For Earth Day, Above The Line continue their run of curated double bills with a Stanley Kubrick twofer. Composed of two of the filmmaker’s acclaimed works of speculative cinema, audiences should respond to this evergreen pairing of his most impenetrable and terrifyingly relatable films.
Whilst all of Kubrick’s films should benefit from the big screen experience, it’s 2001: A Space Odyssey that’s most frequently cited as the essential cinematic experience. Featuring a thundering classical score and consistently overwhelming imagery: from the dawn of man opening, to the tyranny of HAL, to the transcendental rush of the “Star Gate” sequence, the film has lost none of its power in the half century since its release.
If 2001 is a high-minded, panoramic take on the past, present and future of the human race, then Dr. Strangelove is a ridiculous look at how it ends. Scheduled to follow Kubrick’s cerebral sci-fi, the film balances Cold War-era fears of nuclear annihilation with jet-black comedy that stems from the realisation that the only thing keeping us safe are the whims of bumbling military men and egocentric politicians. Peter Sellers is the star of course, appearing in multiple roles as President Merkin Muffley, Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake and the eponymous Dr. Strangelove — but George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden and a very memorable Slim Pickens round out a stellar cast who’ll have you convinced that we’re a mental wobble away from destruction.