STAR WARS AT 40: A space opera in eight films, five directors, and two studios

A long time ago—May 25, 1977, to be precise—in a Hollywood far, far away, Star Wars took cinematic hearts and minds by storm. Later subtitled Episode IV: A New Hope, Star Wars was a ragtag space opera about a young farmer and two mercenaries trying to rescue a captured princess from the evil clutches of the Empire and return her to the Rebel base so she could deliver the stolen plan necessary to destroy the armored base. The backstory was sparse, the plot points were standard, and the characters were archetypal. This was all by design. Writer/director George Lucas drew heavily from Joseph Campbell’s theory of the monomyth—detailed in his book-length … Continue reading STAR WARS AT 40: A space opera in eight films, five directors, and two studios

BADLANDS (1973)

Badlands - TitleIn 1973, The New American Cinema was well underway. The French New Wave had blown the doors of cinema open as to what was possible, and American movies like Bonnie & Clyde (Penn, 1967) and The Wild Bunch (Peckinpah, 1969) had broken down barriers and led the way for a new crop of young filmmakers. The closing film for the New York Film Festival was not only the impressive debut of writer/producer/director Terrence Malick, it was also a unique and lasting look at the American criminal. Loosely based on the real life exploits of serial killer, Charles Starkweather and his fourteen year-old girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate, Badlands also drew influence from French New Wave and American literature (mainly Mark Twain and Robert Lewis Stevenson). In this tale of criminals on the run in America’s Heartland, Malick wove together a fairy tale steeped in philosophy, American vistas, and role-playing.

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