HBO’s New Documentary “Spielberg” Is a Must-See for Aspiring Directors

HBO’s “Spielberg” is more than a biography, it’s a mini masterclass detailing some of the most influential scenes in the history of American cinema.

Warning: contains spoilers!

The opening scenes of HBO’s newest documentary, Spielberg, might leave you at a loss of words. You aren’t expecting the iconic, creeping sunrise of the entrance into the desert sequence from David Lean’s Lawrence of ArabiaEven more, you don’t expect to hear Spielberg say that it was Lean’s masterpiece that “set the bar too high” for the sixteen-year-old filmmaker — and that he no longer wanted to make movies. 

Fortunately, he didn’t quit.

In fact, Lawrence of Arabia was a catalyst for the young filmmaker, who would return each week to watch, analyze, and dissect the film.

It was the first time seeing a movie [wherein] I realized there are themes that are not narrative story themes, but themes that are character themes … David Lean created a portraiture; surrounded the portrait with a mural of scope and epic action; but at the heart and core of Lawrence of Arabia is “Who am I?” —Steven Spielberg, Spielberg

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Bud Simpson