February 23, 2024

It is not unusual for a director to release several films in a single year. From there Alfred Hitchcock to Ingmar Bergman and Francis Ford Coppola to Ridley Scottseveral master filmmakers can lay claim to that feat. Steven Spielberg he is no exception to this distinction, having released two films in one year six times in his prolific career. But it was in 1993 that his one-two-directed direction wrote a new chapter in his work and in the history of cinema in general. with that jurassic park and schindler’s listWith films released over six months that couldn’t have been more different, Spielberg enjoyed his most successful year to date.

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Steven Spielberg jumps from fantasy to reality

A little girl on 'Schindler's List'

Part of what makes cinematic storytelling so compelling is its seemingly limitless and varied potential in terms of content and artistic aesthetics. Equally, the medium provides viewers with pure escapism reflecting their most vivid imaginations, striking depictions of the harsh realities of the human condition, and everything in between. Obviously no stranger to the power of imagination, Steven Spielberg firmly established himself with escapist fare and quickly gained a reputation as one of Hollywood’s leading popcorn filmmakers. It wouldn’t be until several years into his directorial career that he would delve into more dramatic content that pushed boundaries as a storyteller, a transition that began with this. ET Extra Terrestrial.

According to the filmmaker, the It was inspired by the 1982 fantasy film go beyond projects aimed at the masses and explore events, characters and issues based on history and raw authenticity. A few years later ETdelved into the complex nature of racial and gender dynamics Purple colorand shortly thereafter he transported the audience to a harsh area of ​​wartime internment and suffering empire of the sun. By 1992, Spielberg was artistically and emotionally ready to take his most mature leap yet into adaptation. of Thomas Keneally novel, Schindler’s Ark, a project he had been working on for a decade. But first, and ultimately together, he would write a new chapter in film history with a masterful thrill ride born from the purest instincts of a fugitive filmmaker.

Steven Spielberg played in “Jurassic Park”.

Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm, Sam Neill as Dr. Alan Grant, and Laura Dern as Dr. Ellie Sattler in Jurassic Park
Image via Universal Pictures

As a longtime friend Michael Crichton, Steven Spielberg got an early preview of the novelist’s story about dinosaurs. After the beating James Cameron punched to secure the rights to the book, he shot jurassic park Hawaii and California from August to November 1992. While the production went largely without a hitch, Spielberg and company were exploring uncharted territory when it came to special and visual effects. It was originally intended to be based on the master of stop-motion animation Phil Tippett11. then the decision was made to use evolving digital technology as a supplement Stan Winston‘s the magic of live action animatronics. To say it was a bold move is an understatement.

Spielberg said about the film’s technological stake“There were a lot of risks in an art form that was never perfected. A main character—a digital dinosaur—was never made for the movies. So, in a way, jurassic park it was the first film that had its main characters—where the entire success or failure of the story depended on these digital characters—that was the first time. And that was, I think, the risk that we all took.” With principal photography complete, and Spielberg and his collaborators supposedly holding their collective breaths beginning a post-production schedule, the filmmaker suddenly embarked on a different kind of exercise in filmmaking.

‘Schindler’s List’ is a personal turn for Steven Spielberg

Amon Goeth watching intently
Image via Universal Pictures

Ten years after reading Thomas Keneally’s book, which included extensive research, location scouting in Poland and the development of a script, Steven Spielberg decided to embark on his most personal cinematic journey to date. Collected recently jurassic parkhe read the last draft schindler’s list written Steven Zailianand as the filmmaker remembers, “When we got to page 167 I knew I had to make the film now. I had to make the film because I didn’t want to miss the Polish winter. I didn’t want to wait a whole year because it had to be shot in the snow.”

After delegating much of the post-production responsibility jurassic park to the producer Kathleen Kennedy and good friend George LucasSpielberg rolled the cameras schindler’s list Krakow, Poland, March 1993. Eschewing many traditional film tools, including storyboards and meticulous camerawork, the filmmaker relied heavily on gut instinct and used a stream-of-consciousness approach to tell the story. Oskar Schindler and the Holocaust. It was undoubtedly new and scary territory, both creatively and emotionally, and Spielberg has never been shy about the impact it took on him to make such a harrowing and personal film. In a career retrospective, he said about the film’s difficult productionand the importance of his family’s presence in the scene, “It was an emotionally devastating experience to put those images on film. It’s the only movie I remember saying, ‘Thank you for having these people in my life to get me through it.'”

As if recreating gruesome historical events wasn’t stressful enough, Spielberg was dealing with the added pressure of supervision jurassic parkIt is a complex post-production through remote technology. He recalls, “I had to go home two or three times a week and get a really crude satellite to Northern California… so I could accept the T-Rex shots. And I got really angry and angry. I had to do this, really go through the emotional weight. that I had schindler’s list They were chasing dinosaurs in Jeeps, and all I could express was how angry that made me at the time. I was grateful later in June, but until then it was a burden.”

Spielberg’s commercial and critical success on his back

June 1993 marked the beginning of a level of success that would put Spielberg at the top of his game. At the end of the initial theatrical performance, jurassic park It grossed over $900 million worldwideovercome ET because it was the highest grossing film of all time. And aesthetically speaking, the advancement of computer-generated effects dramatically demonstrated to filmmakers and audiences that emerging digital technology had revolutionized storytelling efficiency. For better or worse, he was blazing a new creative path, suggesting that filmmakers would no longer be limited by their imaginations or bound by the limits of practical logistics to realize their dreams.

Just six months later jurassic parkare successful theaters, schindler’s list It premiered on December 15. Although the three-hour drama would ultimately do well at the box office, it more importantly became a landmark in modern cinema as a cinematic tribute to the victims of the historic tragedy, and was a turning point for Spielberg. terms for dealing with difficult material without honesty and realism. In the years since the film’s release, Spielberg has often claimed this schindler’s list is his main cinematographic achievement. Reflecting on the impact of the film about his personal and professional life, he said in 2018: “This is the most important experience I’ve had as a film director and storyteller.”

On March 21, 1994, Spielberg received the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director. schindler’s list finally taking home 7 statues jurassic park receiving three (almost half of the ceremony’s awards in total). It was a bittersweet night for the filmmaker, the end of one of the most successful and groundbreaking years for any film storyteller. He recalls the experience: “That night was not a celebration at all. I don’t think this movie is a celebration. The theme and the effect the movie had on all of us… it took the celebration away. that.”

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