evolution.

The fantasy writer Michael Moorcock, who observed Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke in collaboration on the script, testified that the writers themselves were sometimes befuddled by the story they'd undertaken. Whether or not you grasp the thin narrative thread that runs through 2001: A Space Odyssey, there's no question that the film, if you surrender conscientiously to it, pokes at some deeply buried fears and desires. It's a testament to Kubrick's vision of the distant past and the near future that you find yourself scared and comforted all at once. Cinema, by its very definition, is a manipulative, unsubtle medium; a strong umbilical cord of sight and sound usually connects a given scene to its consequent audience reaction. Few movies can manipulate your emotions without your knowing precisely how and why they do it. 2001: A Space Odyssey is a theme park for the subconscious.

The USA Film Festival screens 2001: A Space Odyssey August 23 at midnight at the AMC Glen Lakes, 9450 N. Central Expressway. Call 821-

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