Wednesday, November 9, 2011

young spielberg

The first time I heard that Steven Spielberg was counted among the top directors of all time, I kind of remember thinking: Really? Somehow it didn't at all make sense to me that someone who made lighthearted, action-packed blockbusters could be considered a genius on par with gloomy auteurs like Bergman and Kurosawa.
Fortunately, I've grown wiser with age, and while I have yet to work my "cinematically wiser self" systematically through Spielberg's complete oeuvre, I have to say that it's been immensely thrilling to re-watch some of those films I grew up with and watched again and again until the video tape was halfway worn out.

Because, here's what's really lovely: While I do sit there and admire his toying with genre and pat myself on the shoulder for picking up on a reference to some Golden Age classic, I realize I appreciate his movies for much the same reasons I did when I was a kid: I appreciate them because they're movies, capital M movies, the very quintessence of movies (not, by the by, to be confused with film). Movies that strive to put you on the edge of your seat, make your heart beat faster, laugh out loud, go whoa! and yikes! and put a lump in your throat. Movies that ask you to do nothing else but enjoy the moment. No reflection is really needed, because it's all there on the screen, and best of all, it doesn't pretend to be hiding away its meaning anywhere else.
Which is not to say that he's my favorite director of all time, or that I think his movies are the best ones ever made. I'm kind of just fascinated with his genius, is all. His young genius, in particular :O)

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