“For me, Cloud Atlas was a story of stories, about individuals influenced by the past who inspire the future, reminding us that however different our lives are, there are always, beyond politics, religion or whatever, the same fundamental driving forces (love, hope, fear, hate) that determine our actions. The six stories really places this in a context unlike I’ve ever seen before, really showing that your good (or bad for that matter) actions do make a difference, even if you don’t know how or when. ”
“When Samantha sighs, Theo realizes that everything about their relationship may be synthetic. This seems obvious on the surface, but in this future people have become so used to interacting verbally with their machines that nobody stops to really think about it. What is speech? The process of moving air through the vocal cords, something completely intertwined with the biological limitations of our bodies. Samantha doesn’t sigh because she’s exhaling oxygen. She sighs because she’s mimicking human behavior. Someone programmed in her ability to sigh, so that her behavior would seem more human to other humans. She speaks with a breathy, subtly working class New York accent not because she’s a real person who grew up there, but because an algorithm determined that voice would be most pleasing to Theo.
So, the sigh made Theo question whether or not the relationship was, or could ever be considered, real.
Your idea that it’s just humans operating a 24-hour phone sex line would have completely undercut the premise, by entirely removing the AI angle and its associated questions.”
“A film is - or should be - more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what’s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.”
“I think the big mistake in schools is trying to teach children anything, and by using fear as the basic motivation. Fear of getting failing grades, fear of not staying with your class, etc. Interest can produce learning on a scale compared to fear as a nuclear explosion to a firecracker.”
“If it can be written, or thought, it can be filmed.”
“How could we possibly appreciate the Mona Lisa if Leonardo [‘Leonardo Da Vinci’] had written at the bottom of the canvas, 'The lady is smiling because she is hiding a secret from her lover’? This would shackle the viewer to reality, and I don’t want this to happen to 2001.”
“The screen is a magic medium. It has such power that it can retain interest as it conveys emotions and moods that no other art form can hope to tackle.”
“I don’t think that writers or painters or filmmakers function because they have something they particularly want to say. They have something that they feel. And they like the art form; they like words, or the smell of paint, or celluloid and photographic images and working with actors. I don’t think that any genuine artist has ever been oriented by some didactic point of view, even if he thought he was.”
“The destruction of this planet would have no significance on a cosmic scale.”
“I believe that drugs are basically of more use to the audience than to the artist. I think that the illusion of oneness with the universe, and absorption with the significance of every object in your environment, and the pervasive aura of peace and contentment is not the ideal state for an artist. It tranquilizes the creative personality, which thrives on conflict and on the clash and ferment of ideas. The artist’s transcendence must be within his own work; he should not impose any artificial barriers between himself and the mainspring of his subconscious. One of the things that’s turned me against LSD is that all the people I know who use it have a peculiar inability to distinguish between things that are really interesting and stimulating and things that appear to be so in the state of universal bliss that the drug induces on a "good” trip. They seem to completely lose their critical faculties and disengage themselves from some of the most stimulating areas of life. Perhaps when everything is beautiful, nothing is beautiful.“
”I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don’t want.“
“2001 A Space Odyssey wants to do more than entertain. It also aims to stimulate contemplation, and to gradually evoke a powerful sense of awe. To do that, it uses a poetic approach to structure, images cumulatively building a philosophical point of view. It deliberately keeps you at a certain distance. It doesn’t concern itself with making overt narrative signals, creating a sense of individual characters to identify with, and so on.
Gravity, on the other hand, is a survival picture. It primarily seeks to entertain, to generate thrills, to almost literally be a roller-coaster ride. The emphasis is on the experience of disorientation - lack of horizon, weightlessness, etc. - the natural, but highly novel impediments to the characters’ survival.
Another way to appreciate the different agendas of these movies: you can hear it by comparing soundtracks. InGravity, the purpose of the score is to, well, “underscore” the action. To emphasize how we are supposed to feel moment-by-moment. In 2001, the music, all classical recordings, does relate to the action, but it is not of the action. It is separate, overarching, a kind of commentary. Again, we are encouraged to reflect on what we see.”
“The first venue that we stick with in the film is a monastery. We see a contrast of young and old. Youthful boys running up to the top building to see what the elders are creating… A beautiful mural meticulously crafted from millions of coloured grains of sand. We are then whisked across an endless desert of without colour (a clean slate if you will) and then shown another "painting”. The tapestry of human civilization…
We are shown a seemingly random smattering of human culture worldwide, until themes become apparent. Contrasting and negative aspects of humanity are on full display. Extreme poverty and rampant consumerism, dogmatic worship and creepy science, prison dancers and exotic dancers, weapons and pain.. Etc etc…
After being shown this overview of what humans have done with the world, we are returned to the elders and their sand painting. What a beautiful and delicate mosaic (world) they have created. And then, after a short appreciation of what lay before them, they wipe the beauty away, mixing the colors and sand into a seamless collection of pale dust.
And as it was before it was built up into something beautiful, the sand was wiped away. It’s precarious existence as a mural both beautiful and fleeting.
So the movie is basically saying that we have built our castle out of sand. Beautiful and mesmerizing sand, yet it is destined to be blown away. The bonds of civilizations are lose and weak, and we continually test their strength with the whirlwind of our progress. Sooner or later, it will all blow away and we will have a clean slate of desert once again.“