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.