(Re)Discover George Lucas Pre Star-Wars Short Films

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We all know George Lucas for Star Wars (1977-?), some of us are familiar with his first two dramatically different features, THX 1138 (1971) and American Graffiti (1973) but his first shorts and documentaries, as a student first, and Coppola’s shadow after, are little known.

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Lucas’ style, as a filmmaker, has an unusual curve. His early works are contemplative, original and show a strong personality, and it’s probably thanks to all these components that Star Wars became an idea in his mind. As decades went by though, and when you look at his body of work from the last twenty years, it is hard to associate 2012 Lucas with 1960 Lucas.

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Slate reunited 6 out of the 9 shorts/documentaries Lucas shot between 1965 and 1971 and watching of re-watching his first attempts at capturing stories is a great way to see that there is actually a learning curve, and a quest in finding your tone and voice, for everybody. Even the guy who did Star Wars (in case anyone was wondering.)

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That said, with todays tools’ democratization and the incessantly growing  line of emerging talented people, it can feel hard to accept one’s own limitations or slower process.

We certainly live in a time where people eager to work and with strong technical knowledge at an early age are not lacking, and where mistakes and apprenticeship don’t seem to have a lot of room left.

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Below is Lucas’ 6.18.67, a short documentary and here is what Slate says about it:

Lucas shot 6-18-67 on a scholarship from Columbia Pictures. He was supposed to produce a short making-of documentary about MacKenna’s Gold, which was filming in Arizona. However, he felt alienated from the Hollywood production, and instead made a lyrical short about man and nature in the desert.

Here is a chronological list of his other works available on Youtube:

  1. 1965 : Look at Life
  2. 1966: Freiheit
  3. 1966: 1:42.08 
  4. 1967: Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB
  5. 1968: Filmmaker: A Diary (Following the making of Francis Coppola’s The Rain People)

Thanks to Feather Ives.

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