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Transcript of Steven Spielberg
Born to Arnold Spielberg and Leah Adler
Grew up in non-Jewish neighborhoods
Made 1st film aged 13
Father/Guardian of six.
Directed 33 films since 1969.
Known for several big blockbusters
'Munich' Scene - A Tunnel of Candles
Monday, February 17, 2014
Vol XCIII, No. 311
Spielberg: A True Auteur
Richard Dreyfuss, (
Jaws; Close Encounters of the Third Kind; Always),
(Saving Private Ryan; Catch Me If You Can; The Terminal)
(Transformers; Eagle Eye; Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Transformers: Dark of the Moon)
served as producer on all his major films.
, childhood friend & cinematographer who shot the early Spielberg film Amblin and most of his films up to Empire of the Sun
has shot every Spielberg film since Schindler's List
who has edited every film directed by Spielberg but one.
There are cinematic techniques and themes that are unique and consistent features of Spielbergs' extensive film portfolio.
His films, despite genre, reflect his childhood, his fears, his heart and mind.
He has put his stamp on every film he has directed using numerous cinematic techniques, large budgets, mise en scene, plot & music.
Mother Leah Adeler (left) was a concert pianist. Speilberg frequently uses a piano as an element in key scenes (Schindler's List; Saving Private Ryan; Minority Report)
•Uses sideways tracking shots that are very long, typically tracking with two characters who are walking and talking.
•Places objects and extras between the camera and the the main subject/s, to make potentially plain shots intriguing and enhance the audiences visual perception of movement
ilms an over the shoulder shot of the protagonist using a wide lens from behind a shoulder, which makes the protagonist in the foreground look much bigger than the other character, conveying a feeling of dominance.
lso uses this shot to to create tension and claustrophobia by using the antagonist/protagonist to close on the character in the foreground.
Uses objects in the foreground to draw your eye to a subject in the background
Makes audience feel as if they are in the room spying on characters
Spielberg continues to work with the same actors, cinematographers, editors & producer.
Cinematic techniques Spielberg uses that distinguish him as an Auteur
Spielberg has said that before he directs, he looks at four films: "The Seven Samurai,
Lawrence Of Arabia
, It's A Wonderful Life and The Searchers".
David Lean's 'Lawrence of Arabia
' & Spielberg's
are very similar. Both movies, generally speaking, follow the personal struggles of a man tasked with assassinating fellow men for the greater good. Despite being perceived as successful by their peers, the protagonists are left with no closure for their self doubt and no answers for their moral dilemma.
Spielberg states that the work of David Lean has had a profound effect on his career and the parallels between these two films is an example of how David Lean has influenced Spielberg's work.
Judaism and Alienation
Spielberg felt like an outsider growing up, being a Jewish boy in an Anglo-Saxon community. He was bullied in school for being Jewish and his mother recalls that
"The kids next door used to stand outside yelling, 'The Spielbergs are dirty Jews.'
He was ashamed of his religious identity
, admitting years later to trying to tape down his Jewish appearing nose.
Throughout his childhood Spielberg's family relocated many times, making it hard for Spielberg to establish a stable network of friends and gain acceptance.
Spielbergs distant cousins perished in Poland and Ukraine, victims of the Final Solution, and is grandmother taught English to Holocaust survivors who had emigrated to America.
of longing to belong has permeated his work, and his exposure to Judaism and the struggle of Jewish people both in World War 2 and in his own life has influenced has made his direction of 'Schindler's List' and 'Munich' personal and deeply moving.
Spielberg's childhood has had the greatest influence on his psyche, and as a result, his films. Growing up, Spielberg was influenced by the divorce of his parents, the absence of his father and his Jewish background. He experienced the cruelty of discrimination and struggled with acceptance from others and acceptance from himself.
Fatherhood obligations, moral conflict and the struggle for acceptance is reflected in all of his films.
The clear, concurrent parallels between Spielberg's life and mind and the films he directs distinguish him as an Auteur director.
Spielberg has collaborated with John Williams in almost all of his films. Through their partnership the musical scores created by Williams are now the signature sounds of 'Spielberg'. Spielberg is more than a director, he is an Auteur, an entity - recognisable the instant Williams orchestra is heard, and felt in Spielberg's use of Williams' music to create manipulative high impact scenes that linger in the minds of the audience weeks and years after the credits roll.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Spielberg, being an Auteur, uses the same lighting style in all his films.
He favours intense high key lighting, particularly coming through and doors windows.
He uses lighting to create silhouettes.
Spielberg uses reflection in almost all of his films. His reflection shots are one of his signature techniques as an Auteur
Using reflection instead of a direct shot adds dimension and suspense
We see what the protagonist is seeing as well as the expression on their face as they see it, without a need for a cutaway shot.
Why do three shots to convey one notion, when you could do one?
"...I love backlight not just for the sake of glamorizing [the subject], but because the direction of the light can represent storytelling. I don’t do backlights and then also add key lights and all these things — if I do backlight, I want to see that backlight. That’s my style, and that’s the way we’ve [Spielberg and I] done it in every single movie.”
- Kiminski, (Shot Several Spielberg Films)
Moral Dilemma in
Lawrence of Arabia
Moral Dilemma in
Lean & Spielberg
Universal Studios & Budget
Spielberg began his career as a director contracted to Universal Studios and as a result has always had a relatively big budget to play with e.g could use special effects and expensive props in movies such as 'Jaws' and 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind'.
Big budget = marketing expenditure.
Numerous Spielberg films became high grossing blockbusters and Spielberg has been credited with essentially pioneering the summer blockbuster.
Spielbergs’ directing style would have taken a very different path had he started his career with a smaller studio or worked up the ladder on his own income.
'Catch Me if You Can'