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George Lucas and Steven Spielberg Work in Cinema

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Good morning, continue with our new Hollywood period.So, we are gradually coming to the end of that particular period, that is the, as the 70's came to a close.And who were the most prominent people of that period, Spielberg and George Lucas.So, the most defining film of or rather two films of that period; one is Jaws, Steven Spielberg, his debut featureand another by George Lucas’, which is Star Wars. So, how, today’s class is all about,how Spielberg and Lucas practically undid the entire New Hollywood movement.And what are their contributions, I mean we know that they are tremendously popular, were commerciallyextremely successful but they also took back the entire and devoted to bring about revolutionin cinema, the way films were made. Can anyone tell me how this happened?Why do we hold Jaws, super success of Jaws and Star Wars was responsiblefor taking the entire movement back?Sandeep?Student: Because they were the very big budgetmovies, and there was also not,.. given to the directorAny other, any other guess.Student: I think, these movies are took the audience back to the studio;these are the kind of the movies they were.So like, they could not for obvious reasons shoot out side on location using real sound and all.Quite there, thank you. So, Spielberg ‘Jaws’, all of you know what it is all about, a killershark in a beach resort town and the killer shark surfaces time and again, kills peopleand then there are three men whose mission is to hunt down the whale. What is the story all about now?How is the story told? For my interest, of course you are will quiteon the mark when you say, that Jaws and the Star Wars took the movies back to the studio fold.Yes, you are right but something also was happening by way of, by in which filmswere made and I do not just mean going back to the studios, it was entirely about the author’s personality.Yesterday, we were talking about how New Hollywood Cinema wasbasically about making personal films. There were nothing but an extension or manifestationof their own personality, but where is the director’s personality here?I mean, anyone, anyone can make Star Wars or even Jaws. So, I do not know, perhaps there are many fansin this class, of this genre of movies but the problem is; there was nothing innovative about them,except that it brought into the fore the genre of science-fiction.The killer whale, is it real or fake? It is a mechanical shark. So, they must have spent quite a bitof money in creating that shark, that machine. So, but how is the story told?Is anything innovative happening in the way the story is told? No, it is a very traditional, linear storyand basically the story of good versus evil. You have three good men; out of thosethree men there is one man who is a problem. He is conveniently eliminated at one point, remember.So, the villain of the peace is gone, the killer shark is killed.So, basically the same old story, good versus evil. So, you are not talking about Mean Streets anymore,you are not talking about Easy Rider anymore. So, there is a very satisfactory closure,the movie has so called, happy ending and it is a very populist, popular sort of entertainment.So, what is happening there? Giving the audience what it wants, going back to the same old narrative.I stand corrected; does anyone want to challenge me here?No.Now, Spielberg also made ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’, and how many of you are familiar with that film?You are, good. Please do watch it girls.Yeah, it is a very entertaining movie, basically shown through the child’s point of view where Steven Spielbergis quite open. He said, ‘I wanted to take a child’s point of view where the uneducatedinnocence, that allows a person to take this kind of quantum jump’. So it has the moviesgoing back to willing suspension of disbelief; that is very important, so you are no longer on Mean Streets,willing suspension of disbelief; you are, anything is possible in this world,E.T can arrive any moment in your rooms.So, that kind of innocence and that is uneducated innocence, remember.You all know it is not possible, but then there are some filmmakerswho have become the master of this genre. I will give example from our own scene.How many of you are familiar with the cinema of a very commercial director, like Rakesh Roshan,who is Hritik Roshan’s father. Yeah, Rakesh Roshan, can you give me some name of movies?Student: ‘Koi Mil Gaya’.Koi Mil Gaya, that is Krish and Koi Mil Gaya, they are like reworking of E.T.Even before that, you had a movie like ‘Karan Arjun’,you know you have these twin brothers played by very popular stars and they are killedin the beginning of the movie and then they are reincarnated, mother is still around andthen brothers come back and they take the legitimate revenge against the evil people.Same, good versus evil, but do you think that is remotely possible? Impossible, but is thereway the story is told, that the story looks very believable and it is such a huge commercial success.Tara, any comments here? You know these movies? Yeah, so it says a lot aboutmindset of a particular kind of an audience. And what was New Hollywood cinema all about?There was an audience for a particular cinema, but then that audience started getting sickof the kind of film, that were being meted out to them. And perhaps that was the timewhen the movie going audience were ready for E.Ts andClose Encounter of the Third Kind and the Jaws and Star Wars.So, perhaps America also undergoing some kind of socio-political-cultural changes.The other day when we started our talks about New Hollywood movement,what were the major defining influences, do you remember?Student: Stonewall Riots.Stonewall Riots, so interest in gay themes, yes.Student: Anti-Vietnam Anti-Vietnam, that was the most important factor.Anything else? Assassination of major political figures.But by the 70’s, by the late 70’s what was happening in America?Who was the president?Student: Regan Reagan, good, president Reagan,and president Reagan’s era is characterized by accesses; accesses in terms of reinforcing America’sposition as a superpower, unmitigated superpower, and perhaps movies reflected, they no longerwanted those defeatist, nihilistic, pessimistic kind of cinema that people like Terrence Malick were making,people like Dennis Hopper want to make or people like, can you, Hal Ashby they were making.People were no longer in those personal, small and nihilistic movies which had strong political undertones.They do not, they did not want it, they wantedentertainment, you know; ‘popcorn movies’ and George Lucas is famously quoted.I mean, remember he is a man who gave us ‘American Graffiti’ a few years ago and close on theheels of that beautiful movie, which is small, personal, he gives us ‘Star Wars’.George Lucas, when he was accused of making cinema only for kids, you know, it was like kiddy cinema.He said see Popcorn Cinema has always been popular. You know what is popcorn cinema?Will you call Fellini popcorn cinema? 8 ½ is anything, but popcorn; Bertolluci is anything but popcorn, right.So, Hal Ashby or Terrence Malick, and you watch ‘Days of Heaven’,you will forget anything about popcorn for those 2 ½ hours, but that is not popcorn.George Lucas says, popcorn movies has always been very successful and whatever you do,no amount of New Hollywood can change the fact that people go to, go to the movies for entertainment.I think you were the one who once told me; ‘why do we watch movies’that was my question and someone said, that for entertainment.What is the main purpose of cinema?Entertainment.So, they gave the public what it wanted.This is another feature in Lucas and Spielberg, the father figure.Now, both these men, they came from small towns and they had strong belief in the patriarchal system of life,the patriarchal society.So, in all their movies, if you read them carefully, you will find that all families are fatherless.They are marked by an absentee father.And the children of that family, they grow up longing for the absent dad.So, critics or scholars have read another meaning that is, in this kind of cinema there is a longing for authority,and remember New Hollywood was all anti-authoritarian.We no longer want, they were rebelling against which father?Student: President NixonPresident Nixon, so he was the villain, but now they are longing for the kind of fatherwho can restore legitimacy, an order and stability in their disrupted lives, and who is that father?President Reagan, So, a nostalgia for authority, the great Presidents; perhapsRoosevelt, perhaps Kennedy, they longed for, this is the nostalgic cinema,which longs for an authoritarian benign figure, and in Reagan they found perfect person.The plots are set in motion by the moral and emotional vacuum at the centre of the home.And this conflict is only resolved by the father surrogates. You need not have a realbiological father but anyone who is also your surrogate father is good enough.In our cinema, having a surrogate father is very common practice, you know, even our ancient epics talk aboutthe gurus; what are gurus if not surrogate fathers. So, if you watch these movies,‘Star Wars’ (the trilogy) and in the Indiana Jones (trilogy) which is a Spielberg movie,all these movies ends on a note of generational harmony. So, Indy is reconciled with his fatherin Indiana Jones and Darth Vader is revealed as Luke’s father.So, there is a harmony, restoration of the disrupted universe.Now, George Lucas’s Star Wars, 1977 andcame close on the heels of enormous success of American Graffiti.Who made American Graffiti, possible?I mean, Lucas had just made very lukewarm movie or THX, remember it was a sci-fi.American Graffiti, yesterday we had touched upon it was directed by Lucas,but who gave the movie enough pull? Coppola, Coppola because he was already high on the success ofthe Godfather and that entire generation of directors, they looked up to Coppola; he was the father figure,he was the hero. And people did not believe in American Graffiti at all,the producers and all, and they felt what is this kind of film which is taking back to the 50's,very feel good movie, although very personal and small budgeted, innovative in the in senseof its narrative and music; remember we are talking about the soundtrack.So, there are lots of redeeming features in American graffiti. But there were no buyers,no takers, so Coppola lent the desired weight to the movie. He said, he will he is he standsto guarantee for the movie and Coppola made this possible.So, but what happened by the time Star Wars got releasedand Apocalypse now got released, what happened?The equations changed and after that Lucas had no time for Coppola; that is the way it happens.Spielberg, people who have helped him to come up and then after there came a point especially afterIndiana Jones, and they said this is not the same Spielberg anymore.So, the New Hollywood forged paths, you know what a forge is? Everyone else went one wayand Spielberg and Lucas went the other way. It is not like they did not desire to be auteurs,but what they desired more was commercial success, that is what you have to remember.Why did New Hollywood movement end? Because people who could have brought about the change,they changed and they came into the forces of commerce.And when you think money, then of course, art suffersStar War is also known for, of course it is an original material,yes, and it is not an adaptation of pre-existing, novel or what. And something else happenedwhich is very interesting and only George Lucas had the vision or foresight to say it, much indulging.So, you had T-shirts and you had toys, and you still have whenever StarWars is released or remade or whatever, you get all those R2s, R2’s, D2s and all those toys, right.So, that became a big. So toys, T-shirts, books, everything led to seriousprofit and Lucas had the complete control over that, and he was the first to do so.So, Lucas’s enormous wealth came from, more from merchandising than from the movie itself,because the movie was produced by the studio; so chunk of profit was taken away by the studios.How he got rich; through merchandising,and no one else thought about this way of making money before Lucas.So, character, success recipe of star wars;of course hugely likable characters. Remember, New Hollywood cinema was all about characters,very flout character, very human character. They were not larger than life, that was themajor feature that character should be as close to real people as possible, but nowwho can be close to Darth Vaderor Luke Skywalkeror Wan Kenobi.So, larger than life characters and remembers, this is what classic Hollywood was all about.A big, a great hero, highly principled, high minded hero; he emerges and cures the society of all its evil,going back to their roots. Feel good and happy ending, feel good cinema with happy endingand follows the trajectory of hero’s journey,which is such a popular motive, or such a popular trope in most cinema, most popular cinema.You would not find any such trajectory in Easy Riders, but you have such things in the Searcher,the John Ford’s Searcher, right? Hero’s journey, hero makes a journey and at the endhe emerges the bigger hero than ever before; that is what Star Wars did.Paulien Kael did not like these movies, typically and of course, they were not movies made byRobert Altman or Warren Beatty. So, she used the term, the infantilization of film industry,what does it mean?Dumbing down, dumbing down of film industry.So, Star Wars, just a brief overview of journey of the hero, I know you have already donethat several times, this is The Hero with a Thousand Faces, who is the author?Joseph Campbell, I am taking you back to the point where we started, Hero with a Thousand Faces;remember when we were doing narrative. So, hero starts his journey, there is a departure,there is a call to adventure and Luke receives message from princess Leia.First, he refuses, he is fearful of leaving his old comfortable life,and looks at the trajectory, that Lord of the Ring forms.So, there is a pattern that most blockbusters follow,and this is, this is a template.So, beginning of the end of the Hollywood, what were the features?One major, of course, Star Wars and Indiana Jones and Jaws,they dumb down the audience that is one feature but there was another important thing,there was another damaging factor for the end of the New Hollywood cinema;directors became megalomaniac.And there are many number of examples of this.If you read into the history of that period, you will understand, all those great directors, they made a coupleof good movies, great movies, movies which have come to be a part of canon, but thenthey just felt by the ways ahead. Dennis Hopper after the Easy Rider,people were clamoring for him, begging him literally to make another movie. He came up withThe Last Movie in 1971 and it is; I do not know if you have watched the movie, The Last Movie,and it is it was so attacked and reviled by critics. You know, they have a thing calledpreview audience, so they decided to, what is preview audience? Before releasing it formally,they show it to a select group of people in order to gauge responses.So, if people during the preview say no, the picture does not work,you have need to change these, that.So, usually director, filmmakers comply.Now, Dennis Hopper decided, because he felt that a chunk of his audience,all his loyal supporters they belong to college campuses;you know all eye on Rock and Roll and the Counterculture movement,so he reviewed the movie to a group of college students and they were outraged.One of the female student, she was so appalled by the way women were portrayed in the film.She punched him on his nose and he started bleeding, and she said, she is going to kill him;and the producer who was there with Dennis Hopper, he said that you know,immediately I thought of the scenario from Tennessee William's play, Suddenly, Last Summer,you know what happens in Suddenly, Last Summer?There is this young man who finds himself among a group of Cannibals on a remote islandand they tear him to pieces and eat him up.That is the way Suddenly, Last Summer ends.It starred Montgomery Clift, he played psychiatrist, not the dead man;Katharine Hepburn who plays the mother of this dead boy and Elizabeth Taylor,the love interest of this dead boy.So, the story is this how this man find himself inexplicably in a group of islandswhere he is attacked by these cannibals who tear him apart and eat him up,and this is what producer felt that; I suddenly felt these students are going to rip both of us apartand this is going to be the rehash of suddenly last summer.So, he asked Dennis Hopper, forget the movie, let us first get out of this place.So, that was the response to the maker ofEasy Riderand after that it was constant, consistent downhill for Dennis Hopper,till Blue Velvet, he was just lost in, oblivion.Bogdanovich, he made a string of failures,Daisy Miller,Nickelodeon.He tried, experimented with various genres and soon become a laughing stock.William Friedkin who had made the French Connection, the Exorcist,he remade rather, Wages of Fear, that was a Clouseau's movieand the remade version was called Sorcerer.It was a monumental flop, why?Because they overspent, they just would not stick to the budget.They really thought that they have become auteurs.And Scorsese’s New York New York,he had made a couple of successful critically acclaimed films, who is that Knocking, Mean Streets, Taxi Driver.New York New York, he departed from his tried and tested genre, which was gangster, the street genre.New York New York is about,what is it about?Starring De Niro and Liza Minnelli, it is a musical; it is about a couple who are into music, New York New York.So, and it was a major flop as well.Now, Apocalypse Now, 1979, again, although people had a great expectations from the movie,I mean, Coppola was always seen as the last man standing,if not you, then who will? I mean, that was the attitude of the new Hollywood filmmakers towards Coppola,they almost defied him.And they said, Apocalypse Now is a great story, the script has been in circulation,but they said only one man can make it possible, that is Coppola.So, he took it upon himself, yes I am the last man standing indeed and I should make it.He decided to give it a very surrealistic treatment.He is quoted to have said,the jungle will look psychedelic because that is the entire Counterculture movement all about,fluorescent blues.And if you remember the jungle in Apocalypse Now,yellow and greens.The war is essentially a Los Angeles export like acid rock,so that is the look he wanted to give to the movie.It was shot in Philippines among very unfriendly conditions and whole thing went over budget.They shot a lot and then they did not know how to edit out, so they spent the years in editing the movie.So, one reason for the decline of these directors was arrogance,too much too soon, most of them got, achieved the super stardom, while they were still in their 30's.They started believe in the myth of their own greatness and genius.And one feature that is common to all of them was that, all of them thought of themselves as a serious auteurs;but then serious auteurs in Europe, what kind of movies they were making?Not really, serious auteurs in Europe?the Godard's, the Truffaut's, the Fellini's, Bertolucci's,they always made the middle of the road kind of cinema,they never changed tracks so drastically,success never went to their heads the way it went to the collective heads of these people,who made only one or two successful films but then seriously started believing themselvesto be the geniuses and greatest auteurs of all time.And then, what happened? What was the upshot? What was the result of this?Hollywood was taken back in time, to those times where producers were in control.So, the age of directors in control came to an end,after that for a very long time you just would not remember,they all became star, movies became star vehicles.The other day we were talking about high concept cinema,take a couple of big stars,go to a major studio and make a movie with very well established actorand that is what movies became by, by the 80's.Michael Camino whose Deer Hunter has got him so much of critical and commercial acclaim,he came up with a very over ambitious bloated epic,The Heaven’s Gate, starring Christopher Walken and Kris Kristofferson.The movie is a western and it was such a dud, that after that no one made a western till Kevin Costner came,brought it back with Dances with Wolves.So, see that is the difference.No, no, no, let me tell you there is a difference between a typical spaghetti; Unforgiven is a western,the classic western, not spaghetti, not a Sergio Leone kind of spaghetti western,it is a proper western, but it followed Dances with Wolves,it did not come before that.Generally, if you look at film history, the Heaven’s Gate is regarded as the movie thatbrought new Hollywood cinema to an end because it was so over budget,it was so big, it was so expensive, that this movie almost shut down the studio,bankrupted the studio.After that, producers and studios realized that we have given too much power to a bunch of directorsand this cannot continue.When I started talking about the new Hollywood period, do you remember I talked about three people, BBS?Bob Rafelson, Bert Schneider, Steve Bloomer.Bert Schneider was the man who made the entire New Hollywood movement possible with hisfunding and financing of movies, like Easy Rider and Drive, he said, Head, Five Easy Pieces.But who ruined him?Terrence Malick, when he, when he directed Days of Heavenbecause we are told Terrence Malick would keep on shooting the movie,would not stop and he would shoot as and when it suited his mood.And Bert Schneider was so much in debt, that by the end of 1976, he just decided to sell off the companybecause he was tired,after all they were trying to promote, this so called, Indy cinemaand with this kind of attitude the producers, even those producers whose hearts and minds are in the right,could not go on supporting this kind of attitude because directors went out of control.So, the last word on the entire thing is by Robert Altman.In the 90's he said, I went to a multiplex and what do I find there?The Lost World, which is Jurassic Park,My Best Friend’s Wedding,Con AirFace Off;movies have just become an amusement park, it is the death of film.I am very sure, that for many of you they were best films ever made.I am very sure because when people talk Hollywood or they say, we watch international filmsand then when we talk to them what do they watch,this come up, Jurassic Park and Jaws, Con Air and Titanic.Everyone talks about Titanic, I think James Cameron is the one man who has taken;I mean, if Michael Cimino brought the death of new Hollywood movement then the coffin in the nailwas stuck by James Cameron.Marica Lucas, who is she?George Lucas’s wife, she was also his editor.And then, in the 90's she says, right now I am disgusted by the American film industryand star and she admits Star Wars hardly responsible for this,the movies which her own husband directed and she edited it.So, much of the discredit for the state of cinema, that we find in today is,it does go to Steven Spielberg and George Lucas,although Spielberg occasionally tries to redeem himself because he has made money.You see, he has made his money, he need not experiment all that much, so he can afford Schindler’s List,Schindler’s List was also, perhaps there is serious filmmaker inside him.So, must wanted to, went to that urge.At the same time, the same director comes up with The Lost World, Jurassic Park.That means that commerce, there is one eye always fixed towards a commercial aspect of cinemaand I am very sure that after Lincoln also there will be some sci-fi fantasy in the pipeline.And this brings us to the ultimate auteur,Now, why do we think that Woody Allen is auteur; who survived the test of time.I mean even today, if you watch his Midnight in Paris; yes, it is a Woody Allen’s movie.So, Woody Allen started small, remained small and continued doing that personal kind of films.So, he was one filmmaker who never gave up to the gross commercial aspects of filmmaking.So, he did not let the entire Hollywood game affect himand perhaps, that explains the secret of his longevity.Woody Allen, who uses his own materials and scripts,makes intensely personal filmsand all his filmsstill are extension of his personality. I mean, we know what Woody Allen is all aboutand when you see Woody Allen hero, you know, that is a Woody Allen hero,his own kind of films.There are some aberrations, for example, Match Point, you watch the movie and feel,so it is Woody Allen movie, but then, yeah, that is, that the movie is, like that remain, made an exception.But by and large he has been faithful to his vision and he has been very consistent about his style of filmmaking.So, how many of you have watched Annie Hall?Quite a few,I will take you to this movie and just watch the first few moments of the film,it is from Manhattan,it is a late 70's movie directed and starring Woody Allen.You liked what you saw?Do watch Manhattan, it is one of his best and you can rank it alongside Annie Hall, andthat, that movie, what is it, crimes,Crimes and Misdemeanors, Crimes and Misdemeanors and Manhattanand if you want to just make a list of his, he is very prolific,they never had a dull moment,but if you count his best three to, three or four movies, Manhattan is among them, it is that good.Would you like to comment on editing technique, the narrative and music?What is Woody Allen trying to do;I am trying to draw your attention to the fact, that it is a very, very auteur movie.So, Woody Allen, why is he, he is the only one who is truly an auteur.He had never he made a movie, he always writes his own movies,he is never dependent on someone else’s material, he is involved.Those are the bright features of an auteur, he is always involved in all major aspects of filmmaking,there is a strong signature, authority there.So, what makes this movie so, what makes this opening shot so important?What strikes you? Yes, Karthik.Student: The opening sequence, which started the dialogue shooting in black and whiteor uses sensible consortium settled in his hat, then he goes through variety of New York landmark.That is again recurring motive in Woody Allen, right.You have panoramic shots of New York,Brooklyn Bridge,the Central Park,Guggenheim Museum,Broadway;those are the typical horns of Woody Allen's movies,I mean, the character are always there in museummost of his characters are upper middle class either wops or Jewish.So, they are always found in a particular society, so they do not belongs to the Mean Streets.So, his characters inhabit a particularspace and that is something you always find in his films.He is intellectually, culturally, extremely vibrant, very dynamic,that reflects as well as you expect from Woody Allen’s movie and you get it.He tells from the beginning itself that this is a movie, this is a city, which is,I can hear the sound of Ira Gershwin's music.There is again repeated feature in all his films, interest in classical music,use of voice-over;it is not just dialogue, so voiceover.And that conflicted personality that you have been finding from the beginning, since the days of Annie Hallin all his films, Anything else?Student: It seems New York as a character not just as background for the movie.Right, Manhattan, not just New York, but he is talking about New York, but Manhattan emerges as avery powerful entity, very powerful character in his films.You take New York out of his films and the character would not be what they are,they turn into something else. So, city is extremely important in Woody Allen movies.Student: Music is like, how grand is the place.The grandeur of the place, so he is an auteur, that you can understood, right,he is an auteur, who is an author in the movie his writing a bookand chapter one, the kind of contradictory feelings he has about his city,it is many things to him.He always feels very vibrant because, it is New York city.So, his personality is shaped by his city.The city is therefore, a very important feature.Woody Allen too, like most auteurs of his generation, was deeply influenced by the European cinema.He says that I have made perfectly decent films, but so far I have not yet made 400 Blows or Jules and Jimor even eight and a halfand that for all new Hollywood filmmakers, that is the touchstone, that is the benchmark.Those are kinds of movie we should be making,otherwise we are all very ordinary, that is what he has always believed in.Well, auteurial aspect of his cinema is his cinematographyand you will find a very distinctive Woody Allen feature in most of his films.He has collaborated with Gordon Willis and Carlo de Palma quite frequently.And visuals in Manhattan, as you just saw these visuals,did you notice that the movie begins, but there are no title credits.What kind of editing technique do you find?It is a Montage,please keep going back to earlier classes.He makes very effective use of the Montage techniqueand why is Montage in interesting here or significant here?Because it gives you a very goodoverview of the city, snapshot of the city, so it is important to use that technique here.Again like most of his films, and like in the true tradition of the auteur cinemaand Manhattan is also shot on location, and Annie Hall,if you watch his other films, most of them are shot on locationincluding those three British movies.So, apart from Match Point what are the two other;it is the trilogy of British movies, just do your homework.And then, of course, it was followed by Vicky Cristina,most movies, almost all his movies are shot on locations.Manhattan, he uses the iconic bridge shot, this is