Spielberg: Why you should watch the fascinating new documentary

"Every time I start a new scene I'm nervous. When that verges on panic, I get great ideas."

Trailblazer. Icon. Pioneer. For nearly a half-century, Steven Spielberg has enraptured and engrossed cinemagoers with a transporting vision and camera-eye intuition that very few storytellers possess. And so, in celebration of his bulging portfolio of visual masterpieces, the renowned filmmaker has stepped in front of the camera in order to reveal at-length details about his remarkable career in the latest documentary about his life, Spielberg.

Billed as “an intimate portrait of the iconic film director”, and directed and produced by award-winning documentarian Susan Lacy (American Masters, This Reporter and Jane Fonda in Five Acts), this two-and-a-half-hour-long tour de force is built around 30 hours of interview footage with Spielberg and chronicles the various stages during the icon’s evolution from boy wonder to auteur, including his bittersweet youth and early obsession with filmmaking, his work as a TV “wunderkind”, his cavorting with the “movie brats”, the peaks of his working life (including his helming of franchise blockbusters and serious Oscar-winning works) and the personal and professional relationships he’s developed throughout his nearly 50-year career.

Though most attention is given to more famous features such as Jaws and Schindler’s List (for which the most time is reserved), there are also periods which are allocated to less-loved works like Hook, The Terminal and Warhorse before Lacy moves onto the director’s later projects, Lincoln and Bridge of Spies – both of which are seen as products of Spielberg’s growing interest in democracy.

To help give extraordinary depth to the documentary, Spielberg also includes insights from members of the director’s family, as well as clips from a chorus of renowned figures from the business. There are appearances by filmmaking peers (Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas and Martin Scorsese), actors and producers from many of his projects (Tom Hanks, John Williams, Leonardo DiCaprio, Harrison Ford et al.) and industry behemoths (Kathleen Kennedy and J.J Abrams); there are also cameos from those who’ve both eulogised and denounced Spielberg’s work, including AO Scott and Janet Maslin.

Off-camera and behind-the-scenes footage from several milestone films, such as ET: the Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park and Saving Private Ryan also add extra flavour to this televisual treat.

The result is an intimate portrait about Spielberg that audiences have never seen before, and the combination of first-person narrative with detailed explorations of the creative process (as well as the unification of family, peers and critics) provides a concoction worthy of honouring the 71-year-old’s oeuvre.

To watch Spielberg, visit youtube.com

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