zerode – a sensibility


film, music, text, city, spectacle, pleasure

Remembering 2001: A Space Odyssey

Animated GIFs are a bit of a thing on Tumblr, but while many of them are wonderful, no one has better exploited this quaint aspect of the ancient GIF image format than the blogger(s) at

Each of their animated GIFs strives to capture something of the essence of a particular film in one brief moment, repeated. Some have been more successful than others, and many wonderful, but none have seemed as perfect to me at getting into the heart of the movie than this one for Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) via If we don’t, remember me.

I was no doubt particularly primed to appreciate this image by having just reread Roger Ebert’s review of 2001, which stresses the almost silent quality of the film, its measured pacing, and the central importance of visuals to the mystical effect it achieves – all qualities that this image captures.

The film creates its effects essentially out of visuals and music. It is meditative. It does not cater to us, but wants to inspire us, enlarge us. Nearly 30 years after it was made, it has not dated in any important detail. (via :: Great Movies)

Thinking about it now, in terms of those aspects I just mentioned, it seems to me that a comparison could be made with another of Ebert’s “great movies,” Jacques Tati’s marvelous Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot (1953) (“Mr. Hulot’s Holiday”). Like 2001, it is essentially silent – the conversations are there to show people talking, and to keep the film within a certain realm, but they are not really necessary to the plot or to the film’s effect.  And music is central, though in Hulot it is one jaunty, jazzy piece that essentially plays over and over, the leitmotif for the film.  And of course where the overall effect of 2001 is meditative and transcendent, Hulot is all about pleasure.

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Creative Commons License
zerode by nick chapman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Oh - and hello to Jason Isaacs.

The 400 Blows


is an over-caffeinated and under-employed grad school dropout, aspiring leftwing intellectual and cultural studies academic, cinéaste, and former poet. Raised in San Francisco on classic film, radical politics, burritos and soul music, then set loose upon the world. He spends his time in coffee shops with his laptop and headphones, caffeinating and trying to construct a post-whatever life.


What's in a name... The handle "zerode" is a contraction of Zéro de Conduite, the title of Jean Vigo's 1933 movie masterpiece about schoolboy rebellion.

tweeting my mind



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