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American Cinematheque debuts new 70-mm print of '2001: A Space Odyssey'

American Cinematheque debuts new 70-mm print of '2001: A Space Odyssey'
The astronaut Bowman (Keir Dullea) in the memory space of the computer Hal from '2001: A Space Odyssey.' (Warner Brothers)

As part of the ongoing Beyond Fest, on Sunday night “2001: A Space Odyssey” will show at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood with actors Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood in attendance. And while that is cause enough for excitement among movie fans, it is possible the real star of the evening could be the physical print of the movie itself.

The event will be the debut screening for a new 70-mm print that the American Cinematheque will have exclusive exhibition rights to in a five-year deal with Warner Brothers. The Cinematheque will schedule two extended runs for the print per year, one at the Egyptian and one at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica.

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Though Sunday night's event is already sold out, the print will screen again in December when it receives a run at the Egyptian on Dec. 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 26 and 27.

"We have to show '2001' at each theater at least once a year," said Cinematheque programmer Gwen Deglise in a statement. "It is one of our most requested titles. Our patrons tell us they want to see it as the director intended, in 70 mm. We decided we needed a new print to satisfy the interest in this title and to insure that viewing it was a satisfying experience."

As digital projection has become the norm for commercial exhibition, many cinema fans have struck up a renewed excitement at seeing film prints, especially in a city like Los Angeles, with multiple venues still capable of film projection. Many filmmakers themselves have taken a stand not just about shooting on film but regarding how their movies are shown as well. Recently filmmakers Quentin Tarantino with “The Hateful Eight,” Christopher Nolan with “Interstellar” and Paul Thomas Anderson with “The Master” have all had their movies shown in 70 mm.

"Our audience has a keen interest in film prints," said Grant Moninger, a programmer with both the American Cinematheque and Beyond Fest in a statement. "It matters to them whether they see a film on 35 mm vs. 70 mm or digital. If you haven't seen '2001' in 70 mm you have not seen the film."

Directed by Stanley Kubrick, who co-wrote the screenplay with science fiction author Arthur C. Clark, “2001: A Space Odyssey” is generally considered among the greatest films ever made, part philosophical poem, part space adventure tale. Its technical achievements are still a cause of wonder as its deep-rooted questions about the nature of humanity and our place in the universe maintain their enigmatic pull.

The film won the 1969 Academy Award for special visual effects, and was also nominated for directing, art direction and writing. It is on the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.

For more information, go to americancinematheque.com.

Follow on Twitter: @IndieFocus

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