The English director Christopher Nolan made his first debut at the Cannes film festival this year to present the new print of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, which opened in the US last Friday, May 18th. Nolan recalls seeing Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ at London’s Leicester Square Theater with his father when he was 7 years old.
“I had this extraordinary experience of just being transported in a way I hadn’t realized was possible. The screen just opened up and I went on this incredible journey. I’m very excited to try to give a new generation of filmgoers the sam experience.” said Nolan, as he addressed the crowd at a master class conversation in Cannes.
Christopher Nolan was first introduced to the idea when he was shown a couple of reels of an answer print from ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ while working on digital 4k and HDR versions of this own films. He asked if he could create a new print using the original negative. He was told it was possible, and Warner Bros. had also collected most of the 70 mm projects available in North America for the release of Dunkirk last year. The original negative was sent to a team at the FotoKem laboratory in Burbank, where they spent more than six months cleaning and repairing the 50-year-old negative. They then made an answer print, color-timed it using the original timing notes and documentations, and included a remaster of the original six-track soundtrack.
Nolan had often been compared to Kubrick in his style due to his commitment in utilizing less than conventional methods to create an authentic and uncompromising cinematic experience. Christopher Nolan states that in the recent years, the phrase “restored” or “re-release” has unfortunately come to mean digital tinkering and corrections which can take away from the meaning and artistic vision of the original work. He maintains that when old films are digitized, important visual information can often be lost in the process.
“A lot of the great-film restoration work throughout history was done entirely photochemically, including the mid-1980s release of ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ that Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese were involved with,” Nolan says. He went onto explain that his own “unrestored” version of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ will be designed to allow moviegoers to experience the movie as it was first released in 1968, just the way he had as a young boy in London.
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