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The force will be with you, always

July 18, 2012

Whatever your opinion of Star Wars (and there are many detractors including Obi Wan Kenobi himself), it changed the industry forever.  But there was a time when movies were much less spectacular and the likes of George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg were struggling film-makers rather than the elder statesmen of the industry they are today.

Listening to this interview on NPR one gets the sense that despite Lucas’s stellar success over the last 40 years he still is that indie film-maker at heart.  Lucas begins by talking about a book he has compiled that goes behind the scenes of the 300 greatest movies of all time but after that the conversation departs into more interesting territory, covering his experiences in film-making from his student days, through break through success with American Graffiti, his relationship with Stephen Spielberg, and of course Star Wars.  In the last few minutes Lucas talks about how mythology, which he describes as ‘psychological anthropology’, has informed the Star Wars universe, and that film-makers tell the same stories because human psychology hasn’t actually changed that much over the centuries.  The real trick is in finding new ways to tell them in order to carry on making new films, hence cinematic obsessions like 3d, superheros, and I suppose, Star Wars.

I must confess I’d like to hear Christopher Nolan (who has directed the recent Batman movies) talking about the same topic as he has succeeded in plundering the human psyche and transposing it into an accessible cinematic language.  His success is based on his ability to exploit our most primal feelings and make us believe that that even in our civilised world fear can be exploited, law and order can break down, chaos can reign… and only a man with a bat obsession can save us.

If you want to see Lucas talk more about mythology in Star Wars then grab your lunch and watch this.

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