# CINEMA /// The Space Odyssey’s Monolith as the Materialization of the Unrepresentable


I just heard an interesting interpretation of the meaning of existence for the Monolith that Stanley Kubrick introduced as the main actor of his Space Odyssey. Carole Desbarats who teaches at the FEMIS (main school of cinema in Paris), claims that the monolith comes from the divine order in the Torah, which forbids one to represent any living creature. This famous Black Monolith would therefore stands as a pure iconoclast a-representation challenging the cinematographic medium and introducing an hyper-powerful transcendental entity in his narrative.

This interpretation is included in something broader in Carole Desbarats’ thoughts which is the theory according to which Stanley Kubrick would have a profound defiance towards the word, the verb or the concept. She thus quotes the example of the famous “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” sentence that Jack Nickolson’s character write on hundred of pages in The Shining, or, in the same film, the word REDRUM that his son keeps saying or else, the fact that the character of the poet in Lolita writes his text only when he is on his toilets.

This conversation was on the radio so it did not take enough time to develop this theory, but that’s probably worth exploring…