2010 — A Time Magazine Cover From The Future Past

Apropos of the new decade, I hunkered down to half watch the 2001: A Space Odyssey sequel 2010: The Year We Make Contact — a middling accomplishment in the shadow of 2001, but more of a movie than the cinephile’s 2001, at least insofar as one might measure the distinction using the vulgar calculus of *words-of-dialogue-per-film-minute.*

In any case, this very brief moment on the screen caught my eye while I was distractedly gardening my digital empire on the lap topped with computer — it’s a prop that appears so as to elevate the backstory in the film of tension between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A. It does so in a way that was apropos of the era of conscientious, editorially-motivated print journalism — the Time Magazine cover story. I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw one, but it meant something *then*. Now I suppose the filmmakers would have to use a Twitter trending topics graphic or something.

2010: The Year We Make Contact was released in 1984, in the midst of rather frigid US-Soviet relations. As a diegetic prop it works well in the film. In this scene, an Intensive Care Unit nurse is distractedly reading the magazine while watching video monitors of the ailing mother of the now annoyingly ebullient shape-shifting specter of what was once Astronaut Bowman and — hold on? what’s this? That is surely illustrations of Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick posing as, presumably, the President of the United States and the — whatever — Soviet Premiere. Nice little homage there. I don’t think Kubrick had much to do with 2010, whereas Clarke wrote the screenplay at least.

Arthur C. Clarke

Stanley Kubrick

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Kubrick Anthem

A page from the 2001 section of the amazing new Taschen edition – The Stanley Kubrick Archives. I’m emphasizing 2001: A Space Odyssey here, but this wonderfully designed book covers Kubrick’s film oeuvre.

As I’ve been digging up materials on the design fiction topic, and sending my search beyond the Google into the backyard shed, which includes many cardboard boxes that were sent to myself from New York City to Los Angeles back in 2004, I have had a chance to plunge myself into welcome nostalgia. I found my old
Star Trek: Star Fleet Technical Manual and a copy of The Making Of Kubrick’s 2001.

I remember browsing through this “Making Of” book as a young boy, not reading it so much as looking at the pictures of spaceships and wondering how they were built. I mean – I knew they weren’t real, but I was fascinated by the production aspects, the model making and so forth. The ways and means of creating “special” effects for the film. All of this decanted into some early Super-8mm experiments involving disappearing Cowboys pursuing befuddled Indians, somehow involving my brother and neighborhood chums. Anyway..

This latest Kubrick purchase I can highly recommend for folks with large coffee tables or broad bookshelves. It’s a prodigious collection of stills from all of his films, as well as wonderful backstory insights and production notes and nuggets. For the extent of the material, the richness of the film stills and all this, I’d say this is a strong buy, or one for the wish list, certainly. The book contains stills from the films, meticulously reproduced from original negatives, insights about the production of each film through visual stories, production stills and so on. Also included are some new essays.

(There seems to be some sort of Kubrick revival or renaissance or maybe that’s just my observation. In fact, it must be. I think there’s a Kubrick ghost living amongst me. The night before he died – news that came to me over the morning radio while I was living in Brooklyn – I swear my father and I watched The Killing on a VHS tape. When I came downstairs and told my dad the news, he thought I was pulling his leg, the coincidence being rather bizarre as we were not given to watching Kubrick as a matter of course. I’m not entirely sure what’s going on. I’ve only just now noticed Matthew Modine’s book called Full Metal Jacket Diary of his notes and photographs from his experiences with Kubrick in Full Metal Jacket that I stumbled across just Saturday at Family bookstore on Fairfax. It’s in a curious metal covered design and rich with photographs; certainly a significant contribution to the wider Kubrick mythos. That same day while in the Otis College of Design library, the Spring 2009 issue of Cineaste had an article by Tony Pipolo called “Stanley Kubrick’s History Lessons.” There was one other magazine with a cover story, but I forget what it was.)

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