War. It’s one of those aspects of human nature that no one wants, however, we can’t seem to avoid taking part in its dark journey. So why then does it exist? For the Galactic Empire, under the rule of its emperor Darth Sidious, they used propaganda to preserve peace and order in the galaxy; peace through fear and oppression that tread over the citizens. The problem with maintaining control over an entire galactic population is that over time the people begin to get tired–tired of having their freedom taken away, of living in fear, of having their voice silenced. Eventually, the people will rebel, despite knowing their means and/or methods will probably be outgunned and out-manned, the need to live a free life unafraid to speak their minds makes it worth the fight.
As I’m about to watch a movie loosely based on Andrei Rublev, a 15th century Russian painter, I ask myself what does it take to be a creative genius besides being creative? Intelligence? Persistence? Curiosity? A slight case of mental instability? Probably a mixture of everything.. Every so often we are gifted with an individual that has an idea. A thought of how to make our world a better place. I recently read the May 2017 issue of National Geographic in which there was an article about what clues science gives us as to what it takes for someone to have such an exceptional mind that they change the world.
Shortly after reading that article I listened to a podcast called Stuff You Missed in History Class about Jane Austen and how supportive her father was in helping her writing career even in the 18th century when women weren’t exactly expected to be great at anything. Even being an author of fiction at that time was not very well received. But with her family’s support and Jane’s gift and perseverance, she went on to become a world renown author of so many classics. So with these two sources in mind let’s delve into the creative geniuses of history and see if there any connections.
My relationship with Star Wars has been long and very rewarding. It has taught me lessons in not giving up, of right and wrong, it has given me friends (real and otherwise) who will always be there even if the actors who portray them on screen won’t be. It has even opened up doors to other forms of entertainment that I would not have opened if it hadn’t been for the Wars. Heck even my career choice has been influenced by Star Wars and its story.
Sometimes I forget how many books, movies, and comic books I’ve been exposed to because of my love of Star Wars. So many artists, musical composers, and directors it’s quite staggering. I’m going to try to remember them now and share them with you, starting at when my fandom evolved from a kid and his toys to teenager noticing that there’s more to Star Wars than the funny names and cool spaceships.
Three years after the outbreak of The Clone Wars;
Decades after the Jedi began their deception;
Hours after the corrupt Republic has fallen,
Our Emperor, Sheev Palpatine, declares peace and stability in our new Galactic Empire.
These lines are directly influenced by the opening scene of the German propaganda film, Triumph of the Will. Triumph of the Will is a film created and directed by Leni Rienfenstahl at the request of Chancellor Adolf Hitler in order to present to the German public that Germany is on the rise again after the humiliation they faced as a country after The First World War. The use of propaganda films like these served as a useful tool when trying to present to the public a biased or misleading political cause or point of view.
This month I want to talk about two films that may not have had a direct influence on Star Wars, yet their lasting legacy helped paved the road for filmmakers like George Lucas, and eventually J. J. Abrams and Gareth Edwards to create movies that will inspire future filmmakers.
Those two films are Double Indemnity, whose film noir style created a whole new genre in film as far as cinematography, story, and dialogue. And Mysterious Island which served as yet another technical milestone for effects artists Ray Harryhausen and composer Miklòs Ròsza.
In 1972, John Lennon wrote a song called “Woman is the N****r of the World”. In my opinion, no song title has ever been truer. In more recent times there has been a change in the mentality; one that has taken far too long to have been readily accepted by society, specifically in Star Wars fandom. That it’s okay to be female and like Star Wars! I say “readily accepted” because unfortunately there are still too many who think that there is no issue when it comes to women and fandom. Coincidentally enough, these are the same folks who have not had to deal with being subjected to gatekeeping.
This is a first in a series focused on film and other mediums and their possible connections to the Star Wars saga, from a film-making viewpoint and a fans perspective.
When I examine the Star Wars saga, it is strictly from a fans angle. I will never claim to be an expert on its film-making style, nor will I try to attempt to contemplate the inner motivations of each character. I may try, and I may even get pretty close, but that’s not where my strengths lie. I am not a film critic. I have rarely recorded film outside my video camera on my iPhone. What I am however, is a fan of Star Wars. And like many of the things in life that interest me, whether it is music, a book, or a movie, I want to know what sparked the imagination; the creative juices flowing in the mind and heart of its creator; in this case George Lucas.