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{filmmaker flashcard} Steven Spielberg

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My friend Michelle once said that she wanted movie director flashcards.

You’re welcome, Michelle.

I’ll regularly post flashcards here that you can print, cut out and glue to 3 x 5 note cards (if you really want to). Or you could just enjoy looking over the span of one filmmaker’s work and put a few of his or her films in your to-watch list.

I’m starting things off with Mr. Spielberg, in honor of the opening of Lincoln today. And because I’ve gotten to re-watch both Jaws and Jurassic Park in special theatre showings this year and had such a purely good time. I need to go back and fill in my Spielberg gaps (Firelight, The Sugarland Express, 1941, The Color Purple (I know, I know), The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse.)

Many books have been written about the influence Spielberg has had on cinema, but I just want to say two things.

1. He is the definition of an assured storyteller. Think about how you feel at the beginning of a Spielberg film, whether he’s transcending genre (Jaws, Close Encounters of a Third Kind, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Minority Report) or illuminating history (The Color Purple, Empire of the Sun, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, Amistad, Munich, War Horse). I usually feel a sense of transportation, of being carried along an inevitable path, of being sucked into a world. That’s good storytelling, and it takes a whole lot of work, experience and skill to pull it off.

2. He’s the master of the iconic image. He is consistently able to sum up the emotional essence of a film in one memorable shot. E.T.‘s glowing finger reaching out to touch Elliott’s. The little girl in the red coat in Schindler’s List. The shark’s-eye view of a swimmer’s silhouette in Jaws. The velociraptor’s snorting breath fogging up the circular kitchen window in Jurassic Park. Shivers, people. Shivers.

Do you have a favorite Spielberg image, memory or movie?

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Sarah Magill

Sarah Magill has a full-time movie habit made possible by a day-time greeting card writing gig. She blogs at Gimme Some Film and is learning to write scripts and direct. She tries to balance her screen obsession with trail running, jazz singing, book clubbing, and hanging out with The Best Golden Retriever Ever, Copa.

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6 comments on “{filmmaker flashcard} Steven Spielberg”

  1. Love the layout of these flashcards! So cute! And what a great filmmaker to kick off filmmaker flashcards!

  2. OH MAN you know how happy I am to see this development. Very soon people will be begging me to share my vast knowledge of filmmakers with them. I won’t though. I’ll just send them here.

  3. Empire of the Sun holds steady at the top of my favorite Spielberg movies. It works every time I watch it. Every minute of it works.

  4. Ahhh – these cards look SO GOOD! I listened to an interview this week with Sally Field talking about Spielberg. So impressive – he sounded like such a thoughtful collaborator.

    This list reminds me that there are still plenty of his films that I need to see! Gotta love E.T. though. :)