One of the most famous filmmakers in the world, Steven Spielberg pulls back the curtain on his remarkable career more than ever before in the exclusive HBO presentation Spielberg. Directed and produced by award-winning documentarian Susan Lacy, this unprecedented feature-length documentary examines the filmmaker’s filmography in depth, revealing how his experiences fed his work and changed it over time.
Critique de Nikayaya
In the 80s one would be hard pressed to avoid the sheer cultural magnitude of a Steven Spielberg film. E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, Poltergeist, all seem to embody the central idea of what a film actually is; entertainment in a visual and mental sense. This gift seemed bestowed on Spielberg, causing him to stand out amongst a group of incredibly talented directors at the time.
Susan Lacy’s homage to Spielberg in the HBO featured documentary of the same name, attempts to explain that genius from its beginnings in 70s television. Still a young director in the 70s, when his career started, Spielberg acknowledges his privilege at garnering attention so fresh in his career, nonetheless proving himself worthy of it. As a child of the 80s, I was unaware of the involvement Spielberg played in 70s television and how his refusals to compromise his vision went on to shape his career choices.
As the documentary progresses to his movie career, Spielberg’s demeanor changes, his face lighting up as he explains how much of himself is truly embodied in his films. Both writer and director of most of his earliest works, the ongoing ideals of overcoming adversity resonated with his audience, while the untraditional family dynamics drew people in during a time when family constructs were evolving. He was able to connect with audiences in a way that belayed the act of film watching itself. While movies can be argued as art, and some directors do treat them as such, Spielberg’s movies were more of a full emotional experience, allowing us to connect to the characters in a way that invested us from opening scene to fade-out.
While the films themselves varied in topic, from an earth stranded alien to a blood lusting shark, the ever present edge of your seat thrill interwove through all of Spielberg’s best movies. But it may be in his least flashy film that audiences witnessed the very heart of Spielberg. Set during the Holocaust, the story of Oskar Schindler is filmed without color, without flash, and without dramatic interludes. Spielberg stripped down his normal movie steps to create Schindler’s List, a film so powerful, so honest, that the emotion is still weathered in his face when he speaks of it.
The documentary touches on the statements made by Spielberg’s critics, comments not uncommon to anyone that achieves success in their artistic field. Steven Spielberg’s creation of the movie blockbuster, and his reluctance to delve deep into rough topics, makes him a target to those that seek movie reflection versus entertainment. What they miss is that Spielberg had a voice; it just reflected more of the majority. Steven Spielberg created stories that spoke to the majority of the people and allowed them to feel hope. Even as he describes his films, his face incapable of hiding emotion, you can’t help but connect with his drive to create a better world
Directed by Susan Lacy
Produced by Susan Lacy, Jessica Levin, Emma Pildes
Cinematography : Ed Marritz, Samuel Painter
Edited by Deborah Peretz
Production company : HBO Documentary Films, Pentimento Productions
Distributed by HBO
Release date : October 7, 2017
Country : United States
Screened via HBO October 7 2017
- Note de Nikayaya: 4