Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ was a landmark in science fiction films precisely because its line of questioning extended beyond the stuff of other science fiction films, into philosophical inquiry, social criticism, and elsewhere. Hal Ashby’s ‘Being There‘ was a landmark in comedy for similar reasons–it took a remarkable comic actor, Peter Sellers, and placed him in the middle of a philosophical question, in the form of a film: what if having a blank slate for a mind, and seemingly little intentionality. makes you the perfect leader of others? In an new video essay, Rob Ager explores the links between the two films, in great depth and with simultaneous care and ambition.
Watch: Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’ Hal Ashby’s ‘Being There,’ and What Connects Them