martes, 2 de julio de 2013

THX 1138

THX 1138 was the directorial debut of one of the greatest filmmakers of our time, George Lucas. His mentor and friend Francis Ford Coppola helped produce the film, which was developed from Lucas' student film Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 43B which he made in 1967 while attending University of Southern California's film school. The film was the first view to the world to what George Lucas was capable of. The film was released on March 11, 1971.
The film itself is set in a dystopian world, in which the population is controlled by android police officers and mandatory use of drugs that suppress emotions and sexual desire. The main character of the film, THX 1138, stops using his medication for some time, and has intimate relations with her roommate. He is eventually imprisoned as the government discovers this, in an area that resembles a white limbo world. He escapes with the help of SRT, and the android police goes off in an all out chase against them.

George Lucas is very clearly influenced in this film by none other than Arthur Lipsett's short 1963 abstract film, 21-87 (shown below). The meticulous editing and combination of audio and visual montage was both groundbreaking and influential, in particular when it comes to this film, and many of Lucas's future projects. An echo of a phrase in this film even inspired George Lucas in the creation of the Force in the Star Wars films:
"Many people feel that in the contemplation of nature and in communication with other living things, they become aware of some kind of force, or something, behind this apparent mask which we see in front of us, and they call it God."
It's also important to note that other things that show up in THX 1138 are clearly seen in the Star Wars films, in particular the vehicle chases. The end sequence of THX 1138 has a car chase, which clearly shows George's passion for automobile racing. The oppressive stance of the government shown in the film is in a lot of ways similar to the Galactic Empire in Star Wars, showing George's views of fighting the system that treats us like machines and threatens to destroy our humanity. And perhaps most notorious of all the similarities, is the sunset the main character sees at the end of the film, much like the sunset Luke Skywalker sees at the beginning of A New Hope. It wasn't until several years later when Seth MacFarlane interviewed George Lucas that it was revealed that the sun represents being outside the box. The sunset is the essence of change, and the people who are staring at the sunset are going from a life of inside the box which is basically, the same every day, to the unknown. Their running either to a nightmare or to a new dawn and they get a second chance.

George Lucas with THX 1138 showed the world that he was a guy with a wild imagination, a brilliant storyteller and an original thinker who seeked to defy the status quo and change the world. While the film suffers by being boring at parts and being somewhat difficult to follow through, it's still an innovative breakthrough. He wasn't George Lucas yet; he was discovering himself and seeing what worked and what didn't. But it was still the first time he made himself known to the world.

Rating: 8/10

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