The People vs. George Lucas was the last film I saw at the AFI Discovery Channel Silver Docs Festival. The screening was packed with people still trying to get in. The screening was in Theater 1 which is the largest. Director Alexandre O. Philippe introduced the film with author Dale Pollock who wrote the biography Skywalking: The Life And Films Of George Lucas. The two experts on Star Wars Trilogy’s and George Lucas ensured that there would be a Q&A after the film.
The film can be considered a twisted love letter or even fan boy gripes being taken out into the public forum. The entire point of the film is that once you create something that becomes beloved by all it belongs to the people who support it as it does to you. I don’t think I need to go into the case against Lucas (Han shot first) but the film lays the case out in painful detail. I honestly have to say that some of the evidence provided by people who personally know or worked with George Lucas was the most shocking. Lucas even fought against efforts by Ted Turner to “colorize” films classic because Lucas felt that they shouldn’t be altered. It slaps you in the forehead like a bat with, “hypocrisy,” written on it. The film is a must see for any Star Wars fan and even the casual viewer.
The final rub is that many of us, yours truly included, consider the original Star Wars Trilogy to be one of the biggest events of our entire lives. I can’t even fathom a world without Star Wars
The film could not secure all the rights to use footage from Star Wars so Philippe asked the internet to provide him with recreations. So some of the film is footage from all of the Star Wars films and other footage used are animate, claymation, and live action recreations of scenes from Star Wars. I think this was a huge plus because it made the documentary more alive and interesting than simply showing us footage of the film we’ve already seen a bunch of times. They did show original footage when it was necessary.
(Summary of the actual Q&A. The audio is being processed and posted on AC. Please check my audio posts for it.)
-Q: Do you side with the people who hate George Lucas or the people who think he’s a god?
-A (Philippe): It’s neither really, at the end of the day it was really important for me to have the art form go back to the sentimental–I mean it’s a love story. It’s a love story that went really wrong and became really dysfunctional. But at the end of the day the admiration and respect that I, and every fan, have for Lucas we maybe really frustrated and that remains. I don’t think he’s a god, but an amazing director. He did some amazing things and not so amazing things. I can get as angry as anyone else (crows cheers) but I think that goes with being a Star Wars fan. I hope that one day we will have original cuts of the original Trilogy. I have them in my memory I have them in my heart.
-A (Pollock): It’s my understanding that the duplicate of the negative was cut so there is no original cut of the film remaining. I don’t believe the original Star Wars exists in negative form any more. If you look back and ask, “Would you do this to a John Ford film or an Orson Wells film, would Orson Wells be allowed to do this to an Orson Wells film? I think what this shows that no filmmaker has had the degree of ownership that George Lucas has and he did it by beating the studios at their own game. It’s Lucas’ vision so anyone else who works on it is working for him to complete his vision.
Q (Philippe): I should ask you a question (Pollock) you shared a story with me the other night of a certain Chinese restaurant you had lunch with George at.
A (Pollock): Well it’s just that we were going crazy in his office sitting there every day so I suggested one time that we go out to lunch. Just so we could break the routine and he had no problem. He has a Chinese Restaurant he liked so we went. We had a nice lunch and we tried not to talk about about business or the book. We talked about our families and at the end the check came and the waiter asked who wants to pay. George said, “Let’s split it.” (crowd laughs) Which kinda amazed me because I was a journalist making about $35,000 a year and he was worth about 500 million dollars, but I was fine with splitting the check. So they bring us to checks and I saked George how much he was going to tip so we tip kinda comparably. He went, “Oh, I don’t tip.” (Crowd negative ooooohs) I said, “Oh you don’t tip?” He said, “No, you’re paid a wage for what you do, nobody ever tipped me.” I asked him if he had ever been a waiter or do anything where you were dependent on the generosity of others? George said, “No.” I think this is how Star Wars is and how he sees the world in very dramatic contrast. Good and evil, black and white.
To hear the rest please visit my audio page for the complete audio recording.
Other Silver Docs Reviews
We Don’t Care About Music Anyways…
The Inventions of Dr. Nakamats
Sons of Perdition
The Disappearance of McKinley Nolan
-Address: 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910
-Phone: 301.495.6720 & 301.495.6700 (Movie listing recording)
-Parking: Lee Building behind theater $3 a night
-Closet Metro: Two blocks Silver Spring (Red Line)
-Tickets: Varies but usually around $10
-Food: Hot dogs, pop cord, etc
-Drinks: Soda, beer, wine
-Gift Cards: Yes