Saturday, November 29, 2014

cinema marathon: “2001 – a space odyssey” and “I am ali”

Yesterday was definitely a “first” for me – I went to the cinema TWICE! Actually, that’s not quite true, I only went once… but stayed to watch two films. As I had a relatively free Friday, I’d already decided to go to the Watershed to see “I am Ali” (Clare Lewins excellent documentary on Muhammad Ali) at the end of the afternoon, but then next noticed that Stanley Kubrick’s “2001 – A Space Odyssey” was being shown straight after lunch.
So, somewhat ridiculously, I decided that I go to both!
2001 - A SPACE ODYSSEY: I saw “2001” when it first came out in 1968. I can remember being “encouraged” to see it by our amazing art tutor, Tom Porter, at Oxford School of Architecture (actually, it was much more like a three-line whip!). It IS an amazing film (even if you set aside the storyline)… and you have to keep reminding yourself that it was made only 5 years after the first man-on-the-moon, before the internet and long before the world of personal computers and mobile phones. Yes, understandably, there are sections of the film that now look a little “clunky” (eg. push-button computer technology, voice recognition, trays of dehydrated food etc) but, overall, 47 years later(!), it’s still remarkably fresh and visually stunning.
I AM ALI: For me, like lots of other people, Muhammad Ali is a real hero of mine and so I was very keen to see Clare Lewins’ film. I suspect it’s quite easy to make a “bad” documentary about Ali, but pretty difficult to make a “good” one. Fortunately, as far as I was concerned, this IS a very good one. One of its key features is the access Lewins had to Ali’s family and, in particular, to the audio recordings/audio journals that Ali himself had made of conversations with his children. Lewins had originally made a documentary for the BBC a few years ago and it was during this time that she met Gene Kilroy, Ali’s former business manager. During this time, she’d met several members of Ali’s family and had effectively become accepted as a member of the “inner circle”. An absolutely fascinating film… Ali is truly the Greatest!
PS: So, not only did I spend from 2pm until 7.30pm in the cinema, but I also sat in the same seat for both films!! Sad, sad man!

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