What 2001: A Space Odyssey Taught Me About the Art of Film



When I was a senior in high school, I took a class on the art of film. At the time, it appealed to me because my friends were in it and we got to watch films. Who wouldn’t want to take this class?

As the class went on, however, I began to learn that there is more to a good film than entertainment. A good film is more than a top-grossing box office weekend. A good film is a piece of art. And, just like any other form of art, it takes talent, passion, and techniques to perfect it.

Sitting in my art of film class, I watched a variety of films ranging from silent to black and white to science fiction. I learned to see the beauty in the films. This was beyond just entertainment. This was like reading a great piece of literature, but instead of words there were pictures.

In order to see the art of a film you have to ask yourself questions. Why is this scene shot in one long shot? How is the use of sound significant? What effect did the room’s celling have on the scene? Is this film analogous with a present-day issue? Why did they do this? Why did they do that? A good director should have a clear purpose for why a shot is done a certain way.

For my final report in the class, I analyzed Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. This is not your typical Friday night entertainment. Through the profound use of silence and music, drastic jump cuts, canted framing, and extended periods of blackness, Kubrick dives into complex questions regarding the meaning of life, especially in the face of advancing technology.

As a Christian, I believe the message of media is important, however, beauty in media is not always in the message it conveys. It is sometimes as simple as recognizing and appreciating the unique artistic choices an artist makes to convey their message.

-Megan W



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