Director of 2001 Finally Explains the Film's Ending

Stanley Kubrick had long avoided putting it into words
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2018 4:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – Ever wondered what Stanley Kubrick's classic sci-fi film 2001: A Space Odyssey is all about? Well, keep wondering, but an excerpt from an unreleased Japanese documentary has Kubrick explaining the film's mysterious ending, BoingBoing reports. "I've tried to avoid doing this ever since the picture came out. When you just say the ideas they sound foolish, whereas if they’re dramatized one feels it, but I'll try," the famed director of Dr. Strangelove and The Shining tells TV personality Jun'ichi Yaio in a phone call. "The idea was supposed to be that [the astronaut played by actor Keir Dullea] is taken in by god-like entities, creatures of pure energy and intelligence with no shape or form. They put him in what I suppose you could describe as a human zoo to study him, and his whole life passes from that point on in that room. And he has no sense of time."

After discussing the "deliberately" inaccurate French architecture of the room in the closing scene, Kubrick says that "when they get finished with him, as happens in so many myths of all cultures in the world, he is transformed into some kind of super being and sent back to Earth, transformed and made into some sort of superman. We have to only guess what happens when he goes back. It is the pattern of a great deal of mythology, and that is what we were trying to suggest." The footage, posted online late last month, was bought on eBay in 2016 and appeared in time for the film's 50th anniversary, Esquire reports. (See the newly released 70mm trailer of the film here or the full documentary, mostly about making The Shining, here.)

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