The creative life of Steven Spielberg
ARTH 334 Section 6380
(a) You should select a director who was active (directed more than 3 movies) during the time period of 1950 – 2000. In your term paper, give me the basic details of the director's life and career. Identify some of the director's most important films. What honors and awards did the director receive? Provide a sampling of critical opinion about the director's work (i.e. film reviews or articles). View at least two films by your director and comment on them (one of them can be a film you would have watch previously for the class). Do not summarize any plots. Write about how this director used the following in these films: Editing (montage), Sound and Music, Cinematography, Special Camera Work (steady cam, hand held, optical effects), Special Effects (this can include stunt work).
The creative life of Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter widely regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers in the history of cinema. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1946, Spielberg first became interested in film as a child, and went on to study film at California State University, Long Beach.
Some of Spielberg's most important films include "Jaws" (1975), "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" (1982), "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981), "Schindler's List" (1993), "Saving Private Ryan" (1998), and "Lincoln" (2012). His films are known for their entertaining and thrilling storytelling, as well as their emotional impact.
Steven Spielberg has received numerous awards and honors throughout his career, including:
1. Academy Awards: He has won two Academy Awards for Best Director, one for "Schindler's List" (1993) and the other for "Saving Private Ryan" (1998).
2. Golden Globe Awards: He has won several Golden Globe Awards, including Best Director for "Schindler's List" and "Saving Private Ryan".
3. BAFTA Awards: He has won two BAFTA Awards for Best Director, one for "Schindler's List" and the other for "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" (1982).
4. Kennedy Center Honors: He was honored with the Kennedy Center Honors in 1999 for his contributions to American culture through the arts.
5. American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement Award: In 1995, he received the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award.
6. DGA Awards: He has won multiple DGA Awards, including Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for "Saving Private Ryan".
Critical opinion of Spielberg's work has been mixed, with some calling him a master of populist filmmaking, while others criticize his films for being too formulaic and sentimental. Regardless, his impact on the film industry and film as an art form has been significant, with many aspiring filmmakers citing him as a major influence.
One of Spielberg's signature techniques is his use of editing, particularly in his action films. In "Raiders of the Lost Ark," for example, the film's iconic truck chase scene was created through a series of fast-paced cuts between different angles and close-ups, building tension and excitement for the audience. In "Saving Private Ryan," Spielberg used editing to create a sense of chaos and confusion during the film's intense battle scenes.
Spielberg's use of sound and music is also a key aspect of his filmmaking style. In "Jaws," the film's iconic two-note theme became synonymous with the film and its shark, helping to build tension and suspense. In "E.T.," John Williams' memorable score helped to create an emotional connection between the audience and the film's alien character.
Spielberg's cinematography is known for its use of sweeping, expansive shots and its attention to detail. In "Schindler's List," the film's black-and-white cinematography helped to create a sense of historical authenticity, while in "Lincoln," the film's careful compositions and lighting helped to create a sense of grandeur and weightiness.
Special camera work, such as steady cam and hand-held cameras, has also been a staple of Spielberg's films, particularly in his action films. In "Raiders of the Lost Ark," for example, the film's use of hand-held cameras during its chase scenes helped to create a sense of immediacy and excitement for the audience. In "Saving Private Ryan," the film's use of a steady cam during its battle scenes helped to create a sense of realism and intensity.
Spielberg's films have also made use of special effects, from the groundbreaking animatronic shark in "Jaws" to the computer-generated images in "E.T." and "Jurassic Park" (1993). His attention to detail and willingness to push the boundaries of what was possible in film have helped to create some of the most memorable and visually stunning films in the history of cinema.
In conclusion, Steven Spielberg is a master storyteller who has had a profound impact on the film industry and on popular culture. His use of editing, sound and music, cinematography, special camera work, and special effects have helped to create some of the most thrilling, entertaining, and emotionally resonant films in the history of cinema.