Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey Returns to Australian Cinemas in Glorious 70mm

April 24, 2018
A new "unrestored" print has been struck to mark the masterpiece's 50th anniversary.

Turns out Christopher Nolan’s a big fan of Stanley Kubrick – who’d have thought? However, Australian audiences are going to benefit from the Dunkirk director’s devotion to the steely auteur; working closely with Warner Bros., Nolan has supervised the creation of a brand new “unrestored” 70mm print of 2001: A Space Odyssey for the acclaimed film’s 50th anniversary, and it’ll be seen in select Australian cinemas from May 24.

First released in 1968, 2001 saw Kubrick collaborate with science fiction grand master Arthur C. Clarke to create a sprawling account of humanity’s evolution. Spanning the distant past and leaving the door open to a far-flung and alien future, the film is unabashedly cerebral, arguably impenetrable, and divisive as hell – people either hail it as a masterpiece or dismiss it as pretentious twaddle (protip: it’s the former).

For the anniversary, a fresh print was struck from new printing elements made from the original camera negative in what is being called “a true photochemical film recreation” –  no digital alterations, remastered effects, or revisionist edits. The aim is to present the cinematic event audiences experienced 50 years ago.

The new print will make its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday, May 12, featuring an introduction by Nolan, and with members of Kubrick’s family, including his daughter, Katharina Kubrick, and longstanding producing partner and brother-in-law, Jan Harlan, in attendance.

Christiane Kubrick said, “I’m delighted that 2001: A Space Odyssey will be reissued in 70mm, and that Cannes has chosen to honour it.  If Stanley were alive today, we know he would be in admiration of the films of Christopher Nolan.  And so, on behalf of Stanley’s family, I would personally like to thank Christopher for supporting his film.”

Nolan stated, “One of my earliest memories of cinema is seeing Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, in 70mm, at the Leicester Square Theatre in London with my father.  The opportunity to be involved in recreating that experience for a new generation, and of introducing our new unrestored 70mm print of Kubrick’s masterpiece in all its analogue glory at the Cannes Film Festival is an honour and a privilege.”

In Australia, 2001 will screen in 70mm at the Hayden Orpheum and Palace Centro in Sydney, and the Sun and Astor Theatres in Melbourne. For everyone else, Warner Bros. will release the film on home media in 4K resolution with HDR for the first time later this year.

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