Lessons of "2001: A Space Odyssey"

Vatican Film Library Director Talks of 1968 Classic

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VATICAN CITY, MAR. 4, 2001 (Zenit.org).- The recent showing of the film "2001: A Space Odyssey" in the Vatican may be a privileged occasion for dialogue between the Church and the cinema world.



Film directors and actors joined cardinals, archbishops and priests at the headquarters of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, presided over by U.S. Archbishop John Patrick Foley, to admire the restoration of the 1968 film, which is in release in Europe.

Also attending the show were film director Stanley Kubrick´s widow and his daughter, as well as the film´s producer, Ian Harlick. [John Paul II did not attend, as ZENIT mistakenly reported in its English version last Thursday.]

The Vatican Film Library included "2001: A Space Odyssey" in its list of 45 selected films for the cinema´s centenary in 1995. The decision was explained by Monsignor Enrique Planas, director of the Vatican Film Library, before the film was projected.

The film was "placed among the masterworks of cinematographic art and language," he said. "But we were aware that it has elements which could have been considered in the other two sections [reference to religion and to topics connected with spiritual values], given the complexity of the topics it transmits and the reasons for reflection related to the sense of conscience, search for an answer, path of the spirit, the supernatural and hidden, the transcendent, the religious, values, and the mystery of life and of humanity itself."

"A concentrated viewing of the film, supported by cinematographic language of high quality, to which Kubrick accustomed us, are all reasons for reflection, which can place us, the spectators, before innumerable topics that contribute to man´s growth," Monsignor Planas added.

"The film is capable of carrying us very far in thought," he added. "It is a masterwork that must be transmitted to other generations, a film that, 32 years later, precisely in the year 2001, has still much to say, a film that encourages us to look profoundly within ourselves, to our abyss, so that man can lose himself and find himself again interiorly, more mature, more aware of his own mission."